Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Indians Hold on to Capture Title

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Indians Hold on to Capture Title

Article excerpt

As far as Wentzville High wrestling coach Jake LaManna was concerned, the letdown was inevitable.

"We had a great showing last week (in winning the Gateway Athletic Conference title), but there's no way you can maintain that kind of intensity," he said. "We didn't wrestle as well this week, but I'm not really surprised. Still, we advanced all 13 guys to sectionals and we managed to win the district title."

Wentzville held off a late charge by St. Charles West to win 203 1/2-201 1/2 in the Class 3A District 4 championships at Francis Howell Saturday.

"West really had an outstanding tournament; they gave us all we could handle," LaManna said. "We lost a few matches that we'd won the week before and West really came on strong.

"But we got some key wins in the finals and we managed to hold on."

Wentzville's district champions were Josh Purler (27-1) at 135, Brent Mueller (21-0) at 160 and heavyweight Dan Alexander (28-0).

It was Alexander's pin of St. Charles West's Ryan Sullins in the third period of the championship match that wrapped up the Indians' team title.

"Dan needed a major decision for us to pull it out," LaManna said. "If you wanted excitement, it was right there. It was great."

Wentzville's other top finishers at districts were runners-up Ken Graser (103), Josh Johnston (112), Ryan Newman (119) and Chris Simms (171).

Jason Johnson (140), Mike Chatfield (152), Buddy Thess (160) and Jason Griesenhauer (189) had third-place finishes while Kyle Houston (125) and Chris Griffin (130) placed fourth.

"After wrestling so well in the GACs, we expected a little bit of a dropoff," LaManna said. "But now it's important that we bounce back and wrestle well at sectionals. The tough part is that our third-place finishers are going to have to face the other district's first-place finishers in the semifinals next week.

"We're going to have to wrestle better if we expect to get everybody through."

"Close, but not quite good enough," West coach Jim O'Dell said of his team's second-place finish at districts. "We lost some tough matches again and we also had some first-round byes that hurt us.

"But we wrestled well and that was a real key. …

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