On Saturday, February 22, the MSHSAA Girls Wrestling Sectional 1 took place. All three schools that Ameritime Sports covers, Ste. Genevieve, Hillsboro, and Festus, each had athletes qualify for the the Sectional Tournament by placing in the District Tournament two weeks ago. In order to advance from Sectionals to the Missouri State Tournament, an athlete needed to finish in the top three of their weight class.
Ste. Gen had three girls qualify for Sectionals. Head Coach Jared Bonnell said, “We are very excited about the future for the girls program. Since its inception, our high school girls have paved the way for the younger females who are aspiring to be a part of that tradition. We have been seeing a boom in girls participation in both our middle school and youth wrestling programs. Our middle school and youth coaches are doing a fantastic job promoting wrestling to all who seem interested. I think the future is very bright for the girls program.”
Autumn Basler, wrestling at the 117 lb. weight class was up first. She lost in the quarterfinals and then again in the consolation round, and was eliminated from the competition. Bonnell noted, “Autumn has been such a joy to have on our team. I am so happy that she decided to wrestle her Junior and Senior years and I can honestly say that she has improved immensely since last season. After being knocked out of the tournament she didn’t succumb to her emotions for long. Instead she cheered on her teammates and celebrated with them in their success and consoled them in their hardships. She was more concerned about her teammates than her own misfortune. That in a nutshell describes Autumn. She is going to be missed dearly and I am so thankful she took a chance on wrestling.”
At 127, Isabel Basler placed first. She won the quarter final match by major decision 13-3. In the semifinal match, she pinned her opponent in 6:46 to move on to the finals. In the finals, she pinned her opponent in 3:26, to win the weight class, and advance to State. Bonnell commented, “I think Izzy would be the first to say that she didn’t wrestle at her best this weekend, but she found ways to win and that comes from pure guts and instinct. This is only Izzy’s second year of wrestling and she continues to impress me with her determination. She is going to be a force if she gets everything firing at the State Tournament.”
Maggie Myracle, at 195, took third place. She won the quarterfinal match by pin in 41 seconds. However, she lost the semifinal match, moving her to the consolation bracket. In the consolation semifinals, she won by decision 2-0, advancing her to the third place match, where she won by fall in 2:21. With the third place finish, she qualifies for State. Bonnell said, “Maggie showed a tremendous amount of grit coming back after losing her semifinal match to a girl that she has pinned 4-5 times this year. She composed herself after the loss and was able to focus on her next match. In my opinion, Maggie can beat anyone at the State Tournament and it doesn’t matter where she falls in the bracket. She had one bad tournament and was able to refocus and wrestle-back to take third. A lot of athletes struggle with that. I think Maggie will have her best tournament of the year in a few short weeks.”
Hillsboro had two wrestlers qualify for Sectionals, however, neither were able to advance. Hillsboro Coach Jeffrey Hoese said, “It was not quite the way we wanted the season to end, but I’m super proud of how both girls wrestled. Both were the first girls to be District medalists for Hillsboro. The fact that Alleigh Culley accomplished this as a freshman and first year wrestler speaks volumes. I am already looking forward to seeing what she does next year.”
At 174, Culley lost her quarterfinal match, lost in the first round of the consolation bracket and was eliminated.
Marissa Hudman, at 235, also did not qualify. She won her quarterfinal match by decision 6-2, but then lost in the semifinals putting her into the consolation bracket. She lost the consolation semifinals as well, and was eliminated.
Hoese commented on Hudman, and said, “Marissa is one of the founding members of our girls team and will be sorely missed as she graduates this year. She wrestled tough at Sectionals and fell just short in the consolation semis.”
Festus qualified three girls to the Sectionals, and were able to advance two to the State Tournament. At 107, Lee Ann Dobbs missed qualifying, but finished in fourth place. She lost her quarterfinal match, moving her to the consolation bracket, where she won the first round by pin in 4:14. In the consolation semifinals, she won again by fall, in 2:15. However, in the third place match, she was defeated and did not advance. Dobbs boasted, “I felt good making it this far, even though i didn’t go to state i still got fourth with it only being my second year.”
Kirsten Klein, at 112, placed third. She won her quarterfinal match by pin in 5:55, but was defeated in the semifinals moving her to the consolation bracket. She won the consolation semifinals by decision 8-2, and then won the third place match by pin in 1:33 to advance to the State Tournament. Klein had this to say, “I was relieved after I won my quarterfinals match, glad I could keep going. Losing in the semi-finals hit me kind of hard, it’s my first loss of the season at 112 and I know I’m better than how I wrestled there. Coming back and taking 3rd, qualifying for state made me so happy. After feeling down because of my loss, I was still able to secure my spot was great.”
At 122, Lauren Mills also placed third. She won the quarterfinal match by technical fall 15-0, but was defeated in the semifinals, putting her in the consolation bracket. She won the consolation semifinal by pin in 4:04, and then won the third place match by fall in 3:38 to move on to the State Tournament. When asked about her performance Mills said, “I was excited after my quarterfinals match but knew I had more tough matches infront of me that I needed to prepare for. After my semifinal match I was a little upset but knew I still had a chance for 3rd and got my mindset right, after winning my last match lots of emotions flooded me but I was mostly super proud of myself and exited to see what state holds for me!”
Festus Coach Jason Nahlik was excited, and said, “We qualified girls for State for the first time ever. The only team from the county to qualify more girls than us was Eureka, with three, and they had 10 girls on their team, while we only had four. All three of our girls that qualified for Sectionals fought hard. Dobbs placed fourth but in a non-COVID year she also goes to State.”
Basler, Myracle, Klein, and Mills will now compete on Tuesday, March 9th in an attempt to bring home the ultimate prize in High School athletics… the State championship. Until then, they will head back to their schools to continue to train and improve their game.