On Saturday December 5, the Festus Tigers hosted a quad style tournament for Varsity Boys and Girls, and JV wrestling. The Boys competed against Central (Park Hills), Central (New Madrid County), Notre Dame (Cape Girardeau) and Parkway North. The Girls team wrestled against Central (Park Hills) and Notre Dame (Cape Girardeau). The JV only competed against Central (Park Hills).
It started off rough for the Festus Boys, but the team turned it around, winning three duals in a row, to secure a second place finish in their home quad tournament. The Tigers showed their toughness and fought valiantly to bring home the silver medal. Head Coach Jason Nahlik commented, “With a very young team we have a lot to improve upon. Most of the kids we get are stepping on the mat for the first time when our first practice starts.”
The first dual against Central (Park Hills) was a battle that the Tigers lost 47-24. Of the nine matches, Festus only won two, on pins from Robert Buehre and Luke Shaver. Shaver, who finished 3rd place in state last season, had a dominate performance winning both of his matches with pins. Shaver commented, “I love competing, just the thought of competing makes me excited and focused, but at the same time relaxed so I can get to work on the mat.”
In the next Dual, Festus routed Notre Dame (Cape Girardeau) by a score of 54-18. Of the seven matches, four were taken by the Tigers. Nahlik, Blake Sexton, Jordan Banks and Shaver all earned victories by pin.
Festus then defeated Parkway North 51-15. Of the five matches, it was Nahlik again with a pin and the win, and Connor Holt won by decision 1-0. Nahlik actually wrestled up a weight class all day, pinning all three of his opponents.
On the Girls side, the team won their first dual against Central (Park Hills) by the score of 24-18. Festus won both matches with Sarah Gazaway winning by fall in 31 seconds, while Lauren Mills also won by fall in 1:05, defeating a state qualifier.
Festus then blanked Notre Dame (Cape Girardeau) by the score of 24-0. Lauren Mills had another pin, this time at 25 seconds. Going 2-0, the girls team won the gold medal.
In the lone JV dual, the Tigers were swept 18-0. “The first competition of the year is always stressful for new wrestlers, and our young guys fought really hard yesterday,” said Coach Nahlik.
Coach Nahlik added, “We have been throwing a lot at the team in practice and they have been catching on quickly, but there is still a huge gap to overcome. They are all hard workers, and the lessons they are learning every day in the wrestling room will help them be successful in their future endeavors.”
The season is only beginning, but the Tigers are prepared for whatever battles lay ahead.