Josh Franek hopes to continue to follow the path of Austin Repp, his Pacific High School wrestling teammate.

Repp ended his career as a four-time state qualifier and a three-time state medalist. He did not earn a medal as a freshman, placed third as a sophomore and won the state title as a junior and senior.

Through his sophomore season, the results have been the same for Franek, who placed third at 120 pounds in Class 3 during the MSHSAA championships in Columbia after qualifying last year, but not earning a medal at 106 pounds.

“Next year, I want to win state,” Franek said. “And it’s the same for my senior year.”

Franek, a sophomore, claimed a 4-2 decision over Neosho’s Gannon Millard in the third-place match.

“It was tough. I just went out there and wrestled my match and got the victory,” Franek said. “I’m happy with how the season went.”

Franek (46-4) opened the state meet with a 10-3 win over Ladue’s Jonas Miller-Stockie.

In the quarterfinals, Franek suffered a 4-2 loss to Staley’s Trey Nelson.

“Josh wasn’t at his best in the quarterfinal match, but that’s state wrestling for you. Weird things happen at state wrestling,” said Pacific Head Coach Rob Schimsa. “How you handle everything going on at state wrestling is what separates the kids. Some can handle it and some can’t. Josh did a good job after his quarterfinal loss to come back and win the rest of his matches.”

Franek won his next four matches to place third. He pinned Rockwood Summit’s Matt Stauder in 3:33, won a 6-2 decision over Belton’s Clayton Fenzl and advanced to the third-place contest with a 5-0 decision over Lebanon’s Dylan Burns.

“Josh had a good tournament. He lost to a quality kid from Staley, but beat some good kids in the wrestlebacks,” Schimsa said. “I thought he was one of the top three wrestlers in the 120-pound bracket going into the state meet, and he ended up with a third-place finish.”

Last year’s state experience helped Franek.

“I learned last year just a few things you need to know about being here,” he said. “I’m happy with third place. My goal was to get on the podium this year. I’m happy I got there.”

While he’s just a sophomore, Franek has plenty of wrestling experience.

“I started wrestling when I was in fourth grade. Every year, I’m taking the next step,” he said. “I’m not sure what weight I’ll wrestle next year. All I know is it won’t be 120 again.”

Schimsa has high hopes for Franek’s junior and senior seasons.

“Josh is a good kid. I can see him at 126 or 132 next year,” Schimsa said. “If he continues to work hard and puts in the work, he should accomplish some big things.”