Brant Whitaker picked up a No. 1 seed; Charlie Pumel 3; and Peyton Hahn 4
The Boonville Pirates wrestling team will have a short trip this coming weekend while competing in the Class 2 District 2 Tournament at Marshall.
While in years past the Pirates have traveled to Monett, Bolivar and Clinton, head coach Christian Stock said the fact that districts are in Marshall this year is really nice. “The team gets to go and sleep in their own beds Friday night instead of a hotel room,” Stock said. “This year is an advantage as far as I am concerned. I think the guys will have a better nights sleep in their own houses. Being this close you also don’t have all the travel time in the vans or buses which sometimes has a negative effect on kids.”
Tournament action will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday. Only the top four place finishers in each weight class will move on to the state tournament on Feb. 14-16 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Teams competing in the district tournament along with Boonville are Centralia, Fulton, Kirksville, Lutheran St. Charles, Marshall, Mexico, Moberly, Orchard Farm, Priory, Southern Boone, St. Charles West, St. Francis Borgia and Winfield.
Stock said he will take nine wrestlers to the district tournament on Friday and Saturday.
“I will take wrestlers from 132-170 and 195-285,” Stock said. “I want to see us wrestle the best we have wrestled all season long this weekend. That is always my goal as the head coach to prepare them for the district and state tournament.”
Although the district may have changed for the Pirates, Stock said where Boonville has their biggest strengths as a team the weight classes are going to be pretty tough. However, he said the district overall is not as tough weight to weight as the southern district the Pirates have been in for the last 6-8 years.
As for the favorite going into districts, Stock said it’s hard to say but Moberly has had a solid team all season from top to bottom and Fulton also has a good number of wrestlers that have had a good season. “These two will be near the top if not the top two,” Stock said. “Kirksville could also slide into the top four as well.”
Practice time has also been limited heading into districts. With no school Wednesday or Thursday, Stock said it’s been tough but the wrestlers are in good enough shape that a couple of missed practices should not be a factor.
“We are ready to go,” Stock said. “As far as who gets through Friday night who knows. In districts some kids step up and wrestle like never before and some kids clam up and struggle with nerves. It also depends on the numbers in the weight classes and the placement of byes.”
One wrestler that will surely draw attention this weekend is sophomore Brant Whitaker at 41-1 in the 152 pound weight class.
While finishing second at state last year in the 145 pound weight class, Whitaker’s only loss this season came in the championship in the Steve Leslie Invitational in Pleasant Hill.
Stock said Whitaker has been wrestling at another level all year long. “If he continues to wrestle the way he has all season he should have a great weekend,” Stock said.
Pumel is also returning for his fourth district tournament. A two time state qualifier, Pumel is currently 33-9 on the season in the 160 pound weight class.
Stock said Pumel’s weight class has several good wrestlers in it and that Charlie has already lost to a couple of them. “He should be seeded in the top four but where he falls I am not sure,” Stock said. “He is going to have to wrestle well this weekend to earn the third ticket to state.”
Another returning state qualifier for the Pirates is senior Dalton Williams at 285. At 27-15 on the season, Stock said Williams has a tough bracket as well. “There are a number of good wrestlers at his weight,” Stock said. “He has really shown some good improvements in the last three weeks and I look for great things from him as well.”
Also looking to make a statement this weekend is freshman Peyton Hahn in the 195 pound weight class. Although Hahn will be making his first trip to the district tournament, he is no stranger while competing at the kids state tournament. At 30-13 on the season, Stock said Hahn is in one of the toughest brackets at districts but should be in the mix somewhere in the top four. “Peyton has an extremely good set of skills and is very calm on the mat,” Stock said. “I have been impressed with his poise on the mat no matter who is wrestling.”
Other wrestlers who will be competing at districts this weekend are Brayden McFarland at 132, Eric Bundy at 138, Lance Marshall at 145, Carter Stumph at 170 and Dakota Rapp at 220.
McFarland is currently 4-16 on the season while Bundy is 15-21, Marshall 9-26, Stumph 4-5 and Rapp 10-8.
Stock said McFarland is doing better and looks for him to wrestle well this weekend. “Brayden had a injury that has slowed him down in the middle of the season,” Stock said. “As for Bundy, he has really started to put things together on the mat. This is only his second year wrestling and he really has shown a lot of improvement. Lance is also in his second season of wrestling. Last season he tried all year to break into the varsity lineup and just couldn’t find a spot. He has made some big improvements as well this season and I look for him to continue. Like Lance, this will be Carter’s first district tournament. Carter has some previous wrestling experience but did not wrestle last season. He has a good set of fundamentals and is getting better with every match he wrestles. Dakota only has a handful of matches this season so far but has shown some spark at times. I think Dakota has the chance to have a great weekend, we just need to get started on the right foot. It will be interesting to see what happens in his bracket.”