The Boonville Pirates wrestling team may have picked the wrong time to join the Tri-County Conference if you go by state qualifiers, state medalists and state champions.
Although the old conference, the NCMC, was no slouch when it came to state qualifiers and state medalists, head coach Christian Stock said the TCC as a whole was tough this season.
“We did win two duals, which is better than we have done the past couple of seasons,” Stock said. “This was the first year in this conference so I was not sure what to expect. Competition at most weight classes was good. Just getting a chance to face the other teams gives me a chance to see what they are going to have in the coming years and the style of wrestling each of the teams does. I feel like having a healthy and full team the entire season would have helped us catch a couple of more wins in this conference schedule, but it is what it is.”
Depending on who you ask, the TCC had mixed results this year at the state tournament in Class 1 and 2. Of the seven schools that competed at state, the TCC had 26 state qualifiers along with 14 state medalists and three state champions.
Boonville, Osage, Eldon and Southern Boone all competed in Class 2 while Versailles, Blair Oaks and Hallsville participated in Class 1. California does not field a wrestling team.
Blair Oaks had a total of six state qualifiers with three place finishers while Versailles had five qualifiers with two medalists, Boonville qualifiers with two medalists, Eldon three qualifiers with three medalists, Hallsville and Southern Boone each with one qualifier with one medalist and Osage with two qualifiers and two medalists.
Blair Oaks also had the highest place finish as a team at state while finishing 12th overall while Eldon placed 13th, Versailles 14th, Boonville 16th, Hallsville 18th, Osage 20th and Southern Boone 35th.
As for the state champions, Boonville had one (Brant Whitaker at 152), Hallsville one (Andrew Huddleston at 138) and Eldon one (Isaiah Simmons at 113).
Versailles also led the number of all-conference selections this past season with six. Osage had five, Eldon and Blair Oaks four each and Boonville, Hallsville and Southern Boone each with three.
The Tigers had five first teamers and one second teamer as all-conference while Osage had two first teamers and three seconds, Blair Oaks three first teamers and one second, Eldon one first team and three seconds, Boonville one first teamer and two seconds and Hallsville and Southern Boone each with one first teamer and two seconds.
As for the standings in the TCC, Versailles finished the season unbeaten at 6-0. Blair Oaks placed second at 5-1, followed by Osage at 4-2, Boonville, Southern Boone and Eldon each at 2-4 and Hallsville at 0-6.
As for all-conference selections for Boonville, Brant Whitaker was  a unanimous first team pick while Travis Dell and Dalton Williams were both second team selections at 170 and 285, respectively.
Whitaker, the state champion in the 152 pound weight class, finished the season at 49-1 overall and 6-0 in the TCC. He also led the team with 49 wins, 33 falls, two major decisions, six decisions, 48 takedowns, 12 reversals and 14 three point nearfalls.
For his career, Whitaker is a two-time state medalists with a second place finish at 145 as a freshman and a state title this year at 152. He is 97-6 overall in two years.
“Brant had a great season and was undefeated in the conference,” Stock said. “You really could not ask for a better season.”
As for Dell, the freshman grappler finished the season at 11-5 overall and 3-1 in the conference.
Dell finished the season ranked first in tech falls with one and had 13 takedowns, six escapes, five two-point nearfalls, five three-point nearfalls, five falls and one reversal.
Stock said Dell really wrestled well until he hurt his knee the first week of January. “He has a bright future and I look forward to him being all-conference again,” Stock said.
There is no next year for Williams, who just completed his second trip to the state tournament at heavyweight. At 31-18 on the season and 5-1 in the conference, Williams also closed out the 2018-19 campaign with 26 takedowns, which ranked fourth on the team, along with 20 escapes (3rd), 19 falls (3rd), 10 reversals (3rd) and 31 wins (4th).
Stock said Williams had a really good season and only lost to the Eldon heavyweight. “Again Dalton had a great season and scored a number of points for us in conference duals,” Stock said. “Dalton was a really hard working kid who I am glad got this honor of all-conference.”