JEFFERSON CITY – J’den Cox is undefeated this season, but during the Class 4, District 3 Wrestling Tournament on Saturday at Jefferson City High School, he was finally pinned.
Cox’s mother, Cathy Cox, heard about it when she came across the person who accomplished the feat in the bleachers at Fleming Fieldhouse. She had to ask to make sure it was true.
Blue Springs won the tournament with 221 points. Ozark finished second with 164.5 points; Jefferson City finished third with 141 points; Waynesville finished fourth with 133 points; and Rock Bridge took fifth with 108.5 points. Hickman finished seventh with 83 points.
“Did you pin J’den?” Cathy Cox asked.
Six-year-old Jack Zeitz replied with a smile and a vigorous nod, and Cathy Cox couldn't help laughing at the enthusiasm of the boy, the son of one of the officials at the meet.
But Jack did not share the secret to defeating the No. 1 wrestler at 215 pounds, according to missouriwrestling.com, and J'den Cox went on to capture another district tournament title and his second state bid in as many years.
Cox earned his 34th straight victory this season at the tournament and, despite an injury to his right knee that had to be looked at after his final match, Cox is confident he will be ready for Thursday's state tournament at Mizzou Arena.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun," Cox said. "I’m going to keep training like I’ve been training all year long.”
Hickman teammates Alex Shea (119 pounds), Keith Kimbrough (145 pounds) and Will Owens (189 pounds) are set to join Cox at the state meet.
Rock Bridge will be sending six wrestlers to the state meet after a stellar fifth-place team finish at the district tournament. Rock Bridge coach Travis Craig said he was happy with the results of the tournament.
“We came in with nine guys who I thought had a really good shot at qualifying for state, and we ended up with six of them making it,” Craig said. “Overall I think it’s a great result.”
Rock Bridge senior heavyweight Tez Wells qualified for state for the first time and said he is looking forward to the competition. Wells, who also spars with the Bruins' No. 2 ranked 215-pound wrestler Josh Braselton, said that any nervousness he feels will quickly dissipate.
“When I’d be nervous, I’d just think, ‘Well, I whip Josh’s butt in practice; how hard can these other guys be?’” Wells said with a smile.
Rock Bridge's Quinn Smith (103 pounds), Sam Crane (125 pounds), Josh Gaskins (152 pounds), Harry Schauwecker (171 pounds) and Braselton also qualified for the state meet. Crane was the only wrestler to win his bracket, but Schauwecker surprised some by finishing third after starting unseeded in the tournament.
After the meet, Schauwecker approached Gaskins about going to Cici's Pizza for after-tournament food. Gaskins seemed to perk up at the mention of a meal but said that he’s going to try to refrain from eating too much so he doesn’t gain too much weight before the state tournament.
"Yeah, those bread sticks really got me last year," Gaskins said.