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Missouri state wrestling championships preview (Boys Class 3-4, Girls Class 2)

Missouri's larger wrestling classes will compete Friday and Saturday
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The second set of the Missouri State High School Activities Association state wrestling championships will kick off on Friday at Mizzou Arena — the 98th edition for the boys and fifth for the girls.

Unlike the usual Thursday-to-Saturday format the change of adding two classes in girls led to changes and this will be the first-ever Class 2 girls championships.

The event starts with boys Class 3 at 8:15 a.m., followed by the Class 2 girls at 1 p.m. and the Class 4 boys will conclude it at 5:45 p.m. on Day 1.

On Saturday, the medal round starts at 2:30 p.m. with the Class 3 boys, followed by Class 2 girls at 3 p.m. and Class 4 boys at 3:30 p.m. The championship matches all start at 5:45 p.m.

HOW TO WATCH: The Missouri wrestling championships are broadcast on MSHSAA-TV for a fee:

Class 3 Boys

Whitfield will look to bring home another title to St. Louis, aiming for three in a row in Class 3 and seven in a row dating back to its time in Class 1. The Warriors have won 11 titles since 2008.

Whitfield's toughest challengers figure to be Hillsboro and Jefferson City, which placed second and fourth, respectively, a year ago.

Bolivar, Farmington Platte County, Belton, Carl Junction McDonald County and Helias Catholic — back in Class 3 after being second last year in Class 2 — should be among the teams in the mix for a trophy.

Wrestlers to Watch

Jake Fernandez, Platte County

Another returning state champion, the junior won 220 pounds last year and is 44-4 this year as a 215-pounder.

Isaac Foeller, Desoto

Brings a 38-1 mark into the 285-pound bracket after taking fourth place last year as a 220-pounder.

Blake Goodman, Bolivar

Down a weight class this year at 190, Goodman was a runner-up at 195. The senior is 43-2 this season for the Liberators.

Jayce Hitt, McDonald County

The junior is the lone undefeated wrestler in 285 pounds with a 22-0 mark. Hitt was a fifth-place finisher last year in this weight class and is the highest returning medalist.

Kyshin Isringhausen, Branson

The all-time win leader for the Pirates, he is 46-1 and one of the favorites at 138 this year. He’s been a runner-up and third in his three previous trips.

Derek Joiner, Grandview

The junior is 24-1 this year and is on a collision course to meet Hitt in the semifinals at 285 pounds. Last year, Hitt beat him in the fifth-place match.

Porter Matecki, Whitfield

A junior, Matecki is the 17th-ranked wrestler in the SBLive national rankings at 126 pounds. He is 37-2 on the year and the junior is seeking a third straight title.

Sam Melton, Carl Junction

A three-time qualifier — he went to Class 4 tournament as a freshman at Joplin — Melton was the runner-up last year at 120. He has just three losses to in-state foes this season.

Logan Montoya, Jefferson City Helias Catholic

Another Class 2 medalist up in Class 3, Montoya was third in 160 last year. The junior is 44-1 as a 175-pounder.

Evan Morris, Hillsboro

The senior will look to win two titles in a row after taking 1st at 152 last year. At 150 this year, Morris is 30-5.

Sam Murphy, McDonald County

The junior is 40-1 this year and is already a two-time medalist, taking third and fourth at 220 in two previous trips.

Carter Prenger, Jefferson City Helias Catholic

He won a state championship at 120 pounds last year in Class 2 and brings a 23-1 record into meet as a 126-pounder.

Kaden Purler, North Point

The name Purler and wrestling is almost synonymous in this state. After a runner-up finish last year at 106 pounds, the sophomore is 39-1 at 120 pounds.

Alexander ‘AJ’ Rallo, Whitfield

The senior will look to become a four-time state champion and sports a 40-5 mark at 138 pounds.

Ryder Shelton, Kearney

Won the 106-pound title last year and is 38-3 heading into state at 113-pounder

Jackson Tucker, Hillsboro

The sophomore is 39-1 at 132 pounds and will look to build on a runner-up finish at 126 last year.

Gary Walker, Willard

The junior made the finals last year at 160 and is 32-3 as a 165-pounder.

Lukas Walker, Carl Junction

His 43-1 records is the best at 113 this year and he is a two-time medalist.

