The Festus Tigers had a rough day on Saturday, February 13th, as the team entered 14 grapplers into the MSHSAA Class 3 District 1 Tournament. The Tigers finished in 6th place by scoring 65.5 team points, as only four of their competitors were able to place high enough to advance to the next round, the Sectionals.
At the 106 lb. weight class, Austin Neff had an outstanding performance. He won first place and scored 22 team points. In the semifinals, Neff won by pin in 58 seconds. He then also pinned his opponent in the finals, in 3:44.
Carter Wallace, at 120, lost his first match moving him to the consolation bracket, where he lost in the consolation semifinals.
At 126, Andrew Nahlik placed third and added 16 team points. He won the quarterfinal match by pin in 44 seconds. However, he was defeated in the semifinals pushing him to the consolation bracket where he won the consolation semifinals by pin in 1:37. He went on to win the third place match by pin in only 21 seconds, which advances him to Sectionals. Nahlik commented, “I was thinking I needed to get my butt in gear as I was out of it my first two matches. During Sectionals I’ll try to work on wrestling safer and keeping my body healthy.”
Nick Pruett, at 132, lost in the quarterfinals, and then lost the consolation semifinals.
At 138, Lucas Mercurio was defeated in the quarterfinals, and then lost in the consolation semifinals.
Wrestling at 145, Blake Sexton scored 2.5 team points. He lost his quarterfinal matchup, but won the first round of the consolation bracket by technical fall 15-0. However, he was defeated in the consolation semifinals. Sexton was disappointed, and said, “I probably should have stayed at my original weight class but you’ve always got to learn. I can’t wait for the many adventures that wrestling brings next year.”
Gavin Grass, at 152, lost the quarterfinal match, and then lost again in the consolation semifinals.
At 160, Robert Buehre lost in the quarterfinals, and then lost in the consolation semifinals.
Luke Shaver, at 182, had an excellent performance, winning the Gold Medal and adding 21 team points. He won the semifinals by pin in 1:03, and then won the finals by major decision 11-3, and will compete in the Sectionals. Shaver had this to say about his day, “I was just believing in all the work I’ve done and all the hours in the gym, and on the mat. I will keep doing the same thing, just believing.”
At 195, Blake Naumann lost in the quarterfinals, and then was defeated again in the consolation semifinals.
Christopher Bentrup, at 220, placed fourth and earned four team points. He lost in the semifinals pushing him to the consolation bracket, and then lost the third place match, but will still move on to the Sectionals.
At 285, Connor Holt lost in the quarterfinals, and then was defeated again in the consolation semifinals.
While it wasn’t the result the team was hoping for, they still managed to move four grapplers through to the Sectional tournament, which will take place on Saturday, February 27th. Until then, the remaining Tigers will attempt to sharpen their skills as they prepare for what lies ahead.