Wrestlers ready for district tournament
FARMINGTON -- The road to state starts this weekend for the Sikeston wrestling team when the Bulldogs head to Farmington to take part in the Class 3, District 1 Tournament.
Starting Friday night and wrapping up Saturday, the Bulldogs will compete with the best grapplers from 15 other schools with the top four wrestlers in each weight class moving on to the state tournament.
"It's a very competitive district," Sikeston head coach Seth Harrell said. "Particularly when you talk about Rockwood Summit, Washington, Hillsboro, and Farmington.
"Those are all good schools and we definitely have our work cut out for us, however, I do feel like we have a pretty good lineup and I think we have a lot of guys that can do well this weekend."
Three Bulldogs in particular will enter this year's tournament with added motivation as Greg Smith, Jacob Stinnett and Cody Middleton all came within one win of making state at last year's district tournament.
Saying he's seen progress each time his boys step on the mat this season, Harrell thinks his team is hitting it's stride just at the right time.
"When you get to this point of the year, obviously want to see your team peaking and competing at the highest level," he said. "I really do think that's what our guys are doing. This last month of competition I thought we've done extremely well, more so in the wrestling room.
"We've really done a very good job of pushing each other and the leadership has been great. The kids are really working hard and you can see that they're all dedicated and they all want to win, that's for sure."
The one returning Bulldog to qualify for state last year is Blake Angle, who will once again compete in the 112-pound division. Angle was able to advance to state out of the division last year as a sophomore, but failed to place after taking sixth in state a year prior competing in a lower weight class.
"There's going to be some good, tough matches and tough kids that wrestle," Angle said of his division. "Everybody's fighting to get out because it's all a dog fight. State is just going to be an even bigger challenge because everybody there is about the same skill level and it's just who wants it more."
Angle added he hopes districts gives him a chance to avenge his one lost this year, which was to Farmington's Dakota Napoli.
"There's only one kid in the district that has beat me so far," he said of Napoli. "The match went into overtime and I'm pretty close with him. I didn't wrestle my match with him last time so I'm looking to be on the attack and wrestle my match against him (in districts)."