Wrestling team sounds final victory cry

Four of eight state qualifiers place at state tournament

Senior+Jackson+Berck+grapples+with+his+final+competitor+at+the+state+tournament.+The+match+went+into+double+overtime%2C+with+Berck%27s+near+buzzer-beater+reversal+almost+winning+him+the+first+place+title.+

Elizabeth Gerger

Senior Jackson Berck grapples with his final competitor at the state tournament. The match went into double overtime, with Berck's near buzzer-beater reversal almost winning him the first place title.

Garrett Allen, Staff reporter

The culmination of the wrestling team’s 2016-17 season ended with a resounding victory – half of those who qualified for state at the district tournament on the 11th went to Jefferson City last weekend and became all-state athletes – taking 5th, 4th, 3rd, and 2nd in their respective weight classes.

 

After a grueling up-and-down season, the matches of Sophomore Johnny Floyd (5th in 160lbs), Sophomore Andrew Godier (4th in 126lbs), Sophomore Corey Wait (3rd in 138lbs), and Senior Jackson Berck (2nd in 220lbs) proved to be true tests of their individual mettle.

 

In the beginning, there was doubt Floyd would end up placing in the tournament.

 

“I didn’t do too good in my first match, so I had to win my next one to stay in the tournament,” Floyd said. “So, I beat my second kid, which was good, then I beat my third kid, which was also good. I then had a bubble match, and that was to decide if I placed or not.”

 

It was at that “bubble” qualifier match that Floyd was faced with a wrestler from Staley High, a school in Kansas City, who had a record of 46 wins to 6 losses.

 

“It wasn’t looking too good,” Floyd said. “It was a contest of strength and technique, he was a lot bigger than me, and I just said to myself ‘It’s all or nothing,’ and I went out there and beat him. The one thing that contributed to my victory the most was going the hardest, no matter what.”

 

More controversial was the final match of Jackson Berck. After moves by both sides, attempting slowly and deliberately to outwit each other in the end, the match moved into overtime, and then a second, during which Berck made his move.

 

“Against good people, normally my matches will go into overtime just because I like to play it safe and not take any risks. I knew I could beat him in overtime,” Berck said.

 

In a match that intense, “It seems intense at first, you’re really nervous, but once you’re thirty seconds in, it’s just like an ordinary match. You can’t hear anything, see anything, you’re just focused on the guy you’re wrestling, so it wasn’t that bad,” he said.

 

“Going into the match, I knew what I had to do win, so I did that. From the beginning of the match to the end, I wrestled my hardest. At the end of the second overtime, I got the reversal, I got the leg hooked in time.”

 

Yet, in the aftermath of what was seemingly a first place victory at state to finish his senior year, the referees called the match against him, giving it ultimately to his opponent, and leaving Berck with the second place title.

 

“It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t already been celebrating. It was heart-breaking,” Berck said. “Yet, I’m proud of myself, in my heart I knew I won. It was a good way to end my last high school wrestling season; I walked out of there with my head held high, because I knew I wrestled my hardest.”

 

Berck does not plan on wrestling in college, but he does intend to play for his university’s baseball team. He will, however, miss competing in the sport he’s competed in his entire life.
“I’ll miss winning the big matches and celebrating with my coaches. I’ll miss looking up at the crowd and celebrating, that’s been one of the highlights these last four years,” Berck said. “It was a good way to end my last high school wrestling season, I think I finished on top, I walked out of there with my head held high, because I knew I wrestled my hardest.”