Class 4 Boys

Liberty will look to make it four championships in a row in Class 4 and has a lineup that is loaded with returning state champions, medalists and nationally-ranked grapplers. 

The Blue Jays will see a challenge rom Seckman, Staley, Nixa, Francis Howell Central, Grain Valley, Lafayette Wildwood, Ozark and Neosho, a Class 3 power that got moved up a classification.

Wrestlers to Watch

Dru Azcona, Grain Valley

The senior is 27-1 this year and is coming off a fourth-place finish last year at 126. He will likely face Nixa’s Zan Fugitt in the 132 semifinals.

Hank Benter, Columbia Hickman

The 106-pound title winner last year is 42-1 as a sophomore and a favorite in 113 pounds.

Alex Bray, Marquette

The senior is an Illinois football signee and sports a 29-3 record at 285 pounds.

Brennan Carey, Nixa

He took third last year at 195 in his first year at Nixa after transferring from Carl Junction. The junior is 42-6 this year and favorite to win a loaded 215-pound class. Five others in the bracket are returning medalists.

Christopher Coates, Liberty

The Purdue pledge won the 132-pound title as a sophomore and will look to win 138 this year. He is 24-1 on the year and ranked No. 10 in the SB Live nationally rankings.

Matthew Cook, Seckman

A runner-up at 120 pounds last year, Cook is back this year in the weight class with a 35-10 mark.

Matthew Craig, Wentzville Liberty

A state runner-up at 285 last year, he is back and has the best record in terms of win percentage at 28-1.

Charlie Dykes, Lee’s Summit North

A returning state medalist last year — fourth at 120 — is back in the weight class with a 45-2 mark.

Zan Fugitt, Nixa

The No. 3-ranked wrestler in the country, the future Oklahoma Sooner will look to add another state title. He won 120 last year and is the favorite at 132.

Devon Harrison, Liberty

Will likely face Benter in the final this year — a rematch of last year’s finals. Harrison, ranked No. 14 in the country, is 34-6 overall.

Aidan Hernandez, Francis Howell Central

The senior is 25-1 will look to become a four-time medalist as one of the top guys at 165.

Davion King, Carthage

A two-time medalist was a runner-up last year at 160. The senior, 26-2, will likely see Hernandez in the semifinals at 165.

Gavin Linsman, Liberty

A two-time state champion at Whitfield, the move across the state didn’t slow him down. He is 37-4 this year and the favorite to win the 144-pound crown.

Carter McCallister, Columbia Rock Bridge

Already three-time finalist, he will enter the 150-pound class with a 45-0 mark and look to win his third straight title but will likely face Ozark’s Braxton Strick in the semifinals. McCallister is ranked 10th nationally by SBLive at 144 pounds.

Cole Ruble, Seckman

The Southeast Missouri State football signee was the state champion last year at 160 pounds. He’s 34-7 this year at 190 and will likely face Lebanon’s Cade Muscia — in a battle of all-state football players — in the quarterfinals.

Brett Smith, Troy Buchanan

Won a medal at Wentzville Holt as a freshman and has taken second and first (170) at Troy Buchanan. The senior, who is also an all-state football player, is 39-2 this year at 175.

Braxton Strick, Ozark

The senior is 47-2 and is one of the top wrestlers in 150 pounds. He won the 152 title last year for the Tigers.

Hunter Taylor, Liberty

In a loaded 120-pound class, the junior is 35-6 overall and ranked 13th in the SBLive national rankings. The North Carolina pledge won the 113-pound crown last year.

Ethan Venable, Oakville

An all-state football player, the junior is 35-2 at 215. He was a runner-up at 220 last year and will face another returning medalist in Staley’s Jack Stoffel (fifth) in the first round before a possible showdown with Carey in the semifinals.

Peyton Westpfahl, Liberty

The No. 11-ranked wrestler at 175 in the SBLive national rankings, he was a fifth-place finisher last year at 160.

Austen Wetzel, Columbia Battle

The senior brings a 19-match winning streak into state with a 22-1 record in the 190-pound class.

Eli Zar, Neosho

A state champion at 170 pounds last year in Class 3, the senior is 45-2 this year at 165. He is a two-time finalist for the Wildcats.

