By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor
Thirteen Chillicothe High School wrestlers are penciled in to compete in this weekend’s Class 2 District 4 tournament which serves as the qualifier for the 2013 Missouri State High School Activities Association state tournament.
Led by 2012 state medalist Kyler Sewell and 2012-13 Midland Empire Conference champions Thaddeus Rinehart and Aaron Baker, the Hornets will join competitors from 13 other schools in pursuing the opportunity to go to state competition next week.
The other CHS Hornets expected to compete are Matt Scobee (103 pounds), Matt Shaffer (138), Cuba Wagner Chapman (145), Ethan Baker (152), Caleb Stull (160), Elliott Keller (170), Brent Schade (182), Luke Plummer (195), Vinson Moore (220), and Chance Holcer (285).
The action will take place at Excelsior Springs High School Friday night and Saturday. Tomorrow night’s session is slated to begin at 6 o’clock with Saturday’s wrestling to re-commence at 10 a.m.
The Hornets, in their first season under head coach Drew Passley, completed their regular season with 17 wins in 27 dual matches. That’s the most dual matches a CHS team has ever won in a season, although two of the three teams which had established the prior mark of 15 wins had significantly fewer matches.
Although a district tournament champion is crowned, it is based on points accumulation earned by how far individual members of that team advance through the tourney, not on any direct head-to-head team competition. Having a few wrestlers who do very well can build up a big points total for their “team,” even if the school doesn’t have any other entries or its other competitors fare poorly.
However, Chillicothe promisingly not only had a winning percentage of over 60 percent in its regular-season dual matches, it also posted a third-place team finish in the recent Midland Empire Conference Tournament, in which scoring was done much as it is in district and state action.
Last year’s Hornets had a tough weekend at district, advancing only one person – Sewell – to state after it had qualified at least three for each of the preceding nine years.
Once there, then-113-pounds freshman Sewell produced quality when there was no CHS quantity, winning four of six bouts to earn fifth place.