Westminster High, Maryville University to hold concurrent tournaments at WCA this weekend
By: Warren Mayes
The Westminster Christian Academy Wildcats matmen have a busy three days ahead of them.
The Wildcats open the season with a dual wrestling match at Parkway Central. The dual Thursday (Nov. 29) begins at 6 p.m.
That’s a mere warmup for the 11th annual two-day Westminster Invitational that begins at 4 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. Saturday.
So much wrestling will not hurt the Wildcats, coach Tim Muehleisen said.
“We’ve been in the practice room long enough and the boys are ready to compete,” said Muehleisen, who is entering his 14th season with the Wildcats. “Competing back-to-back is not really a stress on them.”
The Westminster tourney has 12 teams and concurrently Maryville University will be hosting the 25-team Kaufman-Brand Open, a premier college wrestling tournament with about 25 teams.
The two wrestling tournaments will be in adjacent gyms on Saturday (Dec 1).
“We expect 350 college wrestlers here that day alongside 175 high school wrestlers,” Muehleisen said.
For all that action, a ticket gets fans into both events and they will run the whole day. It’s expected more than 1,000 fans will be in attendance for the event, which will serve as a great opportunity for high school wrestlers to interact with college coaches.
Admission is free on Friday night. On Saturday, admission for both high school and college matches will be $7 for adults, $3 for students, and free for kids 12 and under.
The Westminster meet has the following teams: Odessa, Moberly, Timberland, Rockwood Summit, Pacific, Windsor, Ste. Gen, Owensville, MICDS, Washington, St. Charles West, and Westminster.
On the college side, local universities Maryville, Missouri Baptist and Lindenwood will be competing. Some of the Division I schools that will be there include Missouri, Illinois as well as Oklahoma, Iowa, Purdue and SIU Edwardsville.
The event will be a good one for the athletes and the fans, Muehleisen said.
“This is really a neat opportunity for us,” Muehleisen said. “This can give college coaches the chance to watch our kids. It gives different wrestling fans the chance to see a great campus — not to mention watch a great event.
The upcoming campaign promises to be a good for the Wildcats, Muehleisen said.
“I think this season will be the best team we have had,” Muehleisen said. “We have eight seniors in the practice room and they give a lot of leadership. The guys who are really going to step out are senior Dominic Barresi at 138 (pounds) and senior Bennett Lewis at 195.”
The competition on the high school will be good. Several teams have the opportunity to win the team title.
“Timberland, Rockwood Summit, Ste. Genevieve, Odessa, and Washington always bring tough teams,” Muehleisen said.
Some of the top high school grapplers to watch are Odessa’s Jack Shull at 113, St. Charles West’s Casey Bartee at 170, and Ste. Genevieve’s Travis Jones at 120.
“Evan Young from Odessa, Devan Richter from Timberland, Austin Repp from Pacific, are all high finishers in the state tournament and there are others,” Muehleisen said.
Having a quality competition like this so early in the season will be good for the Wildcats, Muehleisen said. He will learn much about his team and the wrestlers will learn how they stack up against quality competition.
“I feel like our team is deep enough to wrestle in this tournament and have a great showing,” Muehleisen said. “We will get a lot of matches and really will be in a position to be successful going forward from this.
“At this point in the season, the keys for me are finding out how their intensity is, getting the tape to make technical corrections from, and staying healthy. I think we can go into this weekend doing those things.”