District wrestling tournaments will determine who goes to state meet
By: Warren Mayes
It’s district wrestling time for high schools. Districts begin Friday (Feb. 8) and end Saturday.
The top four wrestlers in each weight class will advance to the Missouri Wrestling Championships, set for Feb. 14-16 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Defending Class 1 state champion Whitfield will host the District 1 event. The Warriors feature two-time state champion junior Rodney Hahn at 145 pounds as well as defending state title holders in senior Chris Wilkes, at 126, and senior Will Hahn at 152. Wilkes has signed with North Carolina State while Will Hahn has signed with Duke.
Teams competing in District 1 are: Brentwood, Central, Centralia, Christian, Cleveland ROTC, Father Tolton, Hancock, Herculaneum, Lift for Life Academy, Lutheran St. Peters, Maplewood, Missouri School for the Blind, Principia, Transportation and Law High, and Whitfield.
In Class 4, CBC will host District 1 meet. Teams competing are CBC, De Smet Jesuit, Fox, Jackson, Kirkwood, Lafayette, Lindbergh, Marquette, Mehlville, Oakville, Parkway South, Seckman, St. Louis University High, and Vianney.
CBC coach Rocky Streb said he enjoys putting on the district meet at his school, where also serves as the athletic director.
“I do like hosting, but only because I have some really good people helping,” Streb said. “Hosting a district tournament is a major deal. That’s really why we’re doing it is because no one else wanted to. ”
It might even help the Cadets out, too.
“I think there is an advantage at least from the standpoint that your guys are more comfortable at their own home,” Streb said. “ They really are excited about it.
|“I think the entire CBC wrestling family will feel a sense of satisfaction after we pull this off in great form.”
That said, the 14-team field is a good one.
“It is a very strong field in some weight classes the toughest in the state,” Streb said. “In looking at the whole state overall, I would say this is the most balanced district alignment in years.”
Teams that likely will get the most individuals out, Streb said, are Seckman and Lafayette.
“I like our chances; the prognosticators like Seckman and Lafayette. The rest of us are just trying to get as many individuals through as possible,” Streb said. “We’re ready, I don’t have any expectations based on wins or losses. I look for the guys to prepare correctly, as they have been taught, and to compete hard.”
Lafayette coach Jonathan Sumner said his Lancers are ready to get on the mats but it will be a difficult district.
“Our district is going to be a tough one. Seckman and Jackson are two of the toughest teams in the St. Louis area and, once you throw 12 other reams into a tournament with them, it is going to become a good one,” Sumner said. “Seckman and Jackson have to be the top two teams to beat in our district, they are always well coached and ready to go at this point in the year.”
That said, his Lancers have enjoyed a solid season to date. However, district is the last hurdle to earning a ticket to Columbia.
“Our kids are as focused as they have been all year,” Sumner said. “They have worked hard to prepare for the next two weeks, at this point we just got to put all that preparation into action. I am proud of what these young men have done this year and they have worked hard, putting them in a position to compete for their goals.
“All they need to do know if go after the goals they have set and worked hard to achieve all season. They are excited and focused, so we will just have to see how it all plays out.”
This season, the Missouri State High School Activities switched up the districts. Eureka got sent to District 3 in Jefferson City.
Teams competing in District 3 are Eureka, Hickman, Jefferson City, Joplin, Kickapoo, Lee’s Summit West, Nixa, Northwest, Ozark, Raymore-Peculiar, Rock Bridge, Springfield Central, and Waynesville.
Eureka coach Tim Yancey said he is still perplexed about the move of his Wildcats to Jefferson City. But that won’t stop his Wildcats, who are fresh off winning the Suburban West Conference championship.
“I am not sure why MSHSAA has moved us out of District 1, but we will wrestle the way we always have no matter where we are. I will say that having Eureka and Northwest in the District 3 definitely made this tournament much tougher.”
The long bus ride to Jefferson City doe not pose any concern along with going against many new teams for Eureka, Yancey said.
“We set up our season to wrestle the best in the state so that when district and state time comes around, we have seen and prepared for whatever comes in front of us,” Yancey said. “To see the best in the state, you have to travel around the state so we have a couple of out of town tournaments so traveling is nothing new for them.”
His Wildcats are excited about the district because that’s how you get to state. That’s always the goal — get into the state tournament.
“It has been long season when you think back to the end of last season’s district or state tournament, especially if you didn’t qualify for the pinnacle of our sport — the state tournament,” Yancey said. “So all season you wrestle the match that is in front of you, but always have your eye on that district tournament.
“So I would say yes, they are chomping at the bit to wrestle in the district tournament.
Westminster Christian Academy will host the Class 3 District 2 meet.
“We are excited to host,” Westminster coach Tim Muethleisen said. “I don’t think it’s a significant advantage. The boys still have to wrestle the matches.”
Team competing in the district are Chaminade, Fort Zumwalt East, Fort Zumwalt North, Fort Zumwalt South, Gateway, Hannibal, Ladue, McCluer, Normandy, Parkway Central, Parkway West, Riverview Gardens, Warrenton, and Westminster Christian Academy.
“It is a broad field, meaning there are six schools here that bring very similar teams,” Muethleisen said. “Each weight has a few really good kids, but there will be really competitive matches throughout the tourney.”
Muethleisen’s Wildcats are fresh off winning the Metro League Tournament.
“The biggest goal I have been preaching to the kids is that we need to score points at 14 weights,” Muethleisen said. “If everyone does their part, we’ll figure out the team race later. Laude has some really strong kids for sure, but we are deep and I want to capitalize on that.”