Washington High School is accustomed to sending wrestlers to the state tournament.
Even so, the program is reaching new territory this year with MSHSAA’s addition of girls wrestling as its own sport, separate from the boys for the first time. The Lady Jays earned the first three district medals in the history of the girls program Friday and Saturday in the Class 1 District 1 tournament at St. Clair.
Allison Meyer, wrestling in the 116-pound division, became the first district champion for the program. Mia Reed (110 pounds) became the program’s first state qualifier with a win in the tournament’s semifinals, a feat which Meyer also achieved just two matches later on the same mat.
The state tournament will take place Feb. 14-16 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
“Once you get to high school, everybody talks about how they want to leave their mark,” Meyer said. “To know that this is the way we’re leaving our mark, it’s just cool seeing it happen before our eyes.”
Meyer and Reed went through parallel paths to reach the district championship match in their weight class. Both were the No. 2 seeded wrestler in their division and both found themselves facing a top-seeded opponent for the championship.
Meyer won two matches the first night, pinning Union’s Kristina Wilson in 28 seconds and Lafayette’s Tajirisha Israel-Cazembe in 1:41.
Reed received a first-round bye and then pinned Kirsten Klein (Festus) in 1:19.
That put both wrestlers in the semifinals Saturday morning where Reed was the first of the two on the mat and pinned Windsor’s Reilly Baughman in 1:26 to advance to the finals.
Meyer had to wait out the first semifinal in her weight class before she too qualified for the state tournament with a pin in 2:51 over Sikeston’s Kate Grubbs.
“I say great effort and performance by them all and I am very proud of the foundation that they have set now for this girls program,” Washington Head Coach Josh Ohm said. “I have no doubt that these young ladies will continue to make history in Columbia.”
That left both Meyer and Reed with just one match left to determine the district champions and runners-up in their divisions.
Meyer found herself facing Lillian Wallis (Rockwood Summit), who entered the tournament with a 17-3 record and also won each of her first three tournament matches by pin.
The championship match took a rough turn for Meyer in the first round when she lost her footing and crashed to the mat. Wallis was able to use that misfortune to score a takedown, but wasn’t able to keep control for long.
Without reversing positions, Meyer was still able to hold onto Wallis’ left arm and leg and push Wallis onto her back. Meyer held Wallis down for the pin all with her back turned to her opponent. Total time of the match was 1:16.
“I didn’t think I pinned her at first because I originally fell and she just tackled me,” Meyer said. “I rolled on top of her and it was a pin. It really didn’t resonate until I looked at Coach Ohm and he said ‘Stand up, you won.’ It was just really crazy because everyone went wild and I was kind of clueless. They were all cheering for me and I felt very behind on my own thing. It was very strange.”
Reed faced St. James’ Kaylynn Crocker in the 100-pound finals. It was the second meeting between the two this season. Crocker entered the tournament as the No. 2 ranked 110-pound wrestler in the state, according to missouriwrestling.com. Reed is ranked fifth.
Crocker won the first meeting, at the Wonder Woman Tournament at Battle High School in Columbia on Jan. 5, by a first-round pin. Saturday, Crocker opened up an 8-0 lead, but Reed was able to score a takedown in the third period and make Crocker play defense to hold on for the 8-2 decision.
“I’m just really impressed (by my progress) because the first time she kind of demolished me in the first round,” Reed said. “I made it all three rounds (Saturday) and I was really proud of how I did that and now I know what more I need to improve on so that I’m ready for state.”
Teammate McKenna Deckelman (126 pounds) joined Meyer and Reed in making the medal stand at the district tournament. Deckelman placed fourth in her weight class to earn medalist honors. However, MSHSAA’s rules for the first year of the new sport allowed only three wrestlers from each division to advance to the state tournament.
“It was kind of disappointing to be fourth and not get to go third, but to be a medalist is still pretty exciting,” Deckelman said.
The girls program started this year with only one experienced wrestler on the roster — Reed. A sophomore this season, Reed spent her freshman year wrestling on the boys team.
“Mia is pretty much a mentor to our entire girls team since she wrestled against boys last year and that she has been dominant this year,” Ohm said. “She has four losses and they are all to the No. 1 and 2 ranked girls in the state. One is ranked nationally.”
Washington’s trio of medalists said being the first in the new sport at the school has put them into the position of role models for those interested in joining the team moving forward.
“It really means a lot to us because they started over the summer and we’ve all worked really hard,” Reed said. “Now, all of our hard work has paid off and it’s a really nice feeling.”
Members of the boys teams will try to earn their way to the state tournament this coming weekend. Both the boys and girls state tournaments will take place during the same three-day period in Columbia.