COLUMBIA-- Friday night was nothing new for J’den Cox.
The Hickman junior took another step towards his second consecutive undefeated season with a third period pin of William Chrisman’s Danny Klick on Friday night at Mizzou Arena.
“I really felt comfortable out there,” Cox said. “It was almost like practice, I didn’t feel nervous and all my moves just fell into place. “
Over the past two seasons Cox boasts a record of 94-0 and is looking forward to having a chance to win his third straight state title, his first competing in the 220-pound division.
However, the night did not go as well for Cox’s teammate, senior Will Owens.
Owens lost his semi-final match against Willy Grey of Ozark High School in the 195- pound division.
“I was focused going into the match, I just wrestled a guy that was better than me,” Owens said.
Owens and Cox are training partners at practice, and Cox took his teammate’s loss especially hard.
“I felt bad that he lost tonight because he has been working really hard for it,” Cox said. “My job as his drill partner is to make sure that he wins state. Since he didn’t do that, apparently I didn’t do my job good enough.”
“He (Cox) pushes me a lot, and he teaches me things most wrestlers don’t know because of his 14 years of wrestling experience,” Owens said.
Cox will face Keyen Braughton from Liberty in the final round.
“I got to expect the unexpected, if he is coming out there to challenge me I have to show him he can’ t beat me, “ Cox said about Braughton. “ It’s not time to hold back, it is time to explode. I didn’t expect to see him in the finals, but I have tremendous respect for him for popping out of nowhere at state.”
Cox has verbally committed to continue his wrestling career at the University of Missouri, but he was not the only future Tiger competing on Friday night.
Even Boehm, who has signed to play football for the Tigers in the fall, advanced to the state finals by pinning Daniel Vaughn in 1:36.
Boehm is the No. 1 offensive guard in Missouri according to Rivals.com. Boehm is looking forward to playing for the Tigers next year but is focused on winning his second state wrestling title.
“It’s a great feeling to be in the same situation I was in a year ago, hopefully I can go out and protect my title,” Boehm said.
Rock Bridge wrestler Sam Crane will face Russell Coleman of Park Hill in the state championship in the 132-pound division. His teammate, 145-pounder Trent Johnson, lost his semifinal match and will face Mario Partridge of Winnetonka in the wrestle back rounds.
Going into the championship round, Blue Springs High School has a 9.5 point lead over Park Hill as the first place team. Rock Bridge is in ninth place, and Hickman stands at 13th.
The finals will begin at 4:30 p.m. Saturday with the fifth and third place matches beginning at noon at Mizzou Arena.