Seven Lady Eagles wrestlers competed at the Class 1 Girls Wrestling Championships at Mizzou Arena in Columbia on Wednesday and Thursday, Feb. 22-23.
Freshman Macey Greene turned in Holden’s top finish by placing second in the 115-pound weight class. Charlie Gregg and Haley Brooks both placed fifth in their weight classes as Greene, Gregg, and Brooks earned the first-ever all-state medals for the Lady Eagles wrestling program.
Senior Tasia Lee in her second state meet appearance, seniors Aubree Castaneda and Alex VanHooser, and freshman Adasyn Yoder completed the list Lady Eagles competing at this year’s state championships.
The Lady Eagles team finished tied for sixth place after flirting with a top-four team trophy finish.
“They all wrestled well,” said Holden girls wrestling head coach Ron Franklin. “The fact is we got three state medals, qualified seven, and put a freshman in the finals. The girls wrestled with the team concept throughout the entire year, and Columbia was no different.”
Greene won by decision in the first round, recorded a win by major decision in the quarterfinals, and scored a 3-2 decision over Seneca wrestler Louzella Graham in the semifinals to move into her title bout.
“My plan was really just to take it match by match, period by period, and really just take it that way…win every period and try to just focus on going one mat at a time,” said Greene.
Versus Southern Boone wrestler Callie Bergthold in the title match, Greene lost by pin.
“I knew coming in she was going to be really good,” said Greene. “I just tried to play the defensive part on that because I knew she was a shooter. It worked for me the first period, but second period I just kind of got caught.”
As Greene battled on the girls 115-pound mat, her brother Daylen simultaneously competed in the boys 120-pound first-place bout, marking the first time in Missouri state championships history that a brother and a sister competed in title bouts. Daylen would also place second in his match to earn his third career all-state medal.
“I was trying to glance over at times, but it was definitely cool being out there at the same time as him,” said Macey.
Gregg’s fifth-place all-state medal finish occurred in the 140-pound weight class for the two-time state qualifier. Gregg recorded a win by decision over Sullivan wrestler Dorie Richardson in the fifth-place match as Gregg gathered her first career all-state medal.
“Yesterday, I started off pretty strong when I got those two wins on the front side, and I was in the semis starting today,” described Gregg. “Then, I had a pretty tough match in the semis, and I lost that by a pin in the first period. My next match, I was expecting to win, and I should have won. That was pretty upsetting to lose that one, but I worked past it. I came back and I wrestled my best, and it worked out in my favor.”
Brooks captured her fifth-place medal in the 105-pound weight class. Two early-round wins for Brooks were offset by two losses prior to her fifth-place bout. She recorded a win by major decision over Sikeston wrestler Jasmynne Green in the fifth-place medal match.
“I was really excited, and very nervous coming into the tournament because I knew there were a lot of really, really good girls that it was going to be a struggle to beat,” said Brooks. “I just went in there going to win every period, not trying to do anything crazy, not trying to get myself stuck, just go in there, and wrestle like normal. I did that for most all my matches, and it worked out pretty well. It was just very nerve wracking after losing two. I just cleared my head, and went out there, tried to forget about the past two matches, and wrestle like normal again.”
Competing in her second state tournament, senior Tasia Lee at 130 pounds rebounded from a first-round loss by decision to record her first-ever state meet win. In that first-round consolation match win, Lee pinned Fulton wrestler Ava Johnson. Lee’s decorated Lady Eagles high school wrestling career came to a close in the second round of consolation matches in a loss by decision to St. Charles wrestler Hayley Newton.
“It was stressful, and it’s my last year,” said Lee. “I at least had to get a win. My goal was to medal, but I didn’t. It was pretty close. I just had to have a different mindset of this could maybe my last one. I wanted to try as hard as possible so I could try and advance on, but I didn’t.”
Lee represented Holden at the state championships in her sophomore season as Holden’s lone state qualifier. While missing most of her junior season due to an offseason knee surgery, Lee watched Gregg gain state meet experience last season as Gregg competed as Holden’s lone state qualifier. Lee noted how having seven total Lady Eagles team members at this year’s state championships set a tone for the Holden girls wrestling program.
“It was a dream come true, just being here at Columbia,” said Lee. “It’s amazing how fast the sport’s grown, and how many girls have came to this sport. We had three freshmen come and all of our seniors besides one. It’s a real impact, and now that we have so many girls who are coming to state, they’re showing up, they’re working hard at practice, they’re putting 110% into everything. It shows. Once you’re here, you’ve got to let it shine. Seeing how all the girls have come, and just everyone lining up to do the march, there are so many girls. It’s amazing because it was a small sport, and then over the years, it’s grown.”
Senior Aubree Castaneda took advantage of her first state meet appearance by recording a first-round win in the 190-pound weight class. A loss in the quarterfinals put Castaneda in the consolation bracket where she rebounded with a win before dropping her third-round consolation match to end her tournament run, and her third season on the Lady Eagles wrestling team.
“Honestly, I went out into my first match…I was really intimidated,” said Castaneda. “In my first wrestleback match, I won 1-0. Honestly, I feel like that match could have gone a lot better, but it’s my first time at state and I’m honestly just grateful that I made it here. My last match was my end of season match. I wasn’t really happy with my performance, but I’m glad I’m here.”
Castaneda noted the presence of seven Lady Eagles competing on the mats at Mizzou Arena as state qualifiers.
“I’m so glad that we took seven girls because I really feel like we stuck together like glue, even going to the hotel, going out to eat, and just like being here together cheering, seeing each other downstairs warming up,” said Castaneda. “I just feel like that was really, really good for our whole program.”
Senior Alex VanHooser closed out her season by going 1-2 in her first state meet appearance. VanHooser’s win occurred by pin in the first consolation round of the 235-pound weight class.
Freshman Adasyn Yoder’s state meet tournament ended with two early-round losses.
The history making appearance of seven Lady Eagles wrestlers at the state meet provides an exclamation point at the end of the season.
“That was so exciting,” said Gregg in regard to having seven Lady Eagles competing at the state meet. “I was actually really glad that we got our seniors up here, most of them. We did miss one senior, but Aubree, Tasia, and Alex wrestled really well this tournament. Then, we have the freshmen who are going to keep help building our team. I’m excited about the years to come.”
Freshman Greene noted the accomplishments of this year’s state qualifiers with an eye on the future.
“It was crazy,” said Greene. “I mean, I’m really proud of my team, and everything that we’ve accomplished. I think we all did the work we needed to. The freshmen did good, and we have three more years. I’m happy to see what happens.”
After competing as the lone Lady Eagles wrestler on the Holden wrestling team during her freshman season, and watching the team grow to 11 members this year with seven of those team members competing at the state meet, Lee reflected on the process involved.
“Just go with your heart, and wrestle your toughest how you can…just know that moments like this, it doesn’t last long,” said Lee. “If you try your hardest, then know that you can be proud of yourself with how far you came. Just being here, it’s truly amazing.”