Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hazelwood E. Puts Four in 4a Finals Shields Is Last Obstacle as Schatzman Seeks 149-0

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hazelwood E. Puts Four in 4a Finals Shields Is Last Obstacle as Schatzman Seeks 149-0

Article excerpt

The 64th Missouri High School Wrestling Championships brought a mixed bag of emotions for Parkway Central coach Gene Ball.

With star wrestler Scott Schatzman dominating his 135-pound match en route to padding his career mark to 148-0, Ball was sneaking peaks at the adjacent mat - where his son, Alex Ball of Parkway West, was in a battle against Hazelwood East's Larry Shields.

Shields rallied from an 8-3 deficit after two periods to score a 10-8 semifinal win in the 135-pound weight class.

Shields will meet Schatzman, who improved to 39-0 this season with a 14-2 major decision over Anthony Willis of William Chrisman. A win today would make Schatzman the state's first four-time, undefeated champ.

"Almost, almost," Ball said as he led his son off the floor. Ball had entertained the notion of his son squaring off against his wrestler - the indomitable Schatzman - in the final. It wasn't to be.

Shields will face Schatzman for the third time this season (he lost to Schatzman 13-4 last week at the Hazelwood West Sectional).

Shields' victory was critical for Hazelwood East because earlier Matt Smith - a champion at 119 last year - suffered his first loss this season - a 4-1 setback to top-ranked Clint Strider of Park Hill in the 125-pound weight class.

Hazelwood East leads the team race with 110 1/2 points through Friday. Lee's Summit is next with 73, followed by Francis Howell at 72 1/2.

Shields' victory was "a huge one," said Hazelwood East coach Jim Paulsen, who had six wrestlers in Friday night's semifinals. Matt Ridings at 103, Jake Lapinski at 112 and Jacobi Guyton at 152 also reached today's finals, which start at 4:30 p.m. at the Hearnes Center.

The 4A semifinals brought an early upset when Lafayette's Duane Manuel pinned previously unbeaten Ben Garner of Francis Howell in the 103-pound weight class.

Garner, ranked No. 1, had beaten Manuel at the Pattonville Tournament and came into the tournament at 34-0.

Garner is 36-1 heading into the wrestleback round.

Craig Burbes of Francis Howell won his 140-pound semifinal match, 15-3 over CBC's Tim Hunter.

Burbes, ranked No. 2 in the state, will square off against Hazelwood Central's Rick Cusumano, who dominated his match against Sean Smith from Fort Zumwalt North for a 7-1 win. …

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