Three members from the Eagles boys wrestling team will represent Holden at the Class 1 State Championships with Daylen Greene, CJ Reifsteck, and Kale Tryon each turning in top-four finishes at the Class 1, District 2 Tournament held at Versailles High School on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 17 – 18.
With nine wrestlers competing at the district tournament, the Holden boys wrestling team placed ninth among the 16 teams at the tournament.
“Obviously, I would have loved for all our guys to get a chance at state, but that’s just not the way it goes, usually,” said Holden boys wrestling head coach Matt Hertzog. “Sometimes you put in the time, and just get a tough draw. Other times you don’t prepare yourself adequately, and you play for it at districts. In both cases, ending a season is a hard thing. I can’t overstate how very proud I am of all our boys, and the way they’ve fought to improve and represent our school all season.
Greene, a junior, grabbed the individual title in the 120-pound weight class at the district tournament as he earned the second individual district title, and the third state championships qualification of his high school career. Greene is a two-time all-state medalist with third-place finishes the last two seasons.
“I knew I had a pretty good shot coming in,” said Greene. “That was just one of my first goals for this year. It’s one of my good last milestones for this year, so I’ve just got a little bit more to go.”
After winning his first-round match by technical fall, Greene won by major decision in the quarterfinals. A win by technical fall in the semifinals put Greene in the third district title bout of his career.
“That semifinals match stood out, just to get through,” said Greene. “You’ve just got a little bit of nerves going through, but as long as you handle it right, everything works out.”
In the 120-pound title match, Greene led Knob Noster wrestler Levi Wilhelm in points when an injury suffered by Wilhelm ended the match. The Panther wrestler bowed out in the win by medical forfeit for Greene.
“I’m very proud of Daylen,” said coach Hertzog. “There isn’t a kid who deserves it more. He’s been a fantastic leader this year, has worked his tail off this off-season, and it shows.”
Tryon’s path to the state championships passed through the third-place match in the 138-pound weight class. After recording a first-round win by decision, and suffering a loss by pin in the championship quarterfinals, Tryon rattled off three wins on the backside of the bracket to secure a spot in the third-place match.
Tryon finished in fourth place after falling in the bronze bout.
“All I know is that he was pretty sick after his second match Friday, but he toughed his way through it, got a good night’s rest, came back Saturday, and wrestled incredibly hard against kids who he wouldn’t have beaten a month ago,” said coach Hertzog.
Reifsteck displayed his first-ever state meet qualifying performance in the 175-pound weight class as the junior turned in a fourth-place finish.
Reifsteck opened the tournament with two wins before suffering a loss by decision in the championship semifinals.
“I lost, so I had to fight through the rest of my matches today,” said Reifsteck.
A win by major decision in the consolation semifinals secured Reifsteck’s spot in the third-place match, and his opportunity to compete on the mats at Mizzou Arena in the state championships. In the third-place match, Reifsteck lost by pin.
“It feels good,” said Reifsteck. “I’ve put in a lot of work this year. I wish a couple of my teammates could have made it who have helped push in practice, but it feels good. It was pretty special to me.”
“Both CJ and Kale were kids that we had hoped would qualify last year but couldn’t quite get there, so I know the boys were really keen on trying to advance this year,” said coach Hertzog. “CJ wrestled hard against some solid competition, ended up on the backside of the bracket, and had to beat an Adrian kid to go. He got it done. He is a kid who has improved a ton since the beginning of the year, and I’m glad to see his adjustments in technique and strategy pay off.
“Kale’s intensity on the mat spiked to a level we haven’t witnessed much, but I hope it’s a sign of things to come because it was great to see.”
Eagle wrestlers Graysen Thieman at 113 pounds, Conner Carver at 150 pounds, Trent Stout at 157 pounds, and Andrew Johnston at 285 pounds all advanced to the consolation semifinals, yet suffered losses in that bubble round as their seasons came to a close. Senior first-year wrestler Joseph Powell bowed out of the district tournament after suffering two losses in the 190-pound weight class.
Senior, and four-year high school team member Kody Conard suffered a first-round loss, rebounded with a win by pin in the first consolation round, and saw his final district tournament come to a close in the second consolation round when he lost by decision.
“Unfortunately, Kody wasn’t able to advance to state,” said coach Hertzog. “I mentioned that ending a season is hard, but it’s harder when it’s the last one. We all love Kody, and I know that even though his wrestling career is over, he’s going to do great things. He’s a tough kid with a great sense of humor, and I’m excited to see what the next chapter of life holds for him.”
After Greene competed in an one-day format for the state championships in Independence during his freshman season, he returned to the standard three-day format in Columbia last season. Greene, Tryon, and Reifsteck will compete in a two-day format for the state championships this year.
“Every year that I’ve gone, it’s always changed up, so it will be new for me, too,” said Greene. “I think it will be a good experience. Having two new guys, that’s always cool to have.”
Coach Hertzog is set to lead the three state qualifiers in his first year as the Holden wrestling head coach.
“Daylen had an impressive run of tech falls to win the district…excited to see how he fares at the state tournament,” said coach Hertzog as he welcomes Tryon and Reifsteck to their first state meet. “I’m very proud of both of these boys for qualifying for the first time.”
The Boys Class 1-2, and Girls Class 1 Wrestling Championships are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 22 – 23, at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. A schedule for Class 1 Wrestling Championships events is available on the Missouri State High School Activities Association website at www.mshsaa.org.