The Mehlville Senior High School wrestling team tied for 18th overall with 28 points and had one wrestler medal at the Class 4 state championships.
“I thought that we did OK. We had some tough draws in the first rounds, but the kids wrestled tough,” said Mehlville head coach Brian Brennan, who believes last weekend’s trip to Columbia will provide some much-needed experience for next season.
“For some of them, this was a rude awakening,” he said. “They can realize that: Yeah, I’m good, but I’ve got a long way to go.”
Mehlville’s lone medalist was junior Nick Lauer, who took third place at 140 pounds.
He started the tournament with a win by fall over Chad Gray of Raymore-Peculiar at the 3:02 mark.
Lauer then dropped an 18-11 decision to Eddie Rodgers of Francis Howell Central.
The loss moved Lauer to wrestlebacks, and he grabbed a win by fall over Jay Warren of Hazelwood East at 4:34. Lauer won the wrestleback semifinal over Jeff Shell of Francis Howell North on a 7-6 decision before capturing third place overall with a 13-11 win over R.J. McCravy of Fort Zumwalt West.
“I think that the biggest key against McCravy was that we were able to throw him to his back and take a 5-0 lead,” Brennan said. “He then was able to get a key takedown in the second period to go up 8-2. It was pretty close at the end, but we’re really excited about him taking third.”
At 103 pounds, Mehlville sophomore A.J. Harvatin took a tough draw in the first round, losing by fall to eventual state champion Alan Waters of Park Hill at the 3:38 mark. Harvatin again drew a tough match in the first round of wrestlebacks, dropping a 12-5 decision to Will Evans of Rock Bridge.
“Things started out rough for A.J. in that first match because he was down 5-0 about 40 seconds into the match,” Brennan said. “The exciting part about all of this for A.J. is that he’s only a sophomore. But he’s going to have to improve a lot on his feet for next year.”
Junior Nick Costa drew a similar fate at 119 pounds as he lost by fall to eventual medalist Luke Greco of Blue Springs at 2:29. Costa drew another medalist in wrestlebacks. Raymore-Peculiar’s Justin Forrest won by fall over Costa at 2:59.
“Greco is a tough kid that we had seen wrestle previously,” Brennan said. “We also knew that Forrest is pretty good and we were hoping for Nick to get in and get the score early on. But in the second period, Forrest kind of manhandled us. But there’s nothing for Nick to hang his head about because he lost to two pretty good kids that were both medalists.”
Mehlville’s Will Furlow opened the tournament at 130 pounds with a 6-5 loss to Jamison Glose of Francis Howell North. He bounced back with a 12-3 major decision over Phil Watson of Rockhurst and a 5-3 decision over Raymore-Peculiar’s Alex Tripaldi. But Furlow came one match away from medaling as he dropped a 3-0 decision to Jake Waterkotte of Northwest.
“Nobody had any expectation of him even getting out of districts. The two matches that he won, he was excellent on his feet,” Brennan said.
Max Muench of the Panthers started the tournament at 189 pounds with a loss by fall to Nick Bowman of Blue Springs at 1:32.
The junior rebounded with a win by fall over Chauncey Smith of Hazelwood Central at 1:31. Muench was eliminated with a 5-3 decision to eventual medalist Tommy Tuck of Fort Zumwalt West.
“I think that the first match was one of those where Max was intimidated, and that cost him,” Brennan said. “I thought we had a pretty good shot against Tuck, but unfortunately Tuck is pretty good and Max just couldn’t get inside on him.”
Mehlville heavyweight Eddie Fischer started the tournament on fire with a win by fall over Jorcel Davis of Hazelwood West at 5:13. But he dropped a quarterfinal match to eventual state medalist Elijah Madison of Oak Park by 14-2. He then struggled against Miles Lischer of Francis Howell Central by fall at 41 seconds.
“We knew that Elijah would be a handful, and I thought that we were going to do good against Lischer. But he got locked up with him and relaxed for just a few seconds, and Lischer turned things over on him,” Brennan said.