For Boonville senior Kyle Cook, the next step at the state tournament today at Mizzou Arena will be his last.
While qualifying for the state tournament last year as a junior, Cook will enter the opening round against Sumner’s Marvin Brown, 25-6, as the heavy favorite in the 220-pound weight class.
Although Cook finished second last weekend at the Class 2 District 3 Tournament in Clinton, the senior grappler said he is just going to go out and wrestle and have fun. “I just want to medal,” Cook said. “I just want to go out and do my best and have no worries.”
At 39-4 on the season, Cook has had few worries against opponents this year. Along with leading the team with the best record for the season, Cook also ranks first in five other categories with 75 takedowns, 28 three-point nearfalls, 23 falls, 15 two-point nearfalls and three major decisions.
Boonville Pirates wrestling coach Christian Stock said it was pretty much expected of Cook to get back to state.
“We set that last year and knew we wanted to be back at state,” Stock said. “We wanted to shake off the first-year jitters. Going to state is a big deal and I think the way things ended up last year left a bad taste in Cookie’s mouth. He’s set his mind on getting back and has wrestled really well this season. He had a couple of hiccups this season but losing is not always bad. Sometimes it teaches a lesson and you learn what you need to improve on. I like where he is sitting and I like his position. We are not going to look past anybody by any means but he has the mindset that he wants to be the best in the state.”
As for junior Andrew Broyhill, he is just glad to be back on the mat after sitting all of last year with a series of concussions.
Although Broyhill entered the district tournament last week as the No. 3 seed, the junior grappler knocked off both the No. 1 and 2 seeds to win the title in the 152-pound weight class.
Broyhill, 34-9 on the season, will face Mexico’s Samuel Fayad, 25-21, in the opening round on Thursday. In their only meeting this season, Broyhill won a close decision against Fayad 7-5.
Broyhill said he is going to go in and wrestle like he normally does and just take it one match at a time and don’t over think it. “Right now I am not even nervous I am not even thinking about it,” Broyhill said. “I am just thinking of it as another tournament. I just want to go in there confident and not cocky.”
As the No. 2 wrestler behind Cook for most wins in the season with 34, Broyhill is all alone when it comes to most escapes on the season with 33. He also ranks second for most falls with 18 and most two-point nearfalls with 11.  
Stock said looking back he didn’t really know what Broyhill was going to be like this year because he didn’t wrestle last year because of injuries.
“Andrew has came in to fill a spot this year and has done really, really well,” Stock said. “He was fairly successful as a freshman and then came in as junior without even wrestling at all as a sophomore and done really well for us. He beat a couple of kids in districts and I think people were like who is this kid, but he put himself in a good position against a kid he has already beaten once. We will have to work our tail off to get that done again. With Fayad we know what we are up against but with Cook we don’t know much about him.”
Stock said he also likes both draws for the opening round. Stock said he expects Broyhill to beat Fayad in the first round and then he will face Evan Young of Odessa in the second round on Friday.
“Evan is at the top of the state right now and he is a very good wrestler, so we will have our work cut out there,” Stock said. “We have wrestled some very highly ranked kids and some technical kids so one shot, one takedown and one escape makes all the difference in the match and Andrew wrestles those type of matches all the time.
“Cookie’s draw looks real good. We have seen almost every kid on our side of the bracket except the first one. We know where we stand against them and we know where we need to improve against them. I am pleased where he is sitting and I think we have a really good opportunity to do well here.”
The North Central Missouri Conference will also have its share of wrestlers competing at the state tournament in Class 2 and 3. With 42 state qualifiers total, the Fulton Hornets will send 10 grapplers to the tournament. Kirksville will have eight state qualifiers, followed by Mexico with seven, Moberly six, Hannibal five, Marshall four and Boonville with two.