Being calm, committed and collected enables Pirates’ Culp to finish state title season undefeated


Hannibal senior wrestler Cody Culp reacts to winning the Class 3 state championship at 144 pounds Saturday night at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo. | Photo courtesy Lisa Rigdon, Cheap Seats Photography

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Cody Culp wasn’t making the same mistake twice.

A year after finishing as the Class 3 state runner-up at 138 pounds, the Hannibal senior wrestler didn’t allow his emotions to alter his approach before wrestling for the title at 144 pounds Saturday night at Mizzou Arena.

“Last year, I was super nervous and went down and warmed up way too soon,” Culp said. “I feel like I psyched myself out last year and rushed myself. This year, I stayed calm. I’ve been there and done that. I knew it was just another match.

“I just wrestled. I took it slow and focused and made sure I didn’t make any bad decisions. I just wrestled my match.”

Bolivar’s Cooper Moore couldn’t do anything to change that.

A first-period takedown gave Culp a lead he never relinquished in culminating a perfect season with an 11-0 major decision. Culp finished the season with a 33-0 record and his third individual state medal. He was second as a junior at 138 pounds and fourth as a sophomore at 126.

Leading 2-0 going to the second period, Culp chose to start on the bottom and turned an escape into a takedown and a three-point nearfall. Another takedown in the third period cemented his victory.

“I like that I stayed in good position and I didn’t freak out,” Culp said.

In Saturday morning’s semifinals, Culp couldn’t get a first-period pin of Marshfield junior Tanner Davidson, so he racked up back points. Culp took down Davidson 15 seconds into the match and got a three-point nearfall followed by four consecutive two-point nearfalls. Culp chose the bottom to start the second period and turned a reversal into a 15-0 technical fall victory.

He outscored his four opponents 51-1 at the state tournament.

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