Prep Wrestling

Arch madness: Palmyra freshman wrestles way into state title match

Posted: Feb. 17, 2018 12:01 am Updated: Feb. 17, 2018 1:20 am

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Ross Arch let himself soak in the moment.

With a four-point lead and in complete control of Gallatin's Drayton Harris late in the third period Friday night, the Palmyra freshman realized he'd be wrestling for a state championship.

"I looked up at the clock with five seconds left and I started to smile," Arch said. "I kept smiling."

He keeps winning, too. Arch earned a 6-2 victory over Harris in the Class 1 138-pound semifinals at Mizzou Arena and will wrestle about 4:30 p.m. Saturday for a title. He will face Marceline's Clayton Stallo, who upset two-time defending state champion Dalton Hembree of Seneca 6-4 in double overtime.

Although Arch (35-1) has never faced Stallo (23-5), he has his gameplan already in mind.

"It's just like any other match," Arch said. "If I adapt to him, I won't be myself. I have to wrestle like I know how."

Should that lead to a title, expect another emotional response.

Friday was the first time he had shown much emotion after a victory.

"I actually yelled," Arch said. "It's the first and only time I've shown that kind of emotion."

He earned the right to do that.

Leading 3-2 heading into the third period, Arch picked up an escape point when Harris let him up to start the period. Midway through the period, Arch scored a takedown for a 6-2 lead and had to ride Harris for a full minute to finish off the victory.

"I was on top and I had him broken down," Arch said. "I felt in control."

And he's in control of his own fate, too.

"It's truly amazing," Arch said of the opportunity to wrestle for a title. "It's been a goal since I was 7 years old and started wrestling."

Arch will be one of three area wrestlers coming home with a medal.

Hannibal's Tyler Leonard reached the semifinals in Class 3 at 126 pounds, beating Pacific's Noah Patton 8-3 in sudden victory. In the semifinals, Leonard (49-3) was pinned in 47 seconds by Platte County's Cody Phippen, who is ranked No. 1 and is a two-time state champion.

Hannibal's Austin Carroll advanced to into the medal round by winning twice Friday in the wrestlebacks. Carroll beat McDonald County's Timber Teague 8-7 in the second round of wrestlebacks and outlasted Imperial's Connor Richey 3-2 in the third round of wrestlebacks.

Carroll (39-15) led 1-0 heading into the third and started the period on top. Richey got an escape in the first minute to tie the match at 1, but Carroll responded with a takedown with less than 40 seconds to go for a 3-1 lead and enough cushion to advance.