Victory in one of their next two bouts Saturday would send Wheeler, Valdez, Sewell, Keithley, Jones, Callen, Burton, Boyles on to state. Injury shelves Brose

EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, Mo. — Eight members of the Chillicothe High School wrestling Hornets are one win each away from advancement to next week’s Class 2 state tournament as a result of first-night action in the District 4 Tournament at Excelsior Springs High School.
In addition to those eight – all of whom are in the championship semifinals heading into Saturday’s second and final day of district competition, four others still have a chance to place in the top four and thus qualify for state. Each of them will need to win their next two bouts to do so.
Two of CHS’ 14 district entrants were eliminated Friday, one because of injury that prevented him from competing.
The eight Hornets who are in the tourney’s championship semifinals are senior Zack Boyles at 120 pounds, senior Kayde Burton at 182, junior Matt Callen at 195, junior Lavery Jones at 132, freshman Connor Keithley at113, junior Keegan Valdez at 285, and sophomore Dawson Wheeler at 152.
In each of their cases, a victory in either of the first two bouts Saturday will punch their ticket to Columbia and the state tourney next Thursday through Saturday.
Of the eight, most wrestled only once Friday and won after having a first-round bye. The exceptions were Jones and Callen, each of whom had to win on the mat twice and did so, and Keithley, who ended up with two byes in the sparsely-populated (six entries) 113-pounds division.
Chillicotheans needing two consolation-bracket (wrestleback) triumphs in succession at the start of their respective action are freshman Donald McCracken at 160 pounds, sophomore Kaleb Mullkin at 145, freshman Sheldon Rader at 106, and sophomore Isaac Washburn at 170.
Three of those four seem to have tough sledding to get both required victories as they lost the only bout they wrestled on Friday.
Having their seasons end Friday were senior Erek Brose and freshman Donald Hoel. After an initial bye in the 138-pounds division, Hoel was defeated twice in a row. Brose, a state qualifier a year ago, tried to give it a go after suffering an injury during last weekend’s tournament at Oak Grove, but had to default twice after having a first-round bye in the 220-pounds class.
After sending 11 of their 12 district entrants to state last year, the Hornets, with 14 entries this time, still could match or exceed that raw total. By the same token, they’ve already had more fall short than in 2017.
While all eight CHS championship semifinalists figure to stand a better-than-average chance of extending their season through next week, the best chance belongs to Burton, as expected.
The team’s leader in wins and a third-place medalist at state at the same weight a year ago, he is the top seed in the 182-pounds division in District 4. He’ll open Saturday’s action facing a Cameron foe whose season record is only four wins above .500. Burton pinned his lone Friday foe in 32 seconds.
Callen’s pair of triumphs on day one of the tournament both were by decisions, while Jones’ triumphs were by falls – the first in 49 seconds and then at 2:57.
Seeking his second trip to state and a second medal there, Sewell followed up his opening-round by with a 16-1 technical-fall victory in the quarterfinals.
Boyles and Valdez both pinned their quarterfinal opponent after receiving byes.
Wheeler delivered possibly the most satisfying Hornets win of Friday when, in the championship quarterfinals, he decisioned a St. Joseph: Lafayette foe with a much-better record by a 10-8 score.
The toughest loss any Chillicothean had Friday was Washburn’s 5-3 setback after having a first-round bye. He rebounded well with a 14-0 major decision in his first “wrestleback” bout.