Charlie Pumel finishes 2-2 in the 152-pound weight class; Joel Concannon 1-2 at 182
Boonville junior wrestler Gabe Rumbaoa knew he belonged in the championship.
But after losing Friday night in the semifinal round against Drake Ortiz of St. James by a score of 7-4, Rumbaoa knew he had the make the best of the situation by coming back through wrestlebacks on Saturday.
As it turned out, Rumbaoa may have wrestled some of his best matches all year by avenging his loss in the district championship against Jacob Johnson of Nevada for a 13-10 victory. Meanwhile, in the third place match, Rumbaoa again dominated from start to finish by beating Josh Richards of St. Clair 10-3.
While finishing the season at 43-5 overall, Rumbaoa said he wasn’t happy with the way he wrestled Ortiz in the semifinals but with the way he wrestled on Saturday, he’s happy with it.
“I felt like I should be in that finals match but it was good to prove my point and dominant my way back through the bracket and really come out on top there,” Rumbaoa said.
Of course Rumbaoa wasn’t the only wrestler to compete at the state tournament over the weekend. Sophomore Charlie Pumel finished 2-2 in the 152-pound weight class while senior Joel Concannon went 1-2 at 182.
Rumbaoa also had the perfect draw throughout the state tournament. Of the five matches, Rumbaoa had either wrestled or beaten four of his opponents.
A two-time medalists, Rumbaoa looked to be well on his way to the medal stand after recording a second period pin against Max Anderson of Chillicothe in 2:45. Meanwhile, in the quarterfinals against Wyatt Turner of Mexico, Rumbaoa picked up his 34th pin of the season by sticking turner in the second period in 3:19 on Friday. Then, in the semifinals later that night, Rumbaoa dropped his first match of the state tournament against Ortiz 7-4.
Rumbaoa said he had Turner pretty pysched out going into the match.
“I just walked out there and did my thing, set up some things when I felt it and hit it,” Rumbaoa said. “In the match against Ortiz, I didn’t wrestle my match. I wrestled his match and I went out there planning a 1-1 match and I never wrestled that and I know I shouldn’t have. I went out and wrestled slow, started slow and finished slow and it just wasn’t a very good match. He had my number.”
It didn’t take long for Rumbaoa to bounce back. Although he had to wait until Saturday in the consolation semifinals, Rumbaoa left little doubt while leading 4-0 in the second period after a reversals and a two-point nearfall. Then, after Johnson rallied back to go up 5-4, Rumbaoa came back with two points to closeout the period to make it 6-5.
In the third period, Johnson picked up an escape to tie the match at 6-all and then scored two more points to extend the lead to 8-6. However it was pretty much all Rumbaoa after that with a takedown and a three-point nearfall to go up 11-8. Then, after Johnson scored on an escape, Rumbaoa scored two more points to push the lead to 13-9.
Rumbaoa said he felt like he had something to prove because he thought he should have been in the finals.
“I think I could have stood my chance with Tyler Curd of Oak Grove and I think I should have been there so I felt like I really needed to come back strong,” Rumbaoa said. “I just needed to wrestle my match, stay low, stay active and just really let him mess up and capitalize on all his mistakes.”
In the third place match, Rumbaoa again had a slow start while trailing Richards 1-0 in the second period after giving up an escape. However, in the third period, Rumbaoa put together a series of moves while scoring one point for an escape, two points for a takedown and two for a nearfall to go up 5-1. Meanwhile, after Richards picked up another point for an escape, Rumbaoa came back with another takedown and nearfall to extend the lead to 10-2.
Rumbaoa said he was a little bit worried after the first period because Richards was strong and fast.
“Going into the second period, Richards took bottom and I knew he wasn’t very good on bottom so I knew I could ride him out for a good period of time,” Rumbaoa said. “And then I heard his coach tell him to grab my ankle right away. I just looked up and smiled at Coach Stock because it was a one-point match at the time and I knew that he couldn’t ride me out. After that I just kept wrestling, let him get in positions that he wanted to be in and then capitalized from what I wanted to do.”
Coach Stock said if you take out the match against Ortiz, Rumbaoa had a great tournament.
“In the first match on Saturday I thought Gabe went out on the mat and just dominated the kid from Nevada that ended up beating us in the finals at districts,” Stock said. “It’s never better to beat a kid in the last match you wrestled him, so he did a great job with that. He handled the match the entire time and was in control. I told him right before he walked out of the tunnel for his third place match that if he wrestled like he did this morning the third place medal was his, and he came out and did the same exact thing in the match against Richards from St. Clair.”
Pumel’s opening round draw against Michael Hummer of Savannah was a little tougher in that Pumel was wrestling a district champion and a state medalist from the previous year. As it turned out, Hummer wound up pinning Pumel in the first period in 1:05.
Meanwhile, after coming back through wrestlebacks Thursday afternoon with a second period pin against Bruce Ha of Cape Girardeau Notre Dame in 2:04 on Thursday, Pumel came back and defeated Lucas Davis of St. Clair in the second-round wrestlebacks on Friday by a score of 7-0. Unfortunately for Pumel, he had another tough draw in the third-round wrestlebacks later that night while facing Odessa’s Armand Kenepaske. While losing to Kenepaske just last week in the third place match at districts, Pumel had a little better showing this time despite losing by a score of 8-2.
While finishing the state tournament at 2-2, Pumel also closed out the season at 41-10 overall.
Pumel said he should have done better in the match against Hummer but let himself get pysched out and didn’t come out aggressive and pretty much screwed up everything in that match.
“I thought I pulled myself together and got made in my next match and came out aggressive and went after it,” Pumel said.
Stock said Pumel did a real good job of handling his emotions at state. “I think maybe the first day he was a little nervous but after he got that out of his system in the first match, he came right back through and went back to being the old Charlie we know,” Stock said. “He is a great worker in the room. I never doubt his effort on the mat and I look for great things from him in the next couple of years.”
For Concannon, the state tournament was bittersweet after finishing 1-2 in the 182-pound weight class.
After capturing the district championship just one week earlier at Clinton, Concannon had hopes of picking up a medal in his second go around in the state tournament. And after the first round, Concannon looked to be well on his way after recording a first period pin against Chris Greene of Cape Girardeau Notre Dame in 1:45.
However the next-two matches took a turn for the worst for Concannon, as he lost by a pin in the quarterfinals against Kayde Burton of Chillicothe in 2:42. Then, in the second-round wrestlebacks on Friday, Concannon dropped his second match by fall against Robert Strong of Miller Career Academy in 4:40.
Concannon closed out the season at 26-7 overall.
Concannon said the match against Burton was a really tough match.
“He was strong in all positions and he was able to defend everything I was trying,” Concannon said. “He was a well technique wrestler. Then, in wrestlebacks against Strong, he was really tough on his feet. I tried a couple of shots that I almost scored on but he was really strong and really quick. I thought I had an amazing career, though. I had the best two years of wrestling in my life and I couldn’t be any happier with the way I worked in the practice room. It was just the luck of the draw today I think.”
Stock said Concannon knew he had a tough match against Burton.
“It looked like the Burton kid had improved on his game all season long and he went out on the mat and wrestled a really good match against Joel,” Stock said. “Then, in wrestlebacks, we knew the Strong kid was really offensive. Joel wrestled the type of match he had to wrestle against him but we were down by points and couldn’t get it done at the end. Joel is a great kid and without a doubt is one of the hardest workers, if not the hardest worker, in the room. He is a great leader for our young kids to see how he works. He has a positive attitude and hardly ever gets down. He just does a good job of motivation and also leads by example in the room.”