Boys wrestling sends freshman Venable to state


Tiger Paw

Ethan Venable (9) taking down his opponent during a match against Brentwood.

Although boys wrestling wrapped up its season recently with a 10-5 record in dual meets, the season is not quite over for everyone. One of the team’s standout wrestlers is headed to the Class 4 state championships this weekend in Independence, MO.  

Ethan Venable (9) is the first OHS freshman in 16 years to qualify for state. Venable competed in the 220-pound weight class and finished his regular season with a 26-4 record. 

“It’s great,” said Venable. “I’ve been wrestling for like 10 years now. It’s the goal I’ve always had.”

On Feb. 27, OHS sent five wrestlers (Alishan Akhmedov, Julian Davies, Ibragim Makhmudov, Tyler Updike and Venable) to the Class 4 sectional tournament at Northwest High School in Cedar Hill, where both Venable and past state qualifier Ibragim Makhmudov (12) placed in the top four in their respective weight classes. 

Venable beat Marquette’s Alex Bray, 10-3, in the third-place match, qualifying him for state. Makhmudov made it to the third place match, but he lost 8-4 to Poplar Bluff’s Lucas Robertson. Mukhmudov would have been a state qualifier if it wasn’t for this year’s rule change that allows only the top three in each class to advance to state instead of top four.

“It was kinda a bummer for Ibs because they changed this year,” said wrestling coach Ben Knol. “Every other year has been the top four go to state, and he was top four. He deserves all the recognition for being state qualifying; he just won’t actually be going because they only take the top three. But he wrapped up an awesome career.”

Coach Knol is looking forward to seeing Venable compete at the state championships.

“There have been a lot of great freshmen that came along before him,” Knol said, “so it says a lot for what he has been able to do this year. It’s a big thing and a great sign for the future.”