The Lindbergh High School wrestling team anticipates a strong showing at the 2007 state championships as six grapplers advanced from the Class 4, District 1 Tournament last weekend.
Lindbergh head coach Josh Hansel hoped to send six wrestlers to Columbia for the state championships and was pleased with his team’s results.
“Coming in, I thought we had a pretty good shot at getting six in and we actually got six in,” Hansel said. “So I should be pretty happy.”
Hansel was disappointed, though, with the near-fatal blow his team took Friday evening when senior Brett Buettner (145 pounds) failed to make weight. Buettner took fourth at state last season, and the Flyers head coach believed that the senior could medal again at state this year.
“I wish I knew what happened,” Hansel said. “It’s a situation where I didn’t check him before and, in hindsight, that was my mistake. Usually, I don’t harp on my seniors about their weight because I trust them.”
Yet the Flyers didn’t let the bad news get to them as senior Brock Summers won the districts championship at 103 pounds. Summers (39-5) will take on A.J. Gassman (19-14) of Rockhurst in the first round of the state tournament.
“Brock looked great,” Hansel said. “He did what we hoped a lot of our guys would have done. He was all business all weekend.”
Senior Tim Irving (32-11) captured second place at 119 pounds at districts for the Flyers. He’ll face Jacob Thornton (36-6) of Hickman today — Feb. 15.
“Tim was seeded second and placed second,” Hansel said. “He ended up running into a really good kid in the finals.”
Lindbergh’s Jesse Cain (34-10) grabbed third place at 130 pounds after suffering an upset in the district quarterfinals. Cain will take the mat against Ja Marquis Harris (31-3) of Riverview in the first round at state.
“Jesse was a second seed that got upset in the quarterfinals,” Hansel said. “To his credit, he responded really well and won the third-place match 7-0.”
Senior Pat McKenna (35-5) placed third at districts at 135 pounds and will face Rock Bridge’s Taylor Crane (36-1) in the first round at state.
“Pat was in one of two really tough brackets, so we knew he was going to have to beat somebody good in order to get to state,” Hansel said. “I think he did his job pretty well at districts.”
Lindbergh’s James Bearden (34-8) qualified for the state tournament with a fourth-place finish in the district at 152 pounds.
Bearden suffered a concussion in wrestlebacks, and actually defaulted in the third-place match. He’s slated to take on Brian Oechsner (21-2) of Troy at state.
“James was in the other ridiculously tough bracket,” Hansel said. “He worked his tail off to come back through wrestlebacks and we’re hoping to get him healthy now for state.”
Lindbergh’s sixth wrestler to make it to the state championships is senior Nick Higgs, who took third at districts last weekend at 160 pounds. Higgs (32-12) will take the mat against Robbie Hicklin (25-3) of Park Hill in the first round of the state tournament.
“Nick was a No. 1 seed, and I honestly wasn’t that worried about him,” Hansel said. “I think that him being the No. 1 seed kind of caught up to him.”