COLUMBIA — Jaydin Clayton could only take a few steps down the Mizzou Arena aisle before being stopped yet again.
Seemingly everyone within a few feet of the Fr. Tolton Regional Catholic High School wrestler wanted to offer congratulations. Clayton had just become the second undefeated, four-time state champion in Missouri high school wrestling history. His record? 158-0.
Clayton, in the 145-pound class, who was one of three Tolton wrestlers to win a Class 1 state championship Saturday, posed for pictures with babies and selfies with adults. Camera flashes lit up the teenager’s face — his hair still wet with sweat.
“He’s got a good smile, so that’s good,” said Clayton’s mother, Heather Selsor, who looked on as her son became the star of the night.
Clayton said it was more attention than he’d received after his past three state titles.
After a couple of minutes and 100 feet of walking, Clayton made his way to a seat. He pulled out his iPhone and watched the congratulations continue to flood in. He accepted four new friend requests on Facebook, and he "liked" a picture he was tagged in — taken just moments ago.
He liked a picture on Instagram that someone took from his state final match, then he watched a Snapchat Story someone had recorded of him winning the title.
A bit earlier he’d received a congratulatory text from a close friend, Missouri’s star wrestler, J’den Cox — who graduated from Hickman in 2013.
“Congrats. You’re my baby bro,” Cox wrote. “I love you forever. Good job on this accomplishment.”
Selsor said her son and Cox have been friends since Clayton was in elementary school.
“I consider him my son, too,” Selsor said of Cox.
Clayton said he was going to give Cox a big hug when Missouri returned from National Duals. Next season, Clayton will suit up for the Tigers.
Clayton is Columbia’s second four-time state champion. Cox was the other, though he didn’t go undefeated like Clayton did.
Selsor said she thought the accomplishment loomed in her son’s mind all season, even if he said he tried to take “every single match one step at a time, and each match led up to this moment.”
Tolton freshman Brock Mauller said Clayton would talk about the chance for a fourth title occasionally during practice. He watched as Clayton won his state title on a pin.
Mauller won the 126-pound title earlier in the day with a pin of his own.
The only state champion Trailblazer wrestler who didn’t claim victory via pin was 182-pound champion Will Tindal. He certainly wanted one. Already up 9-7 with approximately 30 seconds left in the match, Tindal went for another takedown.
“It’s not good enough,” he said he kept thinking to himself during the match.
After Tindal won, he pointed to the few rows of Tolton fans standing in the East side of Mizzou Arena. Still sweaty and in his singlet, he ran up the stadium stairs and into the arms of supporters. One kid bragged about getting a hug from Tindal before Tindal’s girlfriend did.
Tindal’s win pushed Tolton to a fourth-place finish in Class 1. The title also is the junior’s second straight.
Tindal gave credit to his teammate who’d just won his fourth.
“Words can’t really describe how I feel for him,” Tindal said of Clayton. “He’s a brother to me. He’s evolved me ever since I was a freshman. I have him and my coaches to thank for that. It means so much to me. And I’m going to miss him so much when he leaves next year.”
Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.