COLUMBIA — J'den Cox won his first match of the night against Kirksville with ease. Andre McKinnon of Rock Bridge proved more difficult to defeat.
"He wouldn’t stay on his back," said Cox, a 220-pound junior for Hickman. "I was looking to finish him in the first, and he just wouldn't stop moving. I finally got him in the second. He was wore down. Then I finally stuck him."
Cox came close to pinning McKinnon twice before finally claiming the fall in the second round. Their match was the last of the night, and the victory propelled Hickman to a 30-28 team victory over Rock Bridge in a three-way dual meet Tuesday at Hickman. Even though Kirksville also competed at the event, the Bruins against the Kewpies was the main attraction.
There were many close matches between the rivals, including one that went six periods after going into overtime.
"We battled, and I don’t think there was a single match that we weren’t in until the end," Hickman assistant coach Doug Gordon said. "The overtime matches, the losses with a second left — some of that stuff is just immaturity, too. I think we’re going to see our wrestlers mature and have a great season this year."
Rock Bridge head coach Travis Craig said he sees room for improvement.
"We had bright spots, but we have a ton of work to do," Craig said. "I kind of wish our guys would have fought a little more. The good thing is that now we know what we need to work on, and we can go back, say these are the things we need to fix, and correct the things that we’re doing in the wrestling room that translate to the matches."
In the end, the night belonged to Hickman.
"It's always good to beat your crosstown rivals," Cox said.