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Five Eagles Wrestlers From Holden District Third-Place Team Qualify For State Meet

Mat Moves… Eagle wrestler Gerard Costa (right) attempts to take his opponent to the mat during the Class 1, District 2 Boys Wrestling Tournament at Butler High School on Friday, Feb. 16. Photo By Steve Edwards

The Holden boys wrestling team will send five wrestlers to the Class 1 State Championships in Columbia as seniors Daylen Greene, CJ Reifsteck, and Andrew Johnston, along with juniors Trent Stout and Aiden Christian earned top-four finishes at the Class 1, District 2 Boys Wrestling Tournament held at Butler High School Friday, Feb. 16, and Saturday, Feb. 17.

The Eagles team of 10 wrestlers competing in the tournament finished in third place among 16 teams with Versailles earning the team title and Fatima’s team placing second.

In top individual finishes, Greene and Stout advanced to title bouts with Greene wrestling to a district title and Stout finishing as a runner-up.

“I am extremely proud of how our team represented Holden and our wrestling program at the district tournament,” said Holden boys wrestling coach Matt Hertzog. “Our boys wrestled hard and wrestled smart against some tough competition, and this was the most qualifications we have had for the boys team since the 2018-19 season. We qualified all of our seniors as well, and it makes me happy to see that those guys can finish their careers on a big stage. Placing third in the district was also a major milestone for us as a team, and I know that the guys did all they could to make sure we stayed on the leaderboard all day.”

Greene will take the big stage at the state tournament for the fourth time after earning his fourth all-district placing and his third district title. The senior team captain and Holden school record holder for career wins swept to his most recent district title by recording three straight wins in the 120-pound weight class.

In the first-place match, Greene won by decision over Versailles wrestler Drake Schmidt in a 6-2 final score.

“I hadn’t wrestled the guy for first place,” said Greene. “He’s a good kid.”

The state tournament offers Greene an opportunity to add to his decorated career that includes individual district titles in his freshman, junior, and senior seasons. He also earned a sectional title in his freshman season in an altered state tournament series during the pandemic. He wrestled to a district runner-up spot during his sophomore season. Both his freshman and sophomore seasons ended with Greene grabbing all-state third-place medals. He ended last year as the state runner-up in the 120-pound weight class. Earlier this season, Greene broke the Holden school record for takedowns to which he has added throughout the season.

“It definitely felt like a do-or-die situation…just trying to enjoy my last times on the mat, and focus on wrestling good for myself…wrestling with my teammates for the last time,” said Greene after competing in his final district tournament.

“All I know for sure is that Daylen looked dominant this weekend, light on his feet, and ready for the state tournament,” said coach Hertzog. “He’s been a terrific leader this year, and I know we are all looking forward to sharing in those special state moments with him this upcoming week.”
Eagle junior wrestler Trent Stout will make his first state meet appearance with his runner-up finish in the 157-pound weight class.

Stout’s romp to the title bout included two early wins by pin that were followed by a win by technical fall in which Stout overwhelmed Versailles wrestler Christopher Dowell by a final score of 18-1. In the first-place match, Stout lost by decision to Warsaw wrestler Drake Murrell.

“That was my biggest goal, was to go to state,” said Stout. “Out of all the years that I’ve wrestled, I haven’t made it to state. This year, I felt the click, and that was whenever I really knew this was my year to shine out and make it to state, finally.”

Stout’s current wrestling successes come after displaying a breakout season on the football field this past fall.

“Football season also, it helped a lot, and when it came to wrestling season, that’s when I really took advantage of what I could do,” said Stout.

“Trent is a whole new kid this year,” said coach Hertzog. “He practices hard, pushes himself and his teammates, and you can tell he is always hungry for more. It’s obvious from his record that he has been better this year than in the past, but the moment I really realized how far he has come came in the semifinals match against a pretty good kid from Versailles. Stout obliterated the kid, scored like 17, 18 points. The Versailles kid didn’t know what happened, but you could tell he was broken by the middle of the second period. I’m excited to see how Stout’s first state appearance shakes out.”

Stout has his plan of attack lined out for his first state meet appearance.

“I’m going to go crazy at state,” said Stout. “I’m going to go my absolute hardest, and you know, even though it’s a bigger competition, I’m not going to slow down or anything. I’m going to go just as hard as I was, and if not, I’m going to be more aggressive than I was.”

Reifsteck returns to the state meet this year after duplicating his fourth-place all-district finish he turned in last season in the 175-pound weight class. Early in the season, the four-year team member and team captain had to overcome a recovery process from a broken hand suffered in Holden’s final football game of the season. Returning to the lineup for wrestling competitions late in the season set Reifsteck up with a path to return to the state meet.

Reifsteck’s route to the district medal podium required a rally on the backside of the 175-pound bracket after he dropped his first match by decision. Reifsteck’s rally included a win by major decision and two wins by pin to gain entrance into the third-place match. In the medal match, Reifsteck fell by pin in the second period.

