Nevada Daily Mail
WARRENSBURG, Mo. -- Two of the best wrestlers Nevada High School has ever seen took part in one of the first college tournaments of the 2012-'13 season when the University of Central Missouri hosted its annual Open tournament Sunday at the University of Central Missouri Multipurpose Building.
In Sunday's tournament that featured 16 teams from junior colleges and four-year universities alike, Charles entered competition in the 125-pound bracket at a decided disadvantage right off the bat. In order to compete, Charles was forced to shed 17 pounds in just six days, leaving him tired and not nearly at 100 percent.
To make things worse, Charles ended up getting what was arguably the toughest draw in the entire tournament when he was matched up against All-Americans Garrett Jones, Fort Hays State University, in his first bout of the day and Tyler Orr, McKendree University in his second match.
Charles said even though he was unaware before wrestling either of them that Jones and Orr were both former All-Americans, that had more to do with his less than favorable showing in the tournament than the weight cut. "I was tired before weigh-ins, but after weigh-ins, I was good," he said.
Charles was able to hold his own against Jones throughout most of their match, but simply got caught in a bad position that allowed Jones to pick up the victory by pin, making his day just that much harder since he was then forced to embark on an attempt to make the medal rounds the hard way. "I shouldn't have even been in the position I was in," Charles said of getting caught in the twister that Jones used to defeat him.
Things didn't get any better for Charles in his second match as he was forced to compete in the first round of the consolation bracket against equally tough opposition in Orr. This time, Charles was able to take the match its full regulation distance, but Orr ultimately came out on top of a 5-2 decision after Charles took an early lead on the scoreboard for the second time in as many bouts on the day, but simply ran out of energy as the match progressed.
University of Central Missouri junior Todd Brier was named to the 2012 Honorable Mention NCAA Division II All-Academic team. He recently moved up from 165 to 184 pounds and finished last season with the third-highest totals on the UCM squad in takedowns with 28 and near falls worth three points with eight.
Brier tied for the team lead with six wins by fall and had the second-highest number of reversals on the team with seven. His high school career featured three trips to the state tournament and one medal.
Brier entered Sunday's competition with a considerable amount more experience wrestling at the college level than Charles and it showed right from the start as he used his first-round bye in the 184-pound bracket to give himself a bit of an edge over his first opponent, McKendree's Jared Korte. That was all the advantage Brier needed to get his day off to the right start as he outmuscled and pinned Korte in the second period.
"Strength has always been his strong point," Brier's father, Steve, said. "He had endurance and good strength today."
The next round didn't go nearly as well for Brier, however, as he found himself matched up against University of Missouri's John Eblen. Eblen had little trouble making his way past Brier in a 17-3 major decision and went on to win the tournament.
Brier went on to win one more match in the consolation bracket over Lindenwood University's Brett Kingsley. That wasn't quite enough to get Brier into the place matches, however, as he finished one bout short of being able to compete for at least fifth when he lost to Oklahoma State's Jordan Rogers by pin.
Rogers went on to win the consolation bracket, placing third overall.
Both Charles and Brier will be right back in tournament competition for their respective schools next weekend, when they travel to St. Charles, Mo., to compete with another Nevada High School great in Spenser Daniels at the second annual Joe Parisi Open on Saturday.