Ozark wrestlers John Oss and Cody Lindsay were on a mission all year to end their wrestling careers in style.
“We’d go into practice knowing that we were going to work hard and become undefeated state champs,” Oss said. “We weren’t going to let anything stop us.”
Apparently, no one could stop the pair of seniors at the 2013 MSHSAA Wrestling Championships inside Mizzou Arena. They were two of several area wrestlers to earn state titles.
Nixa’s 126-pounder Joe Velliquette won his second state championship. In Class 3, Neosho crowned two state champions, Nate Rodriguez at 132 pounds and Christian Lopez at 220 pounds, while finishing tied for first place in the team rankings.
Kickapoo 220-pounder Michah Foote (44-6) lost a 5-1 decision to Christian Brothers College Prep’s Tim Grant, falling short of becoming Springfield Public School’s first wrestling state champion since 1999.
The Ozark workout partners dominated in their customary fashion.
Oss (51-0) pinned Timberland’s Chance Cooper in the third period at 170 pounds, registering his fourth pin of the state tournament and 46th of the season.
“Pin’s the best thing you can do in wrestling,” Oss said. “You got to work hard throughout the whole match.”
His best friend since grade school, Lindsay (39-0), won a 5-0 decision against Eureka’s Matthew McClimens at 195 pounds. It was Lindsay’s second state championship.
“It’s a big deal for both of us,” Lindsay said. “It means a lot for us to come out on top like that.”
Ozark coach Jesse Zeugin credited the pair’s work ethic for allowing them to become the school’s first undefeated state champions, calling them “superstars.”
“They push each other every single day whether it’s in the weight room or on the mat,” Zeugin said. “They’re both the reasons why they’re undefeated state champs.”
Velliquette (53-4) provided a dramatic finish at 126 pounds, riding out Lemuel Johnson of Waynesville in the ultimate tiebreaker to win a 1-0 overtime decision. The win came after referees waived off a takedown for Johnson that they determined came after time expired in the first overtime period.
“I was hearing all the crowd’s emotion to every opportunity we had to score and all the ref’s judgment calls,” Velliquette said. “It fired me up.”
It was the third match between the two wrestlers, who split one-point decisions earlier this season in a dual and in the district finals, Nixa coach Dustin Martin said.
“We said from the beginning it’d be a one-point match,” Martin said.
For Neosho, Rodriquez won his third state championship, recording a 6-3 decision against Blake Clevenger of Kearney. Neosho and Kearney tied for first place in Class 3 with 152 points. Lopez took a 3-2 overtime win at 220 pounds.
In Class 2, Reeds Spring’s Zach Kearney won the 220-pound title, and Monett’s Chase Brennan won the 113-pound championship.