“He looks better every time he is on the mat,” said coach Hertzog in regard to Reifsteck. “I’m so glad that he was able to join us after breaking some bones in football. He performed well this weekend and qualified for the second time in a very tough bracket. We weren’t sure how it was all going to shake out, but he did what he needed to do and he did it in a very nonchalant, business-as-usual way which is one of the things that we all love about CJ. He’s a quiet leader, and I am glad he’ll be competing with us at the state tournament this year.”

Christian will close out his junior season at the state meet as a two-time state meet qualifier after making a state meet appearance in his freshman season, but missing most of his sophomore season with an injury.

“Really, my main focus was just to come back from my injury, come back healthy with a positive attitude,” said Christian. “It’s probably the best thing that could have happened out of all this and all that happened last year. I’m just hoping to go on and wrestle my matches at state.”

After winning his first-round match in the 285-pound weight class by pin, Christian lost by decision to familiar foe William Brown of Adrian in the semifinals as the two wrestlers have traded wins and losses against each other throughout the season.

“I just didn’t really wrestle my match,” said Christian of his match-up with Brown. “It’s not really an excuse, but it just happened. It’s going to go back and forth. That’s how wrestling is.”

“He got into a close match with the Adrian kid, and it didn’t go our way this time,” said coach Hertzog. “Aiden bounced back and finished strong.”
Christian battled back on the backside of the bracket by pinning Cole Camp wrestler Christian Draper to earn a spot in the third-place match. Christian won by pin in the third-place match against California wrestler Alexis Anguiano.

Christian described his focus in the third-place match as, “Really, just getting the pin off quick and early, and securing my seed at state.”

“I am really impressed with the way he has performed this year after missing 95% of our season last year,” said coach Hertzog. “You can’t even tell. He has the potential to make some big moves in Columbia…looking forward to seeing what happens!”

Eagle senior wrestler Andrew Johnston will make his first state meet appearance after placing fourth in the 215-pound weight class at the district meet to earn a spot on the Mizzou mats.

Johnston bounced back and forth during the tournament with a first-round win by pin, a semifinal round loss by pin, a consolation semifinal round win by pin, and a loss by pin in the third-place match.

“My main focus was to go to state this year,” said Johnston. “Obviously it happened, so I’m really happy about that. I’ve been kind of just trying to work on defense most of the year…try to get my stats up, and wish for the best, honestly.

“My first match today, I had Matthew Esparza,” continued Johnston. “He’s really good. He’s the No. 1 seed. I feel like I did better than I did last time, but honestly, I couldn’t pull through.

 

That was a really good match. Then, I’d say my last match I wasn’t really trying that hard, to be honest just because I already know I’m going to state, and I didn’t want to mess up anything.”

“It’s the first time for Andrew qualifying,” confirmed coach Hertzog. “Very happy to see him come along and reap the benefits of some hard work, much of which has been done behind the scenes. He has paid his dues as a JV wrestler, and now in his senior year he is ready to compete at the state meet.”

“Mainly, I’ll just be focusing on defense, trying to just keep going through, trying to get as many matches as I can, and just wish for the best,” said Johnston of his plan in approaching the state meet.

Eagle junior wrestler Conner Carver finished the district tournament with a record of 3-2 as his season came to a close. Carver worked back from a first-round loss in the 190-pound bracket to record three wins by pin before suffering a second loss which occurred in the consolation semifinals.

Wrestling at 126 pounds, junior Graysen Thieman turned in a record of 2-2 as a first-round loss by pin pushed him to the backside of the bracket where he notched a win by major decision and a win by pin. A loss by pin ended the previous state qualifier’s district tournament showing.

Freshmen Payton Tye at 113 pounds and Kaleb Catron at 132 pounds, and foreign exchange student Gerard Costa at 138 pounds each suffered two early-round losses to close out their initiation to district competition.

“It stinks for all of our guys that didn’t qualify, but the good news is that all of them, no matter who they are, have improved drastically this season, and will be in a good position next year to compete, grow, and take their place at state with the rest of their teammates,” said coach Hertzog.
As for state meet qualifiers Greene, Reifsteck, Johnston, Stout, and Christian, the mats at Mizzou Arena await as the quintet looks to compete among the top Class 1 wrestlers from across the state.

“It’s a great group,” said Greene of Holden’s five state meet qualifiers. “I’m really happy to see the guys that are out here doing this…been working hard for four years or more. Just seeing them really get the opportunity to get to state, I mean they’ve all worked their butts off, so it’s really good to see.”

The Class 1 Boys Wrestling Championships are scheduled to be held Wednesday, Feb. 21, and Thursday, Feb. 22, at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. A complete state championships schedule can be found on the Missouri State High School Activities Association website at mshsaa.org.

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