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Wrestling: District Qualifiers Gearing up for State

The 81st State Wrestling Championships will be Feb. 17-19 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia, Mo.

There certainly will be no shortage of wrestlers from Creve Coeur area schools  heading to Columbia, for Thursday's start of state championship competition.

The 81st MSHSAA State Wrestling Championships will be held through Saturday at Mizzou Arena. The top four teams at state take home a trophy, and the top six finishers in each weight class earn a medal.

The standard-bearer for this year's local talent, which includes the top four district finishers in each weight class, would have to be the unit from .

Taking first place for the Warriors was 103-pound freshman Jack Pantanella (37-10), 119-pound junior Austin Smith (38-13), 125-pound senior Ian Murphy (29-23), 130-pound sophomore Chris Wilkes (50-1), 135-pound freshman Rodney Hahn (45-6), 152-pound junior Ethan Sherertz (36-12), 160-pound senior Mike Kissell (49-0), 171-pound senior Peter Gienke (31-15) and 215-pound senior Wyatt Salsbury (37-15).

“This is a record for us. It’s the most we’ve ever qualified,” longtime Whitfield head coach Charlie Sherertz said last week. “We’ve never fielded a full team in the 15 years I’ve been here. We’ve qualified 12 a few times, but I was comfortable that we could qualify 13 kids. Other Whitfield grapplers qualifying for the state tournament were 145-pound junior Pat McLaughlin (17-26), who finished second, 112-pound junior Eric Engel (17-33) and 189-pound junior Stephen Scobee (21-17), both were third, and 140-pound junior Jake Becker (23-13), who placed fourth.

placed 10th out of 14 teams in district competition at the Class 3 District 2 meet at the Fort Zumwalt East District Tournament. However, the Red Devils had some individual success, with two wrestlers qualifying for state. Senior Zac Bovich took the district championship at 130 pounds and improved his season record to 28-2.At 150 pounds, junior Max Wilhelm (21-12) placed fourth.

“It’s a great thing when you can qualify wrestlers for state,” Chaminade Coach Randy Vanderveen said. “I’m excited to be taking them and it will be good to see what they can bring to the best of the state of Missouri.”

qualified five wrestlers for state at the district tourney and placed eighth as a team. Senior Owen Blyth earned a third-place finish at 145 pounds. He’s recorded a 46-5 record this season.

“Owen is our captain and he’s been with us for four years,” Ladue Coach Kevin Clawson said. “He’s worked very hard in the offseason. He’s a great scrambler. All of his losses have been close ones. We’re looking for good things from him at state.”

Junior Chris Shirley (189), who has compiled a 37-12 record, placed fourth at district. In addition, Ladue had three sophomore state qualifiers: Chase Ridenour (130), Grant Sachs (135) and Justin Mann (140). Ridenour has a 21-12 record this season while Sachs is 17-7 and Mann 33-16. Mann finished second in district, Sachs placed third, and Ridenour placed fourth.

“It’s nice to qualify five guys and have four of them coming back,” Clawson said. “All of these guys work very hard in the offseason and that’s what it takes to be successful in this day and age. This is no longer a three-month commitment.”  

Although l placed last at the district tournament, it did have one bright spot, as Jacob Didier (189) placed second to qualify for state. Parkway Central coach Will Rosa describes Didier as “a good wrestler who has endurance and knows how to grind out a win.” The senior has a 28-8 record.

Meanwhile, finished 11th out of 14 teams at the Class 4 District 2 meet at at McCluer North. Senior Jacob Matyiko took first place at 215 pounds and is 35-1 this season. Senior Joseph Holden came in second at 160 pounds and is 40-8.

finished seventh. Sophomore Zach Cusumano (29-16) finished fourth at 112 pounds. Senior Austin Adderley took third place at 125 pounds and is 35-5 this season. At 135 pounds, the Vikings saw junior David Evans take second place and improve to a team-best 36-2.

Junior Chris Carter (40-13) finished third at 189 pounds and senior David Smith (25-11) finished second at 285 pounds.

placed eighth as a team. Sophomore Wesley Raiche took second place at 103 pounds and is 32-5 this season. Junior Matthew Murphy (26-20) finished fourth at 189 pounds and senior Jesse Farmer took third at 215 pounds and improved to 37-6 at the meet.

placed eighth as a team at John Burroughs. Sophomore Dominic Barressi (27-20) finished third at 130 pounds. At 135 pounds, junior Brian Yeager (21-18) placed fourth and sophomore Bennett Lewis placed fourth at 189 pounds. Lewis is 35-13 this season.

At the Class 2 District 2 meet at John Burroughs, finished 11th out of 14 teams and had one state qualifier. Freshman Andrew Callahan placed fourth at 130 pounds and is 19-9 this season.

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