Whitfield is the reigning Class 1 state wrestling champions and with 10 athletes qualifying, the Warriors are poised to grab another crown.
The 86th MSHSAA Wrestling Championships begin Thursday (Feb. 18) at Mizzou Arena.
It costs $8 per session to attend. Action begins at 10 a.m. with first-round action in Class 1 and Class 2. At 5 p.m., first-round action for Class 3 and 4 begins.
On Friday, Class 1 and 2 quarterfinals begin at 9:30 a.m. Quarterfinals for Class 3 and 4 begin at 1:30 p.m. The evening sessions begin at 6 p.m.
On Saturday, wrestlebacks start at 10 a.m. At 4:30 p.m., championship matches begin.
Coach Charlie Sherertz said his squad has a good opportunity.
“I feel good about it,” Sherertz said about the Wildcats’ chances at state. “We’re in position to control our own destiny. We don’t need any help from anybody. Can the guys rise to the occasion? I think so.
“I don’t think they look at it as being under any kind of pressure. I’m sure they are a little nervous. When they’re on, they’re certainly on.”
With 10 Warriors qualifying from the recent District 1 meet at Whitfield, Sherertz said will lead a good contingent to state.
The question is, will it be enough?
I hope so,” Sherertz said. “I have a hard a time getting a read on these kids. We certainly got the talent. We lost a little cushion by losing (JR) Ditter. But we have the talent to do well at state.
“The question of whether we can get the performance at the state is one I think about. We got a group of young kids. They’re talented but they’re young. There’s really no margin for error.”
Sophomore JR Ditter won state last year at 113. He wrestled at 120 this year. He sustained a fractured elbow in the 50th annual Eric Lewis Invitational at MICDS last month.
The injury required surgery and cost Ditter the rest of the season.
He will be at state with his teammates, Sherertz said.
“He’s hanging in there. He’s kind of become an extra assistant coach,” Sherertz said. “He’s very technical. He’s one of our hardest workers. It’s been tough on him.
“When he heals he’ll hit the ground running. He’ll be going with us. He’s an inspirational for the other kids.”
Defending state champion Mike McAteer, a sophomore, is back. McAteer won at 106 pounds last year and is competing at 113 this year at state.
Returning state medalists include senior Kurtis Hahn (160),(sophomore) Max Darrah (220) and (junior) Dylan Shotwell (138).
That experience will be helpful at state.
“Everybody has to participate if we’re going to have success,” Sherertz said. “We’re going to have to seven or eight medals and four or five in the finals and really step up.
“It’s not beyond the realm of possibility. W don’t have to upset anybody or wrestle above our heads. We just have to show up and do what we’ve done all year.”
This is the time of the year Sherertz waits to come around. He’s looking forward to the state meet.
“I’m ready. If you aren’t, something’s wrong,” Sherertz said. “Every group has their own little quirks and own little things that make you pull your hair out but they make you interested in how they’ll fare.”
Here are the Whitfield wrestlers who will be competing at the state meet:
Wade Raeman, freshman, 106, 34-14
Mike McAteer, sophomore, 113, 40-5
Legend Alicea, freshman, 120, 24-17
Richard Jordan, junior, 126, 24-16
Ethan Hovis, freshman, 132, 20-31
Dylan Shotwell, junior, 138, 39-8
Zac Russell, freshman, 152, 37-16
Kurtis Hahn, senior, 160, 42-4
Noah Elmore, sophomore, 170, 39-10
Edward Hahn, sophomore, 182, 29-9
Max Darrah, sophomore, 220, 44-3