The past weekend was a successful one for the Marceline and Brookfield boys' wrestling teams. The Tigers and Bulldogs competed in the Class 1 District 3 tournament hosted by Lafayette County in Higginsville, and Marceline walked away as district champ.
The Tigers will be sending nine wrestlers to the state tournament in Columbia this weekend, and Brookfield will be sending six.
"I knew that if we controlled what we could control, we'd be in great shape," Marceline coach Austin Bruner said. "I thought everybody's mentality was in a great place, and that's really what we wanted to focus on coming into districts. This week in practice, it's about being prepared mentally and not losing any shape. We're going to stress going one period at a time and scoring the next point in every match. We're not focused on what happens by Saturday night, and we're not looking past anybody."
Three of Saturday's championship matches featured both a Bulldog and a Tiger. In the 113-pound first-place match, Marceline's Cooper Fisher defeated Brookfield's Jaden Abongo by first-period pin fall. Brookfield's Donavan Parn pinned Marceline's Colton Fisher in the second period of the 126-pound championship, and Marceline's Seth Cupp took first place by defeating Bulldog Brandon Delana by 11-4 decision.
Marceline's Clayton Stallo at 145 pounds, Cullen Bruner at 152, and Hunter Nelson at 160 also won their respective brackets and claimed district championships. Colton Nelson advanced with a second-place finish at 132 pounds, as did Jace Bixenman at 106. Mason Barnett advances to the state tournament with a third-place finish at 138 pounds.
Alongside Parn, Brooks Baker claimed a district championship for Brookfield at 285 pounds with a 1-0 victory by decision in the first-place match against his Father Tolton opponent. Quinn Gladbach finished third at 120 pounds, as did Dawson Baker at 170.
Brookfield coach Drew Passley said that entering the third-place matches, although the wrestlers have already clinched a trip to Columbia, the battle for better seeding becomes crucial.
"I always tell those guys, Quinn and Dawson in this case, you've qualified and that's great, but let's build on that," Passley said. "The difference between being on the bottom of the state bracket and being in the middle is massive. You've reached a goal, but let's get greedy here, and they did a great job of that.
"We had so many good matches this weekend, and having contested matches like that gives us a taste of what we'll see in Columbia. The guys who didn't get to go on showed a lot of grit and I couldn't ask for more. Sometimes, we gave up a little bit more than we want to, and that led to a few too many points. Compared to earlier in the year, we've gotten better at stopping the bleeding. We're wrestling very smart, and I'm proud of the growth a lot of these kids have made this season."
State action begins Thursday morning and continues through Saturday night.