Three Wright City grapplers qualify for state tourney

John Rohlf, Sports Editor
Posted 2/15/23

Wright City wrestler Caelyn Hanff won her first district title and earned her second trip to the Missouri wrestling state tournament with a perfect 4-0 record at last week’s district wrestling …

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Three Wright City grapplers qualify for state tourney

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Wright City wrestler Caelyn Hanff won her first district title and earned her second trip to the Missouri wrestling state tournament with a perfect 4-0 record at last week’s district wrestling meet. 

The sophomore won all four of her matches by fall in the 170-pound weight class at the Class 1, District 2 tournament at North Point High School. She beat Madisynn Crawford of Kirksville in the semifinals to clinch a state tournament berth. She pinned Carly Foster of Fulton in 1:35 in the championship match to win the district title. 

“Yesterday (Friday) was a little rough. I drank too much Monster and it just knocked me out,” Hanff said. “But I got through the matches. I think it went pretty good today (Saturday). I thought that match was going to be a lot harder.” 

Hanff also qualified for state last year when she competed for Warrenton High School. She noted the format change for the district tournament, with girls wrestling splitting into two classes. Despite the change, she thought the district tournament was more intense this year. 

“This year, I felt like it was supposed to be less intense,” Hanff said. “But it was actually more intense this year for some reason. I don’t know if it was the team thing. But I did feel a little more prepared this year.” 

Hanff thinks her experience competing at the state tournament last season will help with the anxiety of competing at the state level. She now knows what to expect when she competes at state next week.  

Kali Jensen and Ella Greenwell Washburn also qualified for state for the Lady Wildcats. Jensen went 3-1 over the course of the two-day district tournament and placed second in the 115-pound weight class. Greenwell Washburn won three matches and placed third in the 235-pound weight class. 

“They wrestled really well,” Wright City girls wrestling coach Fred Ross said. “Caelyn was the number one seed and did what she was supposed to do. Jensen did a really good job being a freshman as well. First year as a high school wrestler. Lost to the girl in the finals but had to beat some good girls to get there. And Ella was kind of the surprise. As the fifth seed, ended up finishing third. She was a dark horse and really did well.”

Jensen won her first three matches of the tournament. She pinned Anna Ragar of Palmyra in 2:22 in the semifinals to ensure a spot in the state tournament. The freshman lost to Callie Bergthold of Southern Boone in the championship match. 

“It could have gone better but as a freshman, I do have a lot to learn,” Jensen said  “I was just informed that she was a returning state placer so I’m not mad. She was really strong and that’s just something that I struggle with is upper body strength. Could have gone better. However, she’s definitely somebody to strive to beat.”

Trailing 5-0 in her consolation semifinal match with a trip to state on the line, Greenwell Washburn pinned Besan Juma of Centralia in the second period to earn a spot in the state tournament in the 235-pound weight class. Greenwell Washburn won her third place match by disqualification. 

“We talk about the moments,” Ross said. “Wrestling’s one of the few sports that it only takes a few moments to turn the tide. That’s what we’ve been preaching with a lot of our girls. We had I think three matches this week that went our way that way. We had a couple that didn’t go our way in the last seconds.”

Three Wright City wrestlers were one win away from advancing to the state tournament. Junior Elizabeth Riggs, who competed at the state tournament last season, lost in overtime in her consolation semifinal match. Riggs won a pair of matches Feb. 10 to advance to the semifinals in the 125-pound weight class. She lost her championship semifinal and consolation semifinal matches. Freshman Samantha Yates won her quarterfinal match to advance to the semifinals of the 105-pound weight class. She lost her championship semifinal and consolation semifinal matches on major decisions. 

Lauren Ritter earned a pair of wins in the consolation bracket before falling in the consolation semifinals. Ritter beat Ava Purvis of Jefferson City on an 8-4 decision during her first match of the day Saturday in the consolation bracket. Ritter earned the win by outscoring Purvis 5-1 in the final period. Ritter pinned Kaliyah Broner of St. Charles West to advance to the consolation semifinals. 

Eight Wright City wrestlers won at least one match at the district tournament. Wright City finished the tournament with 110 team points. They finished fifth as a team. 

The Class 1 Missouri State Girls Wrestling Tournament will be held Feb. 22 and Feb. 23 in Columbia.


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