Tolton wrestling coach James Williamson tried his best to hold back tears when discussing how proud he was of senior Montgomery Mills.
“Last year he missed medaling. He worked so hard with me in the offseason; to see him contend for the state title is beyond words,” Williamson said. “He’s my baby. He’s so goofy and he did so well. Even though he’s not the strongest kid in the world he goes out there and competes. A lot of kids could take a lot of notes from a young man like Montgomery.”
Mills lost in Saturday’s 195-pound state finals to Knob Noster senior Steve Elwell, who finished the season 52-1.
The match began with Mills and Elwell battling to get an upper hand as both struggled to take the other down to the mat. After several takedowns in the second, the momentum shifted in Elwell’s favor. Going into the third period, Mills knew that he needed to make something happen. He looked to his head coach for inspiration and advice, responding with a simple “Yes, sir,” before the referee blew the whistle to begin the final period.
Despite Mills’ efforts, Elwell wore him down and won on a major decision, 12-2.
With the loss, Mills’ high school wrestling career came to an end Saturday night, but Williamson thinks he is still going to have a bright future in wrestling.
“He has college aspirations. He’s still massively improving; he got ‘most improved wrestler’ his freshman, sophomore, junior, and this year,” Williamson said. “I think a lot of the guys he’s been wrestling have already muscled up and he’s just now getting the physical tools to start to match with them.”
Williamson made sure to reiterate one last time that there is much more to Mills than just being a good wrestler. He feels Mills’ best trait is that he can keep a smile on his face even after a tough loss.
Teague Travis repeats as state champion
Sophomore Teague Travis’ match featured much less suspense than Mills’ did. If history has proved anything in the state wrestling tournament, it’s that Travis does not like to waste any time pouncing on his opponents.
On Friday night, it took Travis only 90 seconds to pin his opponent in the semifinals. Saturday night in the finals, he won again in dominant fashion against Polo senior’s Wyatt Segar.
“It’s what I work for,” Travis said after his match.
Travis is very confident, although perhaps not as confident as his coach is in him. On Friday, Williamson said that he expected Travis to not only win the finals, but to get a pin to end it. Travis couldn’t pin Segar, but he won on a technical fall, 18-3.
Travis was on the offensive for essentially the entire match, scoring points with ease. Segar, knowing there wasn’t much time left in the third period and that he was losing, gave Travis everything he had. Nothing worked for Segar, and Travis countered each move to further inflate his large lead on the scoreboard.
“He’s above the game. There’s some kids that you see and you just know that this is a holding cell until college,” Williamson said of Travis’ continued dominance.
Travis has now won state championships in the 120-pound weight class as a freshman and the 132-pound weight class as a sophomore. Next year, he said that he might be competing in the 138-pound class. No matter what class he is competing in next year, he figures to be a safe bet for another strong run in the state championships.
Supervising editor is Theo DeRosa.