Chillicothe hosting district prep wrestling Saturday

Action to start at 10 a.m., continue through mid-afternoon at middle school

Paul Sturm
Chillicothe News
Luke Reynolds, 2020-21 Chillicothe High School wrestling Hornets sophomore, tries to find an advantage against a Savannah opponent in a home dual match Jan. 21. Reynolds, who eventually won the bout by pin, is expected to be CHS' 195-pounds entrant in Saturday's (Feb. 13) Class 2 District 7 Tournament at the Chillicothe Middle School fieldhouse.

By PAUL STURM, C-T Sports Editor

For the first time in many years at least – and perhaps ever, Chillicothe High School is serving as host of a high school wrestling district tournament Saturday (Feb. 13).

The 2020-21 Class 2 District 7 Tournament will occur in the middle school fieldhouse. Bout action is slated to begin at 10 a.m. and continue through mid-to-late afternoon. Multiple mats will be used and, depending on the length of individual bouts and the total number of entries, it is possible the event will unfold ahead of the projected time schedule, Dan Nagel, Chillicothe High director of athletics and tournament director, notes.

Fan attendance is restricted and wearing of a mask is required at all times fans are in the building (fieldhouse itself or adjacent commons/concessions area). The entered wrestlers from each of the seven participating schools – Chillicothe, Oak Grove, Moberly, Kirksville, Odessa, Marshall and Boonville – were provided two tickets each for use by fans of their selection.

Gauge Chenet, seen completing a pin of an opponent during the Jan. 15-16 Chillicothe Invitational Tournament, is due to be one of seven freshman in the Class 2 District 7 Tournament lineup for the Chillicothe High School wrestling Hornets Saturday (Feb. 13).

Chillicothe head coach Chad Smith shared with the C-T on Thursday his projected lineup, which will have all 14 weight divisions covered.

Barring any last-minute changes necessitated by health issues, the Hornets are due to have these wrestlers compete (listed by weight class, from lightest to heaviest):

106 pounds – freshman Lane McCoy (32-9 record); 113 – senior Sheldon Rader (29-11); 120 – freshman Joel Edwards (15-19); 126 – freshman Logan Clark (12-18); 132 – freshman Justin Pyle (20-12); 138 – freshman Cayden Larson (20-23); 145 – sophomore Bryce Dominique; 152 – freshman Brody Cairns (33-13); 160 – freshman Gauge Chenet (10-18); 170 – sophomore Dawson Sutton (16-29); 182 – sophomore Brock Miller (28-9); 195 – sophomore Lucas Reynolds (27-12); 220 – junior Wade Horton (23-13); and 285 – junior Christian Peniston (23-11).

Of the caliber of competition his squad will face, Smith comments, “This district will be one of the toughest in the state, with several of the top (Class 2) programs being represented, (including) Oak Grove, Odessa, Kirksville, and Moberly.

“It will be tough, but our team is looking forward to the challenge! "

Given the stark youth of the CHS list of entries – half of them are freshmen and another four sophomores – and the quality of the opponents, it could be that high finishes (top two) will be scarce for the Hornets, who will have only two participants who don’t have double-digits losses on the season.

However, with a maximum of seven entries per weight and the top four finishers in each weight qualifying for the Feb. 27 state-qualifying sectional tournament, between the Hornets’ talent and simple mathematics, it would not be surprising to see half or more of the 14 CHS grapplers extend their season to at least the sectional level.

As a means of coping with the risks of the COVID-19 coronavirus, this year’s state-qualifying procedures were revised by the Missouri State High School Activities Association to re-introduce a sectional tournament as a way to lessen the number of schools and participants at any given location for district competition. Advancers from Saturday’s tournament in Chillicothe will move on to a sectional at Excelsior Springs, where they'll compete agains the four advancers from District 8.

The four sectional tourneys (per classification) will winnow the number of participants for the state tournament to three in each weight class, a change from the normal four. That also is a COVID-19-caused change, done so that, with only 12 qualifiers, each classification’s (Classes 1-4 plus the single-class girls’ competition) state tourney can be completed in one day.

The boys’ Class 2 state tourney is set for Thursday, March 11, at Independence’s Cable Dahmer Arena.

The girls’ state tournament will be at the same facility on Tuesday, March 9. Chillicothe currently has two juniors – Abby Clements and Karyna Ireland – awaiting their Feb. 20 sectional tournament at Platte City.