EXCELSIOR SPRINGS » A bit frustratingly-close to being much larger, Chllicothe High School's wrestling program had to settle for a baby step Saturday, in terms of expanding its representation in the state tournament.
Sophomore 2012 state medalist Kyler Sewell, last year's lone CHS qualifier, and freshman standout Aaron Baker each copped second place in the Class 2 District 4 tournament at Excelsior Springs High School Saturday, advancing them to the MSHSAA State Championships in Columbia this Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
Sewell, in the 120-pounds weight class, and A. Baker, at 132 pounds, will carry the red-and-black flag into state competition beginning at approximately 10:15-10:45 a.m. Thursday.
For want of a point or two twice, Sewell classmate Luke Plummer, could be going with them to compete. For want of one win, so could five others.
Having matched the two state qualifiers in advancing to the championship semifinals during Friday's opening night of district action, 195-pounder Plummer missed duplicating their advancement to the district title bout and assuring a trip to state when he was shaded by eventual champion Jacob Bohlken of Smithville 2-1 in an ultimate tiebreaker Saturday.
That left Plummer having to win one consolation/wrestleback bout to still finish in the top four and move on to state.
Unfortunately for the younger brother of 2011 CHS state third-place finisher Nick Plummer, fellow 10th grader Cole Stodhill of Odessa shaded him 3-2, leaving the younger Plummer on the outside looking in. Stodhill then won third place, also by a point, 1-0.
Five more Chillicothe grapplers – A. Baker's older brother Ethan at 152 pounds, Matt Shaffer at 138, Thaddeus Rinehart at 126, Cuba Wagner Chapman at 145, and Vinson Moore at 220 – also were eliminated one step from state.
Also competing at district for Chillicothe, but failing to reach beyond the consolation quarterfinals were junior Caleb Stull at 160 pounds, freshman Matt Scobee at 126, junior Elliot Keller at 170, sophomore Brent Schade at 182, and 10th grader Chance Holcer at 285 (heavyweight). Of those five, Stull and Holcer each managed to win one contested bout, both times by fall.
Chillicothe's 13-wrestlers contingent at district generated 84 "team" points, which earned CHS sixth place in the 13-school team standings, one point ahead of St. Joseph: Benton.
That is a marked improvement from a year ago when the Hornets produced only 25 points and were 12th.