On Saturday, 12 Cash-Book Journal area wrestlers punched their ticket to compete in the upcoming state championship tournaments this week in Columbia.
Sending the most was Jackson as the Indian had eight qualify for the Class 4 State Meet as two Jackson wrestlers ended the district tournament as individual champions. The Indians finished third overall with 176.5 points as Lafayette won the Class 4 District 1 Tournament Championship with 203.5 points and had three individual district champions.
Becoming a two-time Class 4 District 1 Champion was Indians senior 215-pounder Tyler Beyatte (37-3), and he won his bracket as dominantly as anyone could.
Beyatte, who was last year’s 195-pound champion, pinned all four of his district opponents in the first period. Tyler brought the district title match to an end at the one minute, 26-second mark when he pinned Christian Brothers College senior James Distaso-Hutchin’s (22-11) shoulders to the mat.
“It feels good — it’s my second year of varsity and it’s my senior year, so I’m happy to be ending it as a district champion,” Beyatte said. “Considering I didn’t start off on varsity my first two years, it feels great to qualify for state again. Especially now that it’s my senior year, I feel like I can take full advantage and do my best to compete at state.”
Beyatte’s longest bout of the tournament was in the semifinal round, where he pinned Kirkwood senior Ethan Gjelvik (29-12) with 17 seconds left until the second period. Tyler’s first two matches didn’t last longer than a minute as he pinned Seckman senior Noah Hardin (12-20) in 15 seconds and Saint Louis freshman Albert Reinberg (12-18) in 41.
“I feel like me working over the season on my strength and lifting has helped a lot to make me as powerful if not more than the guys I’m facing,” Beyatte said.
Tyler now hopes to become a first-time all-state medalist after failing to place in the top six of the 195-pound weight class last winter.
Jackson’s lone returning all-state medalist junior 113-pounder Landon Vassalli became a first-time Class 4 District 1 Champion after defeating Seckman senior Xander Harris (21-8) via a 2-1 decision in the title match. Landon also had a close matchup in the semifinal round, where he beat Lafayette Wildwood freshman Ahmad Ghuneim (18-12) by a 3-1 decision.
Even though he didn’t record a pin in this year’s district tournament, Vassalli still won his first two matches handedly en route to his first district title. He first defeated Mehlville freshman Timothy Andrus (22-21) by a 14-0 major decision and then Marquette sophomore Aiden Strobel (15-15) by a 16-0 technical fall.
Vassalli is now a three-time state qualifier and took third at 106 pounds after reaching the championship semifinals in last year’s Class 4 State Tournament.
Three other state qualifiers for Jackson reached their respective championship bouts as well in seniors Gavin Hicks (32-10) at 144 pounds, Noah Gibson (26-10) at 285 and freshman Kade King (28-11) at 120.
Hicks, who went to state last year, lost his championship match to Lindbergh junior Aden Solomon (27-10) via a 9-6 decision. Gibson and King were both pinned in their title bouts.
The other three Indians who qualified for this year’s state tournament were senior 190-pounder Griffin Horman (37-4), sophomore 138-pounder Matthew May (23-18) and freshman 106-pounder Kadon Shaw (26-15).
Horman, who finishes his career as a four-time state qualifier, and May both won third-place medals in their respective brackets, while Shaw took fourth place. Griffin lost to eventual 190-pound district champion junior Andrew Wier (34-4) of Lafayette by a 3-1 decision in the semifinals.
As for the only other wrestling program in the CBJ’s coverage area, Notre Dame had four wrestlers qualify for the Class 1 State Tournament and took sixth place overall with 72 points at districts. Winning the tournament was host New Madrid County Central after having five individual champions to finish with a final score of 181.
Coming away with the first district championship in his career was Bulldogs junior 215-pounder Charlie West (15-4), who won his title match over Bishop DuBourg senior Owen Willers (38-3) via a 14-8 decision. This week will be the first time West competes at state.
Notre Dame had two other wrestlers reach their respective championship bouts in senior 175-pounder Ethan Jackson (28-16) and freshman 132-pounder Parker Lemmons (18-16). Jackson, who qualified for last year’s Class 1 State Tournament, only lost his title match by a 5-4 decision, while Lemmons was pinned in the first round.
The fourth and final Bulldog to qualify for state this weekend was sophomore 157-pounder Sam Criddle (15-27), who took fourth place in his weight class.