A quartet of Palmyra wrestlers advanced to the Class 1 state championships in just the second season of the program.
It’s no secret Ross Arch has experienced a stellar season on the mats this winter for the Palmyra wrestling team.
The Panther freshman only has one blemish on his record this season — a 5-2 loss to Class 2 No. 2-ranked Dillon Nichols of Mexico.
But more times than not, Arch has had to celebrate alone as the only Panther champion.
Not this week.
Arch will have three of his teammates by his side during the Class 1 state championships at Mizzou Arena.
Kaden Crane, Peyton Timbrook and Connor Roberts joined Arch in qualifying for the state meet by placing in the top four of their respective weight classes Saturday in the Class 1 District 1 Tournament at Whitfield.
“It’s truly a dream come true that we have four kids going to state this week,” Arch said. “Considering we are only in our second year for the program, it is huge.”
Arch breezed through the competition at the district level.
The No. 3-ranked wrestler, who is now 35-1 on the season, started the tournament with a 48-second pin and a 15-0 technical fall to reach the 138-pound finals.
In the championship match, Brentwood’s Chase Lynch didn’t provide much resistance for Arch, as the Panther freshman won the district title with a first-period pin.
“It feels good (to be a district champion), but I think I could have done better,” the modest wrestler stated.
Crane, Timbrook and Roberts all advanced to the championship match but could not come away with titles.
Crane advanced with an 8-5 win in the 106-pound semifinals. In the championship match, Crane lost to No. 2-ranked Logan Ferrero of Whitfield in a first-period pin.
The loss dropped Crane’s record to 33-12 on the year.
At 152, Timbrook picked up a win in the quarterfinals with a second-period pin before advancing with a 4-2 decision in the semifinals.
Timbrook lost to Whitfield’s Matt Schueddig in the finals by pin.
The Palmyra freshman, who missed half of the season due to injuries, is now 11-9 on the season.
“He came to wrestle and did just that,” Panthers coach Josh Buatte said of his injury-riddled wrestler. “He continued to work hard all season and it paid off today.”
For Roberts, the 160-pounder will be making his second straight state championship appearance.
The sophomore picked up a win by pin in the quarterfinals before winning a tough 4-2 decision in the semifinals.
Roberts fell in the first period to Whitfield's Ethan Hovis in the championship match. Hovis is an honorable mention selection in the latest Class 1 rankings.
A trio of other Panther grapplers fell just short of making the state championships.
Heather Risley dropped a 5-0 decision in the consolation semifinals at 113. The sophomore finished with a 9-17 mark on the year.
Boyd Triplett lost 8-3 in the consolation semifinals at 126 to finish his season with an 11-12 record, while Grayson Stevens (132) also fell one win shy of advancing. Stevens finished his season with a 23-19 record.
Dylan Redd (145) and Weston King (195) also wrestled but both went 0-2.
Buatte mentioned although it would have been nice to take seven wrestlers to the state meet, having four move on is still quite the accomplishment for the young program.
“The team wrestled really well this weekend, from top to bottom,” the Panthers coach said. “Having four kids make it to state is a good feeling, obviously you want more and three of them barely missed. But having the four in the finals at districts is a good feeling, especially for the future of this program.”
Last season, in the program's start-up year at the varsity level, Roberts was the only Panther to qualify.
“It feels amazing to make it to state and have four of us going,” Crane said. “And it must feel good for coach as well going from having one barely make it last year to have four make it this year and three of us being freshmen.”
The state championships will commence on Thursday inside Mizzou Arena on the campus of the University of Missouri.