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Four Lady Eagles Wrestlers From Holden District Runner-Up Team Qualify For State Meet

District Win… Lady Eagle senior wrestler MaReya May records a win by decision against Carl Junction wrestler Jazmyne Blaney in the Class 1, District 3 Girls Wrestling Tournament at Nevada High School on Saturday, Feb. 10. May recorded three wins in the tournament before suffering a loss in the consolation semifinals to end her tournament with a record of 3-2. Photo By Steve Edwards


The Holden girls wrestling team turned in a district runner-up finish at the Class 1, District 3 Girls Wrestling Tournament held at Nevada High School Friday, Feb. 9, and Saturday, Feb. 10.

Lady Eagle wrestlers Haley Brooks and Ady Yoder wrestled to individual district championships in their weight classes as Macey Greene and Charlie Gregg each captured district runner-up finishes. Top-four finishers at the district tournament advance to the state meet.

With eight Lady Eagles team members competing, Holden separated from a group of teams fighting for second place with a solid start on Friday, and a strong showing on the second day of the tournament. The Lady Eagles finished with 130 team points in their runner-up finish, Nevada placed third with 108 points, and Knob Noster placed fourth with 107 points in the 33-team tournament. The team title was taken by Marshfield with 210 points.

“We found another way to compete at a high level with what we had available,” said Holden girls wrestling coach Ron Franklin. “The girls really stepped up and worked to find a way to stay relevant individually and as a team. The experienced girls upped their game and made the finals, scoring the big semifinal team points.

“The inexperienced girls wrestled their tail feathers off and handled the pressure of the district tournament. Each and every girl in the lineup wrestled with effort and toughness that we are becoming known for. These girls were able to finish second in a very difficult district, and they defied odds and numbers with sheer effort and attitude.”

Brooks, Yoder, Greene, and Gregg all return to the state meet after earning all-district placings for state qualifications last year as members of Holden’s district championship team. For Gregg, it will be her third state meet appearance.

Brooks becomes a two-time district champion in the 105-pound weight class after also earning a first-place finish at that weight last season as a freshman.

“This year, it was a little rougher than last year,” said Brooks. “There are a lot of new girls who have come in and are just dominating. It went better than I expected it to. It was the same girl in the district championship as last year, so it was a lot. It was just hard to keep up what I did last year and try to do the same thing over.”

Brooks took wins by pin in both the quarterfinal round and the semifinal round to move into the title bout. Books pinned familiar foe Aleah Conard from El Dorado Springs in the Holden sophomore’s title repeat.

“I had lost to the girl I wrestled in the finals,” said Brooks. “I’d lost to her twice previously in the last two tournaments. I was really nervous to wrestle her, but I just wrestled…tried to win every period. Getting that win was…it felt good.”

Coach Franklin noted that the title match win marked a milestone for Brooks.

“Haley had an outstanding couple of days,” said coach Franklin. “Her final match at district was her 100th career win in high school. It was over a girl who had beaten her twice this season. It gave her a second district championship.”

Yoder used four straight wins by pin to move into the 110-pound title match, and to secure her second straight state meet appearance. In the first-place match, Yoder used an escape to win by decision over Eldon wrestler Mallori Edwards in a 1-0 final score.

“Ady has been wrestling at a different level this season,” said coach Franklin. “She has won numerous wins this season that have come strictly from wrestling with her head and limiting mistakes. She has set herself up for success at state this year, and captured her first district championship.”

Greene gathered three wins by pin in her early-round matches to advance to the title match in the 115-pound weight class. In the first-place match, Greene battled Marshfield wrestler Carlynn Mynatt into the second period before Mynatt found an edge for a win by pin.

Greene returns to the state meet after earning a state runner-up finish last season at 115 pounds. This year’s all-district finish for Greene comes after missing part of the season with an injury.

“I was out for about half my season, so it was a rough patch at the beginning,” said Greene. “I tried to just do with it what I could. This tournament wasn’t bad until the finals. I knew that girl was going to be tough because I had lost to her earlier in the season. You never know.

“Most of the girls that I wrestled to get to the finals, I had wrestled all year, so I knew how they wrestled,” added Greene. “My main goal was to just do good in the finals, and see what happened. I know what I need to do against her the next time I wrestle, and just go down to state so we’ll see what happens there.”

“Macey is her biggest opponent,” said coach Franklin. “She does expect to win and hates to lose, but she is in the exact same position as she was last year and she knows as well as anyone what can happen when you get to Columbia. You win three in a row, and you are in the state finals.”

Gregg’s runner-up finish at the district tournament sets a new standard for the Holden girls wrestling program as the senior four-year team member becomes the first Lady Eagle wrestler to qualify for the state meet three times. Notably, Gregg and three teammates were hindered by a quarantine during her freshman season, forcing them to miss the district and sectional tournaments. Then-sophomore Tasia Lee was able to avoid the quarantine and represented the Holden team in a sectional championship finish to become Holden’s first-ever state meet qualifier.

Last year, Gregg joined Brooks and Greene in all-state medal finishes at the state meet as the three wrestlers earned the first state medals for the Holden girls wrestling program. Gregg and Brooks each placed fifth in their respective weight classes last year, and as noted, Greene placed second.

Gregg advanced to the 135-pound district first-place match this season by recording three straight wins by pin. The win by pin over Buffalo wrestler Aja Watson in the semifinals allowed Gregg to wrestle in the title bout after placing third at each of her last two district meets. After taking a hard fall to the mat during the title bout on Saturday, Gregg suffered a loss by pin to Cassville wrestler Faith James to give Gregg the runner-up finish.

“Charlie was able to accomplish what she set out to do,” said coach Franklin. “She wanted to correct an early mistake she made against the girl from Buffalo, and put herself in the finals.”

For Holden senior and three-year Lady Eagle wrestling team member MaReya May, the district tournament marked the end of her high school wrestling career as she finished one win away from a state qualification.

Wrestling at 130 pounds, May recorded a win by pin in her first match of the district tournament before a loss by pin pushed her to the backside of the bracket. May rallied with a win by pin and a win by decision before suffering a loss by pin to end her tournament with a record of 3-2.

After the district tournament, May described her three-year wrestling career as a “whirlwind.”

“I’m so amazed by the team that I have,” said May who sported the fading remains of a black eye she received at a tournament a week prior. “These girls have grown so much and have helped me grow so much. It’s an amazing experience. I’m so proud that I pushed myself to be in a sport this…


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