The Boonville Pirates wrestling team made the most of the opportunity considering the hand they were dealt at the start of the 2012-13 season.
While finishing 5-18 overall and 0-6 in the NCMC, the Pirate wrestlers had four sometimes five opens  in dual matches this past season.
“I thought we had a good season for the cards we were dealt,” stated head coach Christian Stock. “We had all those opens that really hurt us in the dual format.”
Of course it didn’t help that the North Central Missouri Conference was strong as usual this season. With over 40 wrestlers qualifiying for the state tournament and two teams finishing in the top 10 in Class 2 and one in the top 10 in Class 3, Stock said the NCMC is one of the toughest conferences in the state year in and year out.
In the final-team standings in the NCMC, Kirksville captured first with a perfect record of 6-0. Fulton, meanwhile, finished second at 5-1, followed by Moberly,  Mexico and Hannibal tied for third at 3-3, Marshall sixth at 1-5 and Boonville seventh at 0-6.
Stock said again it boils down to numbers.
“Most of the teams in the conference had full lineups and we did not,” Stock said. “I think there were two or three duals that we had this year if you would take the opens away we would have tied the other team in points scored or beaten them.
“For us to be competitive in the NCMC, we have to have a full lineup. Secondly, we have to have a competitive room. This means having wrestlers that are willing to push each other in the room harder than the opponents are going to that we face. When you look at Fulton for example, they qualified 10 to state and if you look at those 10 wrestlers, they were paired up and working in the room together. They push each other. The better your partner the better you will be. It’s hard to get that across to the kids, but it is what makes a good team.”
With lack of numbers, knowlege and experience this past season, Stock said one of the highlights was having senior Kyle Cook placing second at state. Stock said Cook is his first finalist as a head coach.
“I have gotten to work with Kyle for all four years of his high school career,” Stock said. “It was a great feeling to have one medal and the other wrestler finish one match away from medaling. I hope this is a building block for Andrew (Broyhill) and that he can take the leap like Kyle did this year.”
Of course the Pirate wrestlers also had their share of low points this season. Stock said he knew going into the season that there would be struggles all season long because of the low numbers on the varsity squad.
“We had a number of wrestlers wrestling at the same weight,” Stock said. “For the most part they were young kids so I am hoping that they will move around a little with their weight and spread through the lineups this next season.”
With nine of the 10 varsity wrestlers back next season and decent numbers coming up from the junior high, Stock said he hopes to keep adding to that number in the future.
“I hope to see the return of all the youth we had on the team this year,” Stock said. “We just have to keep building the foundation of fundamentals. It is really hard to start wrestling in high school and be successful. I am not saying it cannot be done but the knowledge base is so limited in that four year window.
“Wrestling is a game of action and reactions. You cannot think you have to react to what is happening to you on the mat. If you have to think a lot of times it is too late to react. This is why you need the mat time. We have a strong kids club and a steady coaching staff that is very knowledgeable. We also have a veteran coach at the junior high level. We need kids to get involved earlier and stay with it. Wrestling it not the sport for that person that wants to be the best the first match out. The knowledge has to be there as well.”
Stock said he already has plans for the wrestlers during the off-season. He said this summer the wrestlers will be doing some workouts and maybe going up to Missouri Valley College in Marshall and wrestling some in their open mat.
On an individual note this season, senior Kyle Cook led the Pirate wrestlers in six categories for most wins with 42, most three-point nearfalls with 29, most falls with 25, most major decisions with three (tied Andrew Broyhill), most takedowns with 82 and most two-point nearfalls with 16.
Junior Andrew Broyhill also led the team in two categories for most decisions with 11 and most escapes with 36. Austin Hulbert also tied Rory Concannon in two categories this season with most reversals with 12 and most penalty points with three. Brandon Ashpaugh led the team with most defaults with two while Halden Toomsen and Kyle Cook tie for the team-high in most forfeits with six.