Michael Martin earns fifth place medal, all-state honors

By Will Johnson, Sports Editor
Posted 3/17/21

INDEPENDENCE — Getting on the podium.

That was the goal for Owensville Dutchmen sophomore wrestler Michael Martin during the 2021 Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) …

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Michael Martin earns fifth place medal, all-state honors

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INDEPENDENCE — Getting on the podium.

That was the goal for Owensville Dutchmen sophomore wrestler Michael Martin during the 2021 Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) Class 2 Wrestling Championships Thursday at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence.

Fighting his way through the back side of the bracket at 106 pounds, Martin made it to the fifth-place match where Savannah sophomore Gage Schottel awaited him.

Trailing 5-3 midway through the third period, Martin was able to score a reversal at the 1:02 mark of the period before securing a fifth-place medal with a win by fall in 4:07 over the Savage sophomore.

“Michael fought his way through the back side of the bracket on to the medal stand,” First-year Dutchmen head wrestling coach Dustin Howard said.

Before Martin’s victory in the fifth-place match, a familiar foe greeted him to open the state tournament in first-round action.

Matched up against Monett freshman Simon Hartline, Martin had revenge on his mind.

That is because the Dutchmen sophomore lost a 13-8 decision to the Cub sophomore back in late January at the Thundering Herd Tournament in Buffalo.

Taken down late in the first period, Martin trailed Hartline 2-0 after one period.

Starting the second period in the down position, Martin was unable to escape leaving him with the same 2-0 deficit going into the third period.

Taking the down position to start the third, Hartline reversed Martin leaving him trailing 4-0 with 1:16 for the match. Giving up two back points seconds later, Martin was sent to the wrestle back side of the bracket after dropping a 6-0 decision to the Cub grappler.

Hartline went on to place second in the state in Class 2 at 106 pounds.

Looking to keep his hopes for a state medal alive, Martin faced Blair Oaks freshman Easton DeMilia in the second round of wrestle backs.

Scoring an early take down, Martin stayed alive with a win by fall in :20 over the Falcon freshman.

Now one win away from the podium, Nevada freshman Kynndrick Brooks was the lone wrestler standing between Martin and a spot in the fifth-place match.

Once again scoring another early take down, Martin clinched his spot on the medal stand with a win by fall in :38 over the Tiger grappler.

“Seeing Michael (Martin) come back the way he did after his first-round loss was pretty sweet,” Howard said.

“I’m proud of how he finished his sophomore season and see nothing but great things ahead for his junior year and beyond.”

Ending his sophomore season with a 29-5 record, all five of Martin’s losses were to eventual state medalists.

Two of them came to St. Clair sophomore Ryan Meek who placed third in Class 2 at 106 pounds while two more came to Hartline who placed second. Martin’s other loss came to Ste. Genevieve freshman Gage Gross who placed fourth in Class 2 at 106 pounds.

“That’s pretty good when you can say all five of your losses came to state medalists,” Howard said.

In an interesting note, Martin, Meek and Gross all came out of the same sectional tournament in Ste. Genevieve and went on to occupy half of the medal stand at 106 pounds in Missouri Class 2 wrestling.

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