Three members of the Boonville Pirates wrestling team will embark on the biggest matches of their careers Thursday through Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
With close to 900 wrestlers competing in four classes, Boonville wrestlers Joel Concannon, Gabe Rumbaoa and Charlie Pumel will represent the Pirates in Class 2 over the next-three days.
Boonville Pirates wrestling coach Christian Stock said having three wrestlers advance to state is excellent.
First-round action in Class 1 and 2 will begin Thursday at 10 a.m.
“Taking those three first-place seeds at district, you look at that and there is no guarantee that you are going to get three to state but that’s a pretty good indication that those guys have what it takes,” Stock said. “Those other two wrestlers, who didn’t make it, were seeded in the top four and one of them lost in double overtime and missed by one point. We had the opportunity to get four or five but three is definitely a great day.”
Stock said this is also his first time where he has taken three wrestlers to state. He said he has been part of a team when Newham took six and part of a team with Jeff Francis when he took 8-9 but that was in Class 1. “Newham was in Class 2 when we took six but it’s nice as a head coach to be able to take more than two wrestlers to state,” Stock said. “Hopefully things come out on top for those three.”
Concannon, 25-5 on the season, will wrestle Cape Girardeau Notre Dame’s Chris Greene, 18-16, in the opening round at state.
Stock said Concannon has a good draw in the first round.
“If Joel gets through the first round I think his quarterfinals match will be a tough match,” Stock said. “He is probably going to come up against Kayde Burton of Chillicothe. We haven’t wrestled him because he was up at 195 and Gerke ended up wrestling him so we haven’t seen him. Burton is a really solid wrestler so that’s going to be the match that kind of sets the pace for us.”
Although Concannon is coming off a high after placing first in the 182-pound weight class last weekend during the Class 2 District 3 Tournament in Clinton, he said he can’t take anybody for granted.
“All I know about my first-round opponent is that he has a winning record and he is at least decent,” Concannon said. “I heard we had some common opponents but I still have to go out there and wrestle and be prepared and do my things. My goal is to medal this year for sure but winning a state title or getting to the state finals would be even better.”
As for winning the district tournament last week, Concannon said he was pretty happy with it. “My matches were fairly easy,” Concannon said. “The last match was a tough one but I came out on top 5-0 and felt pretty good the whole match.”
As for the season, Concannon currently ranks in eight out of 10 categories for Boonville with 25 wins (2nd), seven two-point near falls (2nd), 13 three-point nearfalls (2nd), 14 reversals (2nd), one tech fall, six decisions (3rd), 14 falls (4th) and 25 takedowns (4th).
Concannon said the season has had its ups and downs. “I’m happy with it,” Concannon said. “I have been sick so I was a little rusty but now I am back to where I want to be.”
Rumbaoa (39-4) also has something to prove after missing the state tournament last year.
While finishing second last weekend in the 220-pound weight class, Rumbaoa will wrestle Chillicothe’s Max Anderson, 27-13, in the opening round at state.
Stock said Rumbaoa has a real good draw in the first round.
“I think Gabe’s toughest test will probably be in the semis if he gets there,” Stock said. “That’s a make or break round for a lot of wrestlers because if you win you are setting yourself up for some great things but if you lose you have to put yourself back together and string a couple of wins together to get to a place.”
Like Concannon, Stock said Rumbaoa has a good chance in the first round. He said Rumbaoa has seen Anderson several times and has done real well against him.
Rumbaoa said Anderson has a solid low single that he has to watch for in the match. “I think he is pretty psyched out about me,” Rumbaoa said. “I should be able to beat him with pretty good ease. As for my draw throughout the tournament, I am extremely happy with it. I really lucked out. I should be able to pin my way to the semifinals with the Chillicothe kid and the Mexico kid, who I have already pinned twice. The top two wrestlers in the top of my bracket I think got pretty bad draws: Curtis Weston of St. Joseph Benton and Drake Ortiz of St. James. They are going to have to wrestle each other in the quarters and I will pick one of them up hopefully in the semis.”
Rumbaoa also ranks in the top four in several categories this season for Boonville. While leading the team in pins with 32, which is also a record, Rumbaoa is also tied with Pumel with most wins with 39. He also ranks second in takedowns with 35 and third in reversals with 10, two-point near falls with five and three-point near falls with 10.
A two-time state qualifier, Rumbaoa will also try to improve on his fifth place finish as a freshman.
He said making it to state was a huge deal for him to prove that he was back on top where he should be.
“My goal is top three for sure,” Rumbaoa said. “When you are ranked top three you should place top three. I think I can compete with all of them.”
As for the district tournament last weekend, Rumbaoa said his first match was pretty easy.
“He was a good wrestler but I wasn’t too worried about him,” Rumbaoa said. “The next kid I was actually pretty nervous myself. Being in that semifinal match and choking in that last year where I should have beaten that kid and made it to state but I was pretty nervous going out there and I ended coming out on top. In the finals, I really can’t complain too much. I wrestled pretty good but once I didn’t feel it he caught me. Almost any wrestler can be caught any given day, but I’m happy with the season so far. My losses are mainly to Class 4 opponents and they are really good wrestlers. Setting records wasn’t a plan coming into the season but that’s always a big time bonus.”
As for Pumel, he will be making his first trip to the state tournament in the 152-pound weight class.
By finishing fourth last weekend at districts, Pumel (39-8) will now wrestle Savannah’s Michael Hummer (46-4) in the opening round at state.
Stock said Pumel pulled a tough kid. “Hummer is a great wrestler,” Stock said. “We have seen him in the past at other tournaments and at state throughout the years and he is a good wrestler so Charlie definitely has his worked cut out for him, but one thing about Charlie when I ask him what he thought about his draw today he said “it’s like another wrestler”. Records and stuff don’t mean anything to him and he has proved that with some of the guys he’s beaten this year. The way he’s wrestled you never know what’s going to happen in one of his matches because Charlie is just a little bit of a funky wrestler.”
Pumel said his first match against Hummer is going to be a tough match. “I haven’t wrestled him before but I think I can beat him. I just have to be on my game from the get go and just attack,” Pumel said. “My goal is to shoot for first and I believe I can do it, I just have to really put my mind to it and wrestle my heart out.”
While tied with Rumbaoa with 39 wins on the season, Pumel also ranks first in tech falls with three, takedowns with 42, reversals with 31, two-point near falls with 19 and three-point near falls with 18. He also ranks second on the team in major decisions with two and decisions with seven and fourth in escapes with 21.  
Looking back to the regular season and districts, Pumel said there were a couple of matches that he could have done better with but overall was happy with his matches.
As for the district tournament last week, Pumel said he was definitely disappointed.
“I don’t know what happened but I kind of lost a little strength before I wrestled my first match on the second day,” Pumel said. “I was just dead most of that match. It was a very tough match and then after that I got protein in me and then I started wrestling a lot better. In the third place match, I still wasn’t 100 percent but I was still running pretty good. I should have done better in that match even with not being fully recharged.”