Hickman wrestler Tony Pescaglia’s chance for a top-three finish seemed to be slipping away with 35 seconds left in his match against Eureka’s Jon Sumner at Hearnes Center on Saturday.
Sumner’s escape narrowed Pescaglia’s lead in the Class 3 112-pound third-place match of the state wrestling tournament to 5-4 and Sumner seemed to be gaining momentum.
Pescaglia reeled off three quick moves to go up 11-4 and earn a third-place finish.
“It could have gone either way really,” Hickman coach Doug Black said. “It showed a lot of heart that he came out on top.”
Pescaglia (41-6) said he could not hold anything back if he wanted to win.
“I knew I was going to put everything I had in it because this was my last match of the year,” Pescaglia said.
Pescaglia lost 13-4 to Christian Brother’s College’s Spenser Mango on Friday to fall out of championship contention. Pescaglia then beat Hazelwood Central’s Sean Mead 5-1 in wrestlebacks to advance to the third-place match. Pescaglia finished sixth at 103 pounds last year.
Pescaglia was not the only Kewpie to earn a third-place finish, for Zach Arnold beat McCluer North’s Nate Peimann in the 171-pound class.
Arnold (33-8) said he hoped to make the finals but was not disappointed with third.
“My goal is to be state champion,” Arnold said. “I came up a little bit short, but I have another year left.”
Arnold lost 11-5 to Oak Park’s D.L. Gleason in the quarterfinals and beat Blue Springs’ Jeff Bowman 5-3 in overtime in wrestlebacks.
Along with Pescaglia and Arnold, the Kewpies also will have state qualifier Kevin Croom and heavyweight Luke Harper returning next year. Harper qualified for the state tournament last year.
“We have a bright future ahead of us,” Black said.
Hickman finished 18th in Class 3 with 36 points. Oak Park won with 149 points. Hickman finished 33rd last year.
Also in Class 3, Marquette’s Bobby Conn beat Jackson’s Cody Rouse 5-4 in the 145-pound final. This is the third year Conn (35-0) entered the state tournament undefeated but the first time he won a title.
“It’s awesome,” Conn said. “It’s everything I thought it would be.”
In Class 2, Helias’ Johnny Kusiak (43-1) won his third consecutive title by pinning Windsor’s Cory Lemery in 4:35 in the 119-final.
Kusiak, a senior, said this title feels different from his others.
“It’s a lot better this year,” Kusiak said.
Kearney won Class 2 with 125 points.
Oak Grove won Class 1 for the second consecutive year and took three individual titles. Kellen Glasgow’s pin of Monett’s Cody Green in 152 might have been the victory that received the biggest response from the crowd.
Green was 43-1 going into the match and Glasgow’s win helped Oak Grove keep Monett from overtaking it for the team title. Oak Grove finished with 118 points, and Monnett finished second with 110.
Glasgow (31-10) might not have been expected to win, but said he was confident he could beat Green.
“I just had to show him what was up,” Glasgow said.