McFarland signs wrestling letter of intent with Hannibal LeGrange

Chris Bowie
Boonville Daily News
Boonville senior wrestler Brayden McFarland recently signed a wrestling letter of intent with Hannibal LeGrange University in Hannibal, Missouri. On hand during the signing last week in the media center at Boonville High School were (front row, left to right) Brayden McFarland and Heather Shay. (back row, left to right) Boonville Athletic Director Chris Shikles, Hannibal LeGrange Wrestling Coach Daniel Capp, Boonville wrestling coach Justin Hahn, assistant wrestling coach Kyle Newham, and Boonville Principal Tim Edwards.

Boonville senior wrestler Brayden McFarland didn’t have to look far to know where he wanted to wrestle the next four years in college.

After wrestling four years at Boonville High School on the Pirates wrestling team, McFarland finally put pen to paper last week to make it official by signing a letter of intent with Hannibal LeGrange University.

McFarland said he chose Hannibal LeGrange because head coach Daniel Capp had reached out to him about the wrestling program, so he took a day to visit the college.

“I liked the small campus,” McFarland said. “My first impression was that it was like my high school with the small number of students and would be a good fit for me. I think that they stress the importance of grades, and making sure that studying is a priority. That was a key factor as well.”

While battling injuries throughout his career at Boonville, McFarland closed out the 2020-21 season at 5-6 overall with five takedowns, four reversals, four falls, four two-point nearfalls, and three escapes. He also had 30 match points and 24 team points this past season.

Boonville wrestling coach Justin Hahn said McFarland is a hard worker and loves the sport of wrestling. “I’m excited for him to be able to continue his wrestling career,” Hahn said. “I think it’s a good opportunity for him. This is what is exciting when a kid gets to keep wrestling. I know the last two years that I have been involved in the program, Brayden has been a good leader in the room and has been a hard worker in the summer showing the kids what you need to do. He’s just a good kid and always reliable. He’s just been great for the program.”

Hannibal LeGrange Wrestling Coach Daniel Cabb said he watched McFarland wrestle a couple of times and felt that Brayden just had a good work ethic.

“The biggest thing that I have found in college is that sometimes you have really talented guys and maybe they don’t have great work ethic, but they were good in high school and maybe matured a little faster or were just bigger and stronger,” Capp said. “The one thing about college is once you get to the next stage, if you don’t keep that passion, you fizzle out. We try to find that guy who stays passionate and hard working. We’re looking for Brayden to step up, but a lot of times we kind of wait until they get here and see what they’re weighing out through the summer and then go from there.”

Of course McFarland will be the first to tell you that he has to improve in a number of areas to compete at the next level. 

“I feel like there is always room for improvement,” McFarland said. “College wrestling is going to be a whole new experience. I think strength training, and stamina are two things I will need to improve on, while continuing to improve on my wrestling skills.”

McFarland said his goals for the first-two years are to improve on his wrestling skills, get a good workout program to build strength and be the best wrestler he can be. 

As for his third and fourth year of wrestling, McFarland said of course he wants to become a national champ. “I think that is the goal of every college wrestler,” McFarland said. 

Having wrestled since seventh grade, McFarland said looking back at his career the highlight for his entire high school career has been about becoming a better wrestler. He said helping develop the younger wrestlers this season was a highlight for him personally, that and seeing his teammates achieve their goals and being there to cheer them on at each match or tournament. 

Although McFarland fell short of qualifying for the state tournament the last four years, he said that is something that he wished he could have accomplished. “I think that every wrestler has the goal of making it to state,” McFarland said. “I battled several injuries over my high school career and so I fell short of that goal.”

Prior to accepting a scholarship at Hannibal LeGrange, McFarland said he was strongly considering the military before Coach Capp contacted him. He said he had not even looked at another college before his visit to Hannibal. 

“Coach Capp reached out to me and that got the process started,” McFarland said. “With COVID this year it was limited on who could watch us, so they did not get to see me on the mat. We went for a college day, after seeing the campus and touring with Coach Haley (assistant coach), that pretty much sealed the deal. I really liked the small school feel.”

Of course McFarland said he has his uncle, Brad Schreck, to thank for getting him involved in wrestling. “Brad has been my biggest influence in wrestling,” McFarland said. “Hearing stories of his high school career and then getting to go to a few tournaments where he got to be my coach has been a highlight for me. He has always been there to give me advice and tips on how to improve my next match.”

McFarland said he will miss the comradery, the coaches, and the way that the fans are so supportive. “Some of my best friends were made on this wrestling mat, and I am going to miss that,” McFarland said.