It’s been an impressive winter sports season so far for many of our area teams.
While basketball gets most of the fans’ attention, I’d like to get everyone updated on the wrestling season.
By no means would I consider myself a wrestling expert, but it’s grown on me over the years.
Washington is the area’s best team, and one of the top teams in the state.
The Blue Jays currently are ranked third in Class 3 in the team tournament rankings behind Neosho and Staley by missouriwrestling.com.
Interestingly enough, Washington has never had a state champion wrestler.
Not to put pressure on anyone, but that could change in about a month.
Many sports followers in our area know about Kyle Summers and his abilities as an all-state running back.
But Summers also is an all-state wrestler, and tough as nails. This season, Summers has a 30-0 record and currently is ranked third in Class 3 at 182 pounds.
That begs the question, who’s ranked ahead of Summers?
Well, Union’s Dalton Kuenzel is ranked second and Festus’ Dustin Politte is ranked first.
Obviously, Kuenzel also is one of our top wrestlers in the area. His only loss so far this season was against Pacific’s Austin Repp by an 8-3 decision.
Summers and Kuenzel should meet Thursday in a dual meet at Union between the Blue Jays and the Wildcats. That match alone will be worth the price of admission.
Cole Hamai, who has had a tremendous career at Washington, also is unbeaten this season at 35-0.
Earlier in the season, Hamai was ranked first in Class 3 at 145 pounds by missouriwrestling.com, but has since dropped to second behind Kearney’s Grant Leeth.
With all due respect to the folks who put the rankings together, how in the world do you drop Hamai from first to second while he’s still unbeaten and dominating everyone in his path?
I’m sure Leeth is a great wrestler. Maybe Hamai and Leeth will meet at the state tournament to decide who really should be ranked No. 1.
Washington has a number of other really good wrestlers.
Logan Baird is ranked first at 195 pounds.
Other state-ranked Blue Jays are Nicholas Solter (third at 126), Parker Neptune (sixth at 113), Matt Pecka (sixth at 285) and Cody Gardner (eighth at 132).
That means the Blue Jays are ranked in seven of the 14 weight classes in Class 3.
Neosho is ranked in 11 weight classes. Staley is ranked in nine weight classes.
The area’s other unbeaten wrestler is Repp, who is the defending 170-pound state champion in Class 3.
While Repp defeated Kuenzel in a 182-pound match, he will be at 170 pounds for the postseason.
Working on a complicated trigonometry equation is easier than scoring points against Repp. He currently owns a 30-0 record and is the top-ranked wrestler at 170 pounds.
There’s a chance Repp could reach 200 career wins at the end of the season, which would be an amazing accomplishment. By my count, he’s currently at 175.
Pacific’s other state-ranked wrestlers are Josh Franek (sixth at 120), Joe Rind (seventh at 132) and Dalton Voyles (eighth at 182).
There’s a good chance that Franek will move down to 113 pounds for the postseason. He’s lost just three matches on the season.
Voyles is definitely moving down to 160 pounds for the postseason. He’s lost just two matches this year, both against Summers.
Union also has Joe Lasky, who’s not, but probably should be, ranked at 220 pounds.
The interesting thing is that Washington, Pacific and Union all are in Class 3 District 1. There will be some great head-to-head matchups involving our area wrestlers as the rest of the season plays out.
The Blue Jays are the defending district champs and the team to beat again this season.
In Class 2, missouriwrestling.com has yet to list the state rankings.
St. Clair’s top wrestlers this season have been Dustin Conner (170) and Skyler Hutchison (195).
Sullivan also is having a good season.
District wrestling tournaments are scheduled for Feb. 14-15.
The state tournament at Mizzou Arena is Feb. 20-22. That will be a busy weekend for our area wrestlers.