Kearney’s Clayton Singh is one win from third Missouri state wrestling title

Kearney’s Clayton Singh is one win from third Missouri state wrestling title

Kearney’s Clayton Singh is one win from third Missouri state wrestling title

Rockhurst’s Cameron Valdiviez (left) and Waynesville’s Sean Sax grappled for position in the 126 weight class in the Class 4 quarterfinals on Friday in Columbia. Adam Vogler Special to The Star

The explanation escapes Kearney junior Clayton Singh, but results suggest the Missouri high school wrestling state tournament brings out a unique set of attributes in him.

Or at least his best attributes.

For the third straight season, Singh will wrestle for a Class 3 state championship. He’ll go for that title on Saturday after he recorded a first-period pin in the 120-pound weight division Friday at Mizzou Arena.

“I don’t know what it is — whether it’s the crowd, the atmosphere or what — but I like it here,” Singh said. “Being a two-time champ, the nerves are still there to give you a little (boost), but not enough to bring you down.”

Singh has lost 23 matches in his three-year high school career but none at the state tournament.

After Friday’s matches, Kearney is second in the Class 3 team standings with 102 points. Neosho leads with 112.

Peeler looks to break Ray South drought

Raytown South senior Ottis Peeler walked into the school’s gym two years ago, where he spotted banners for past state champions.

Now he’s one match away from earning his own. After a runner-up finish last year, Peeler will wrestle for the Class 3 170-pound title on Saturday.

Raytown South has not had a state champion since 2001.

“I settled for No. 2 last year because I was OK with just being in the finals, so that’s what I got,” Peeler said. “This year I want No. 1.”

Oak Grove standing tall

As part of their quest for a record-breaking 17th state title in Oak Grove program history, Panthers coach Bobbe Lowe told his team it would need to win a couple of swing matches along the way.

Senior Tanner Pavlica provided a big one Friday. In the Class 2 126-pound semifinals, Pavlica fought back from a one-point deficit in the third period then defeated St. Clair junior Jason Landing in overtime to advance to Saturday’s championship.

“Going into that match, I knew I was more conditioned than him,” Pavlica said. “I just knew if I could get it to overtime, I was going to be OK.”

Oak Grove leads the Class 2 team standings with 112. Mexico is second with 108.

Freshman in the finals

Before he wrestled his first high school match, Liberty freshman Jeremiah Reno established the loftiest of objectives. Becoming a four-time state champion topped the list.

First things first.

Reno moved one victory away from his first state title, breezing to a 14-0 win in the Class 4 106-pound semifinals.

He will put his 43-0 record on the line against Christian Brothers College junior Cevion Severado in the championship match.

“I feel like the hardest one will be as a freshman,” Reno said. “But I’m going to try to do it this year.”

Defending champions

Seven wrestlers from Kansas City will defend their titles — Singh, Oak Grove senior Connor Brown, Rockhurst seniors Cameron Valdiviez and Colin Valdiviez, Platte County junior Cody Phippen, Staley junior Zach Elam and Smithville senior Jacob Boyd.

Staley is second in the Class 4 team standings with 89.5 points. Christian Brothers College leads with 91.5 points.

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