You only have one first.
The first ever girls wrestling district wrestling tournaments Friday and Saturday saw area wrestlers leave with three individual district championships and eight district medals. Wrestling in the Class 1 District 1 Tournament in St. Clair, Washington finished fourth, the highest of any area schools, with 74 points. St. James was fifth with 70 points.
Together, the Lady Jays and Lady Tigers accounted for the areas five state qualifiers. Only the top three individuals from each weight class advanced beyond the district level, though medals were awarded for first through fourth places.
Washington will be represented at the state tournament from Feb. 14-16 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia by the 116-pound district champion, Allison Meyer, and the 110-pound runner-up, Mia Reed. St. James had two individual district champions, Kailynn Crocker (110 pounds) and Heather Pankey (136), and one district runner-up, Emily Light (131).
Washington’s McKenna Deckelman (126), St. Clair’s Morgan Juergens (136) and Pacific’s Seattle Bowen (143) each earned a district medal for fourth place in their respective weight classes.
Lafayette clinched the district team championship with 121 points. Northwest was the second-place team at 99 points, followed by Ste. Genevieve with 75.
A total of 38 teams competed in the tournament. Pacific tied for 22nd with 19 points and St. Clair tied for 26th place after scoring 16 as a team. Union, Owensville and Sullivan did not earn any team points.
Meyer wrestled four opponents and won four times, all by pin. Meyer pinned Kristina Wilson (Union, 0:28), Tajirisha Isral-Cazembe (Lafayette, 1:41), Kate Grubbs (Sikeston, 2:51) and Lillian Wallis (Rockwood Summit, 1:16).
Reed received a bye into the quarterfinals before scoring pins against Kirsten Klein (Festus, 1:19) and Reilly Baughman (Windsor, 1:26).
Reed lost an 8-2 decision against Crocker in the 110-pound championship match.
“As far as the girls go it’s never enough,” Washington Head Coach Josh Ohm said. “We can’t count this weekend a complete success unless we get six through and that didn’t happen so we as a coaching staff will continue to work on ways to improve. Individually, 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.”
Deckelman won by pin against Lilith Weiss (Park Hills Central, 1:06) and Jalia Carmella (Windsor, 3:02) before taking a loss by pin late in the third round against Derriona Johnson (Lafayette) in the semifinals.
Deckelman recovered with a 17-6 major decision win against Sydney Ward (Webster Groves) in the consolation semifinals.
Northwest’s Emma Spencer was able to get the pin against Deckelman in the third-place match.
Elizabeth Brown (235) finished one win away from the medal stand, losing to Poplar Bluff’s Kaitlyn Pickard by pin in the consolation semifinals.
Brown picked up a victory by pin against Anna Reed of Eureka in just 21 seconds.
Macie Twine (Northwest) gave Brown her other loss of the tournament in the quarterfianl round via pin.
Courtney McEwen (167) picked up a 40-second win by pin against Sai Tokekar (Marquette).
Jaycee Foeller (De Soto) and Emma Johns (Ste. Genevieve) were responsible for McEwen’s two losses, both by pin.
Halaina O’Bryant started the tournament with a pin over Haven Sanders (Owensville) in 1:16.
Hannah O’Connor (Rolla) won by pin against O’Bryant in the quarterfinals and Naida Abdijanovic (Mehlville) eliminated O’Bryant by a 4-2 decision in the second round of wrestlebacks.
Bowen became the first girls wrestling medalist in the history of her school with her fourth-place finish.
Bowen pinned Cherei Jones (Sikeston, 3:28), Kayla Faust (Seckman, 2:18) and Amber Cage (Hillsboro, 3:59).
Against Cage in the consolation semifinal match, Bowen overcame a 12-5 deficit to secure the pin in the third round.
Bowen’s first loss came in the semifinals against Claira Wampler (Farmington) by a 7-2 decision. Rolla’s Hannah O’Connor scored a pin against Bowen in the third-place match.
“She was the No. 1 seed, so it was a bit of a disappointment,” Pacific Head Coach Rob Schimsa said. “She wrestled well, but just couldn’t get over the hump against the Rolla girl.”
Lana Todahl finished one win away from getting into the third-place match at 136 pounds.
Todahl scored a pin against Sullivan’s Julianna Graddy in 2:03 and took two decision losses in the tournament against Seraphina Blackman (Lafayette, 6-2) and St. Clair’s Juergens (4-1).
“She’s a first-year wrestler, just a freshman and I think she’s been bit by the wrestling bug a little bit now,” Schimsa said.
Leading the Lady Bulldogs in the tournament was Juergens’ fourth-place finish.
“Morgan was focused and driven all weekend,” St. Clair Head Coach Mel Hughes said. “She is already looking forward to the opportunity to compete at the collegiate level and will be exploring her options over the next several weeks.”
Juergens pinned Paige Earls (Poplar Bluff, 1:15) and won a 4-1 decision against Pacific’s Todahl in the consolation semifinals.
The first loss for Juergens came at the hands of Taylor Murphey (Northwest) by pin in the semifinals. Earls avenged the previous loss against Juergens by earning a pin in the third-place match.
Olivia Pratt (110 pounds) and Cassidy Shoemate (116) each earned a win in the tournament.
Pratt won an 11-9 decision against Josephine Madding (HIllsboro). She suffered a loss by pin against Reilly Baughman (Windsor) and lost a 6-4 decision to Cora Skaggs (Eureka).
Shoemate pinned Seckman’s Kaleigh Milligan in 42 seconds. Kate Grubbs (Sikeston) and Abigail Pesselato (Mehlville) each won by pin against Shoemate.
Emma Davis (121) was pinned by Summer Smith (Northwest) and Mikalyn Barciszewski (Hillsboro).
Josefin Andersson (126) took a pair of losses by pin against Sydney Ward (Webster Groves) and Northwest’s Spencer.
Elexis Wohlgemuth was pinned by Kayla Faust (Seckman) and Cherei Jones (Sikeston).
“Our coaching staff couldn’t be prouder of all our girls who committed to a sport none of them had done before this year,” Hughes said. “They all embraced the incredible amount of work it requires to be successful in the sport of wrestling. We were unable to qualify any of our wrestlers to the state championships but we saw a lot of fight and determination from every girl on our team.”
The Lady Wildcats were shut out in the tournament with team leader Serena Monroe sidelined with an injury.
Kristina Wilson (116) was pinned by Washington’s Meyer and Lindbergh’s Earthis Pascua.
Taylor Stroup (121) suffered losses by pin against Corrine McClure (Seckman) and Emily Liu (Wildwood).
Kylee Mobley (126) was covered by Jalia Carmello (Windsor) and Lilith Weiss (Park Hills Central).
Jasmyne Bradley (167) was pinned by Keigan Newhouse (Northwest) and was disqualified in the second round of wrestlebacks against Emma Johns (Ste. Genevieve).
The MSHSAA girls wrestling state tournament, starting on Valentine’s Day, will include the top three finishers from all four districts in Class 1, the lone class instituted in the sport’s inaugural season.
Thus, 12 wrestlers have qualified from each weight class, with the individual district champions in line to receive a first-round bye.