Class 2 Girls

Most of the dominant teams in Class 1 over the past four years will return — including Lebanon, which has won three of the first four titles and two in a row.

The Yellowjackets will look to make it three in a row.

All four of the trophy teams in Class 1 last year are now in Class 2 this year: Lebanon, Nixa, Lafayette Wildwood and Park Hill.

Wrestlers to watch

Sevreign Amura, Grain Valley

The defending champion at 149 pounds, she will be at 140 pounds this year. She is 31-0 and has won 62 in a row.

Halea Bartel, Lebanon

She’s a two-time medalist and was fourth last year at 125. The junior is 41-3 this year and her path to the final will likely include Washington’s Kendra Bliss, who is 45-3.

Kiara Boldridge, William Chrisman

The senior was a third-place finisher at 235 pounds last year for the Bears. She’s back with a 35-1 mark and will likely see Catherine Dutton of Willard in the semifinals.

Kate Cooper, Wentzville Timberland

The state champion last year at 105, the senior is 33-0 and will look to defend the title in the same weight class.

Brenya Crahan, Nixa

The 125-pound champion from last year will look to make it three titles in a row. She’s undefeated this year with a 46-0 mark in the 135-pound class.

Catherine Dutton, Willard

A two-time finalist and one-time champion at Springfield Central, she is headed to state with a 33-0 mark for her new school and competing at 235 pounds.

Abigail Fuglsang, Camdenton

The only undefeated wrestler at 100 pounds, she is 43-0 after finishing as the runner-up last year at 100.

Madeline Haynes, Rockwood Summit

As a freshman, she was the runner-up at 130 pounds. She’s 37-1 this year and one of the favorites at 140.

Taylor Johnson, Lebanon

She dropped down weight class this year after taking third at 141 last year. The senior is 37-6 at 135 pounds for the two-time defending state champion Yellowjackets.

Jessa Joiner, Lebanon

A third-place finisher at 100 last year, the sophomore is 46-1 this year and has the most wins in the 110-pound class.

Ali Kaiser, Marquette

The senior is 40-0 in 170 pounds and will look to earn another medal after taking fourth in 2021. A knee injury kept her out of the competition last year.

Maddie Kubicki, Park Hill South

One of the best wrestlers in the state regardless of weight class. The senior is 43-0 and will be aiming to be a four-time champion. She’s in the 145-pound class this year and her biggest hurdle will be Lebanon’s Bailey Joiner, who is 41-5 and a runner-up last year at 135.

Madison Leverknight, Winnetonka

The senior was a runner-up at 125 pounds last year and is contender this year at 120. She is 32-5 and her path to the final could be facing another Kansas City wrestler: Park Hill’s Allison Gonier, who is 36-3.

Marissa Sanabria, Wentzville Holt

The senior is undefeated in 130 pounds and is 43-0. She was a fifth-place finisher at 125 last season.

Audrey Scherer, Lindbergh

The junior was a state runner-up last year at 105. This year, she is 34-7 at 115 and will likely see Park Hill’s Angelina Vargas in the semifinals.

Faith Spicer, Fox

The defending state champion at 235 pounds is back to defend her title. She’s 27-5 on the year.

Rebecca Strong, Marquette

The senior is 41-2 and was a runner-up last year at 141 points. She is one of the favorites at 155.

Angelina Vargas, Park Hill

The defending state champion at 115 is still in that weight class this year. The sophomore is 36-1 for the Trojans.

Caroline Ward, Wentzville Liberty

The senior is one of two with 40-plus wins in the 190-pound class. Her 42-1 mark is the highest winning percentage in the bracket, ahead of Lebanon’s Mariyah Brumley, who is 44-2.

Haley Ward, Fort Osage

The senior will be aiming for a fourth state title for the Indians. She won 159 pounds last year and is in 155 this year with a 47-0 mark.

Wendy Riley-Washington, Kickapoo

The senior is 26-1 on the campaign and on the same side of the bracket with Hasier, with a semifinal showdown looming. Riley-Washington was the 174-pound champion for the Chiefs last February.

Missouri state wrestling championships preview (Boys Class 1-2, Girls Class 1)

SBLive Sports National High School Wrestling Rankings (2/23/2023)

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