State berths elude Wright City, but experience is a plus this winter

By Tim Schmidt, Publisher
Posted 2/23/24

No Wright City Wildcat high school boys wrestlers qualified for the MSHSAA state tournament competition.

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State berths elude Wright City, but experience is a plus this winter


Though no Wright City boys wrestlers will be competing at this weekend’s state championships, it was not a lost season for the Wildcats.

Coach Fred Ross said his squad showed a bunch of improvement all year and that showed during last weekend’s Class 2, District 2 Tournament hosted by Boonville High School.

Four of the five Wright City wrestlers competing at districts won at least one match, and two grapplers — Joseph Beitel and Quincy Rice — finished one win shy of advancing to state.

Only the top four wrestlers in each bracket qualify for state.

Beitel, a sophomore, won a team-best two matches. Competing at 144 pounds, Beitel lost his first match, but rebounded by pinning Hallsville’s Preston Proskocil and Fulton’s James Dooley. He was eliminated in an 18-3 decision to Moberly’s Austen James.

Rice, another sophomore, also lost his opening match and followed with his lone win, a second-period pin of Elijah Thomas of MICDS, at 215 pounds.

Two other Wildcats earned one victory apiece, sandwiched around both of their two losses. At 138 pounds, junior Lane Graves’ lone win came in a pin of St. Charles West’s Keegan Maness. Junior Gavin McCord recorded a win with an 18-13 decision over Lutheran’s Zach Robertson at 165.

At 190 pounds, senior Cody Cushing lost both of his matches. He was pinned by Lutheran’s Calvin Gross and Marshall’s Tyler Brooks.

“We saw a lot of improvement throughout the season,” Ross said. “Lane Graves was the only person to have extensive varsity experience. The rest mainly wrestled JV. Gavin was a first-year wrestler who ended up winning a lot of matches at the varsity level. Beitel and Rice greatly improved and we also saw growth from Cody. Unfortunately Lane just battled injury and illness throughout the season, so he was unable to rebound like we expected from last year.”

Ross is hopeful that this year’s experience and the addition of more wrestlers will lead to a better showing next winter.

“We look for everyone to work hard in the offseason and build off this year,” he said. “Hopefully we can attract some other athletes in the school who want to work hard and become better athletes to join this group of dedicated wrestlers.”

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