For Boonville senior wrestler Haldan Toomsen, this will be his last go-around at the state tournament Thursday through Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
After finishing fifth last year in the 220-pound weight class, Toomsen knows that by finishing fourth last weekend in the 285-pound weight class at districts that he will have his work cut out over the next-three days.
Toomsen will face Smithville’s Jacob Bohlken, 48-2 on the season, in the opening round on Thursday.
As for Boonville freshman Gabe Rumbaoa, he will try to take in the sights and sounds of a state tournament while at the same time win a few matches along the way while competing in the 220-pound weight class.
Rumbaoa, who came back through wrestlebacks to finish third last weekend after dropping his second match, will face Sumner’s Tyrique Moore, 21-5, in the first round of the state tournament on Thursday.
Boonville Pirates wrestling coach Christian Stock said Toomsen has a really tough draw.
“He has a kid that is a No. 1 seed coming out of the Excelsior Springs district,” Stock said. “He is a good kid from Smithville. He doesn’t weigh a lot and is similar to Haldan’s size at 235-240, which is where we are floating. We know he is a decent wrestler because we faced him last year in the Pleasant Hill Tournament and lost by a fall. He is a real solid wrestler so we’ll have our work cut out for us in that match.”
Of course  Toomsen is no slouch himself when it comes to wrestling. While finishing fifth last year with a record of 34-13 overall, Toomsen has already surpassed that mark this year at 36-8.
Nonetheless after finishing a disappointing fourth last weekend, Toomsen said he knows he will have his work cut out against Bohlken, who was also a state qualifier last year in the 195-pound weight class.
“Bohlken is a great wrestler,” Toomsen said. “We are both pretty light so it’s going to be more of an athletic battle. It’s going to be really physical and not like districts where I had people stalling out the whole time. It’s going to be uptempo so I have to be ready condition-wise. I wrestled him last year at Pleasant Hill so I know he is really athletic, especially for his size and he is a pretty tall guy. I just have to be able to protect myself inside and stay on my feet.”
Toomsen has definitely protected himself throughout the season. His 36 wins rank first on the team for Boonville along with a team-high 23 falls and four decisions. Toomsen also ranks second in three-point nearfalls with 11 and third in takedowns with 20, reversals with 11, escapes with 11 and two-point nearfalls with four.
Aside from last weekend’s finish, Toomsen said he feels like he has lived up to expectations.
“The expectations are a lot higher being a state medalist because you have a target on your back obviously so it’s just something you have to be able to defend,” Toomsen said. “I’m just going to take it match by match and do the things I need to do to get better. Hopefully getting here last year and the experience I gained will help me.”
Stock said Toomsen has had a pretty good season.
“There has been times when Haldan has been right on,” Stock said. “You couldn’t fault him for anything he was doing, and then there has been times this season, and I think districts is one of those, where we just weren’t quite on our game. I am hoping that doesn’t happen at state. I hope he gets back into the groove of things and finishes out the season strong.”
As for Rumbaoa, the road to state has also had its ups and downs. Although Rumbaoa was upset in the quarterfinal round last weekend, the freshman grappler handled it like a veteran by winning his next-four matches and then avenging his only loss with a pin in the third-place match.
Rumbaoa also hit the 30-win mark with his win in the third-place match, which ranks second only to Toomsen at 36.
For the season, Rumbaoa ranks first on the team with 38 takedowns and first in decisions with Toomsen and Wyatt Grizzle with four. He also ranks second in falls with 22 and escapes with 12.
Rumbaoa said he doesn’t know where his first-round opponent is from much less his name.
“Tyrique something,” Rumbaoa said. “Obviously he is pretty good to come in as the No. 2 seed from his district. I am just going to wrestle my match and see what happens from there.”
Rumbaoa also knows he has some big shoes to fill as the second freshman wrestler since 1999 to qualify for state. Jake Turner accomplished that feat that year and wound up finishing fourth overall with a record of 29-5.
“I know I have had some ups and downs this season,” Rumbaoa said. “Owensville was definitely a down and the Excelsior Springs Tournament was a very tough bracket and I did as best as I could in it. There has also been a lot of ups such as the Jim Wallace Classic in Fulton, qualifying for state and the Pleasant Hill Tournament, where I did pretty good there.”
Of course Rumbaoa is no stranger to state or national tournaments. As a medalist at both the kids state and national tournaments, Rumbaoa said he knows the competition will be a lot more fierce come Thursday in  Columbia.
“Last year at kids state I was a little overconfident and I thought I could take it all and ended up coming home with a third place medal,” Rumbaoa said. “This year I am expecting the best out of everyone but I am also expecting the best out of myself.”
Rumbaoa said he has also surpassed his goal for the season, which was to make it to state.
“Everything else is a cherry on top,” Rumbaoa said. “I am projected to take fourth but whatever happens, happens. Anybody can get beat on any given day. I found that out last weekend at districts. I wasn’t feeling too good on Friday and got beat and then on Saturday I was ready and had a couple of easy matches and got on a roll. Then, I wrestled Shane Sisco from Buffalo and beat him 3-2 and that was just a mindset there not to get taken down and not lose. I came back through after that and got the Bolivar kid and I knew I could beat him. That first day wasn’t me but the second day I was on top of my game and there was nobody that was going to beat me that day.”
Stock said Rumbaoa has had a really good year for a freshman.
“Gabe’s season has been a lot like Haldan’s,” Stock said. “There have been times when he has walked into tournaments or walked into duals and won two or three in a row and just took care of business. I felt like we made one small mistake and the kid from Bolivar really made us pay for it last Friday night at districts and that kind of upset our bracket a little bit. I think we were in the driver’s seat up until that point, but things happen and we made the best of it by coming back through the backside and ended up taking third place over the kid that beat us in the second round on Friday. Gabe has had a really good season for a freshman so I look for him to progress as the years go on.”
While Toomsen’s draw figures to be tougher than Rumbaoa’s opponent, Stock said he expects Haldan to go in and handle it like a senior and a veteran who qualified for state last year.
“I think being there last year will give him an advantage over some of the kids that he will see because some of them are first timers,” Stock said. “Hopefully that is going to allow us to maybe make a little headway over them because it’s kind of a shock walking in there for the first time. That’s what I worry a little bit with Gabe. I know he has been to kids state and several big national tournaments but it’s a totally different thing when you walk out on the floor as a freshman into that arena as one of the top in the state in your class.”
Of course Toomsen and Rumbaoa won’t be the only state qualifiers from the NCMC. With Fulton leading the way with 12 state qualifiers, the NCMC will have 45 wrestlers competing at state over the next-three days.
Mexico will send eight wrestlers to state, followed by Kirksville with seven, Hannibal and Moberly each with six, Marshall  with four and Boonville with two.
Session 1 will begin on Thursday, Feb. 19th with Class 1-2 first-round matches and first-round wrestlebacks at 10 a.m. Session 2 will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday for Class 3-4 first round matches and first-round wrestlebacks. Session 3 on Friday will go as follows: Class 1-2 quarterfinals and second-round wrestlebacks, 9:30 a.m.; Class 3-4 quarterfinals and second-round wrestlebacks, 1:30 p.m.; Class 1-4 semifinals and third-round wrestlebacks, 6 p.m. Session 4 on Saturday will start at 10 a.m. with fourth-round wrestlebacks, followed by third and fifth place matches at 12 noon. Then, in the fifth and final session, the finalist march will take place at 4 p.m. with the championship finals in all classes to follow at 4:30.