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Tigers' Seaton gaining control

By CONOR NICHOLL

cnicholl@dailynews.net

Fort Hays State University sophomore Symon Seaton first cut down to 133 pounds for the season-opening University of Central Missouri Open. Seaton went 1-2, lost his first match by fall, won 15-0 and then lost 9-6. He wasn't among the Tigers' five medalists Nov. 18.

"I knew I was going to have a bad day," Seaton said. "I just did not feel up to it. My body wasn't really happy with me."

On Nov. 23, Seaton had a big turnaround at the University of Nebraska-Kearney Open. Seaton went 5-0 and won the 133-pound Amateur Division. He won three of his first four matches by fall, all in under 2 minutes, 55 seconds, collected an 8-5 decision and won the title with a 10-1 victory against Central Missouri's Hunter Neighbors.

"Once I got down the second time, it was like so much better," Seaton said. "It was just like a completely different wrestler. That cut really did kill me that first time, but now my body is already good and used to being down to 133."

Now that his weight is under control, Seaton will climb up to around 142 pounds during the week.

"It takes him a little while to get into shape, the kind of shape that he needs to push through in some of those matches," Tiger coach Chas Thompson said. "Technically and athletically, he has always been there. It's just a little bit with his shape and confidence at times."

In the offseason, Seaton will be around 150.

"I have got all week of practice to lose another 10 pounds," Seaton said. "At UCM, it was just apparent. I like to think that I have a decently good gas tank, and wrestling at UCM, I just completely just died out. I had no oxygen, no anything, because my body hadn't been down to 133 for almost a year."

Seaton, from Basehor-Linwood High School, was one of six Tiger wrestlers who was undefeated and alive in the semifinals at the Bob Smith Open at Gross Memorial Coliseum. Seaton had a first-round bye, then won by technical fall before a 5-3 overtime victory against Tiger senior Rory Wilkinson.

Wilkinson defeated Seaton last year late second semester to claim the top spot.

"I usually don't like having it that way, but it just took awhile for us to sort that out," Thompson said.

Seaton won Round 1 Saturday. Thompson, who has some control over the brackets, put them close together on purpose to see if they would match up.

Wilkinson has had trouble dropping weight this year. Thompson said Wilkinson could have wrestled 141, but the senior wanted to be at 133.

"Rory looked solid," Thompson said. "He will be fine. I have got two '33 pounders. It's a good problem for me, kind of stressful for them."

Seaton lost 1-0 against top-ranked Carter McElhany of Air Force in the semifinals, but was guaranteed a top-six finish.

The match against Wilkinson was close throughout and featured two oddities. Seaton and Wilkinson, competing for the starting spot, rarely face off in practice.

"It's not very fair," Seaton said. "It's not like a match."

At 2-2 with seven seconds left in the second period, Seaton and Wilkinson wrestled at the edge of the mat.

Seaton turned his back and walked to the center. Wilkinson ran after Seaton and surprised him, but Seaton kept Wilkinson from scoring.

"I didn't want to wrestle on the edge of the mat, and he kept backing up to the edge," Seaton said. "I turned around to go to the middle of the mat and apparently he wanted to wrestle then. Next time we wrestle, have to be a little more careful. Good thing he didn't score."

With 15 seconds left in overtime, Seaton overturned Wilkinson for a two-point takedown. Some observers matside thought the move was risky, but Seaton didn't think so.

"I went to score and then somehow he countered that score," Seaton said. "He had my leg up, and I knew there was only like 10 seconds left. I could feel his pressure coming toward me, so I just tossed him backwards over my own body, and I guess caught him."