ST. PETERS, Mo. — Winter weather knocked out any semblance of preparation for the Hannibal wrestling team heading into Saturday’s Class 3 District 4 meet at Ft. Zumwalt South.
The Pirates were only able to practice once in the five days leading up to the district meet, but what little preparation they were able to do worked because eight of the 11 wrestlers Hannibal took are moving on to the sectional round.
“It was kind of a difficult week with the snow and the distractions and not being able to practice a lot. For that, I am pretty happy with how we competed,” Pirates coach Jacob Borgmeyer said. “Taking eight out of 11, that’s not too bad.”
Hannibal junior Trevor Wilson set the tone with his performance in the 170-pound bracket. The Class 3 state runner-up from a season ago started his postseason strong with two victories via first-period pin to win the 170 district title and move onto the sectional meet on Feb. 27 with a 26-1 record.
Borgmeyer expects Wilson to come through on the mat, but with seven freshmen in the 11-man lineup for the Pirates this season Borgmeyer has relied on Wilson for more than just points on the team score.
“We actually had a conversation today at districts talking with Trevor to some of the freshmen about the process going forward,” Borgmeyer said. “Obviously its going to be different this year so he’s new to him as well, but just the process of keeping your composure throughout the whole series and staying focused and working hard, making sure our bodies are ready to go for the next event.”
Two other Pirates came away with their brackets, as Tristen Essig won the 113 championship and Chad Culp was victorious at 120. Essig started off with a 15-0 technical fall over Charles Morgan from Hazelwood East in the semifinals, then he pinned Brendan Kelly from Wentzville Liberty in the first period. Culp started his day with a first-period pin of Nick Baker from Ft. Zumwalt South in the semifinals, then defeated Wentzville Liberty’s Aidan Kelly by an 8-0 major decision.
“Tristen was an absolute beast today, just taking people down and turning them. He did very well,” Borgmeyer said. “Chad was a little slower start, especially on his feet, but we got in the groove and he wrestled really well as well.”
Reign Creech at 106, Koen Ramage at 138 and Gavin Morawitz at 160 all reached the finals in their brackets as well and took second on the day. Brady Zimmerman won the 220 consolation bracket and place third, while Ashton Braden at 195 made the consolation finals to also secure his spot in the sectional meet.
“All around, those guys that made it wrestled really well today given the week that we had,” Borgmeyer said. “Nothing to really complain about.”
Now the Pirates have two weeks to prepare for the sectional meet, where only the top three placers will earn a spot in the state meet. Borgmeyer will once again rely on leaders like Wilson and Morawitz to set the tone in the wrestling room for the rest of the team as the postseason rolls on.
“There’s a little switch in our mentality at practice from now on,” Borgmeyer said. “They know its more of a serious time... Now they get to impart that to the younger guys.”