Poplar Bluff's Braelin Aldridge wins Fred Ross Invitational
WILDWOOD, Mo. - At one of their most difficult tournaments of the season, Poplar Bluff's lone championship went to someone who hadn't wrestled before this season.
Braelin Aldridge, in MSHSAA's newly created girls wrestling division, won the 131-pound division with a pin in the first round.
"She beat a good girl to win that match. She fought through some adversity. First time she's been on her back all year and she was able to fight through and get a pin," Poplar Bluff coach Kelton Thompson said.
Aldridge had to avoid a near fall herself in her championship match.
De Soto's Hunter Bullock took a 7-0 lead and earned a nearfall with under a minute to go, but Aldridge reversed the nearfall and turned it into a pin just seconds later.
Aldridge pinned all three of her opponents in the tournament in the first round.
Grace Kearby lost in the semifinals and finished fourth at 187 while Paige Earles lost her opening round matchup, but then won out the rest of the tournament to finish fifth at 136 to give Poplar Bluff's girls' team a strong showing.
Garrett McClure (138) both finished third for Poplar Bluff's best showing and Quentin Bell (126) finished fourth.
After losing to the eventual runner-up, McClure beat Emir Chondronov of Lafayette-Wildwood 10-3 for third.
McClure led 5-0 after the first period and 10-1 going into the third. He had two takedowns followed by two nearfalls.
"Best tournament of the year for him. He was finishing his matches well, good movement," Thompson said.
After losing the to the eventual champion Keagan Miller of Seckman 12-2 in the semifinals, Bell lost 2-1 to Drew Doehring of Lafayette.
"The kid he lost to in the semifinals is an elite level guy," Thompson said. "He didn't give up any falls this weekend, so he is wrestling with everybody."
After earning an escape to start the third period, Doehring got a takedown with 16 seconds left.
Bell nearly picked up points at the very end for a win, but the referee didn't award them.
"Heartbreaking third-place match," Thompson said. "We needed one right there at the end and on the boundary, we didn't get it."
Justin Mitchell finished eighth in a difficult 160-pound class.
Alex Clinton (132), picked up a win in the consolation bracket, and Desmond Howell (195) won two. Both are recent additions to the varsity lineup and finished 11th. Kendric Gordon (285) also finished 11th. Gavyn Hays (220) took 12th while Colton Jackson (152), Gatlin Taylor (106), and Seth Barris (145) all finished 13th.
"Some brackets were tougher than others, but we just have to keep chipping," Thompson said. "We just need ot build off that. A lot of these guys, some of them who maybe didn't finish where they planned to finish need to have short-term memories."