After strong showing at district tourney, Mehlville sends six wrestlers to state


Ask someone who follows Mehlville Senior High School wrestling when the Panthers last placed in the top four at state and you easily could receive some blank stares.

But those who have followed Mehlville wrestling over the years will recall 1960.

That’s when Mehlville High, under head coach Mike McCarty, defeated Riverview Gardens 42-37 to win the state championship.

Today’s Panthers may not be able to match those accomplishments from 47 years ago, but they hope to carve their own niche in Mehlville wrestling history with six grapplers making the trek today — Feb. 15 — to the Class 4 state championships in Columbia.

Mehlville qualified six wrestlers to the state championships after a strong showing at the Class 4, District 1 Tournament last weekend.

“I don’t know the last time we sent six to the state tournament,” Mehlville head coach Brian Brennan told the Call. “To go from one qualifier last year to six this year is just an incredible turnaround.”

One contrast to past teams, Brennan said, is the confidence his wrestlers display today.

“The confidence that these kids have, you could see it build all year long,” Brennan said. “This is a bittersweet moment for us in that we qualified six wrestlers, but only one of them is a senior. I would have liked to see more of our seniors make it be-cause they’re the ones that stuck with the program in the down times.”

Mehlville’s lone senior to qualify for state is Eddie Fischer, a heavyweight, who took third place at the district championships. Fischer (40-5) is slated to take on Jorcel Davis (33-5) of Hazelwood West today.

“Eddie has just done a terrific job this year,” Brennan said. “He got the No. 1 seed and made a mistake against a kid (Derrick Ingram) from Parkway South. But he came back and beat his arch-nemesis from Kirkwood in overtime.”

Sophomore A.J. Harvatin (38-8) will represent the Panthers at 103 pounds after taking fourth place at the district tournament. He’ll face Alan Waters (40-2) of Park Hill in the first round of the state tournament.

“A.J. is another one of those kids that did a lot of work in the off-season,” Brennan said. “He’s earned every bit of where he is today.”

Junior Nick Costa (25-20) grabbed fourth place at 119 pounds after starting the district tournament with a loss. Costa is paired against Luke Greco (33-14) of Blue Springs in the first round at state.

“Nick started off the first match of districts a little sluggish and had to come back the hard way,” Brennan said. “He got himself together and had a couple of good, tough matches.”

But the biggest surprise for the Panthers was junior Will Furlow (21-20), who took second place at 130 pounds. Furlow’s first-round match at state will be against Jamison Glose (20-15) of Francis Howell North.

“What a real pleasant surprise,” Brennan said. “Will came out and wrestled tremendously. He wrestled very smart this weekend.”

Mehlville’s lone win of the district tournament came from junior Nick Lauer (35-2) at 140 pounds. Lauer will take on Chad Gray (30-10) of Raymore-Peculiar in the first round at state.

“Nick’s been fantastic all year long and only lost two matches this season,” Brennan said. “He’s a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Junior Max Muench (33-9) qualified for the state championships at 189 pounds with a fourth-place finish at districts.

Muench is scheduled to face Nick Bowman (37-10) of Blue Springs in the first round of the tournament.

“Max is a pretty strong kid that tends to put himself in good positions,” Brennan said. “I was really pleased with what he was able to do at districts.”