INDEPENDENCE — Cameron High School senior Cam Hedgpeth’s season came to an improbable end after taking the Missouri heavyweight championship despite barely making the state tournament.
After squeaking into the state tournament off a 4-2, double-overtime victory over Moberly senior Andrew Huff in the sectional tournament, Hedgpeth began his unlikely run to a state title as one of the tournament’s lowest seeds but ended it atop the award podium after overcoming Oak Grove sophomore Caleb Groff with a 4-2 decision win in the title match.
“I learned from my mistakes and went into it with a game plan. And it worked out in my favor. I lost to [Groff] twice, but it’s the finals you have to show up. There is no halfway,” Hedgpeth said.
Although giving up more than 20 pounds to Groff, Hedgpeth had no issue tying up with him and that was all part of the plan. After two unsuccessful encounters with Groff, the latest coming in the sectional semifinals via a 5-2 decision, Cameron coach Phil Limb said he noticed a flaw in the young wrestler’s technique.
“The game plan was to weather the storm in the first (period). That kid has a hard snap and he’s a lefty. The first time Cam wrestled him he wasn’t used to that. He got better at it and was really good at defending it this time,” said Limb, who was also the last CHS heavyweight to capture a state title before Hedgpeth achieved the feat Thursday night.
Hedgpeth indeed weathered the storm in first period as the two grappled to no avail. Groff won the coin toss and took the down position, then the lead on an escape but a locked-hands call during the ensuing exchange tied the match 1-1. Needing an escape to take the lead and a potential state title, Hedgpeth took the down position in the final period.
READ MORE IN THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF THE CAMERON CITIZEN-OBSERVER, IN STORES THURSDAY.