Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wentzville Heavyweight Alexander Pins Foe in Opener in 41 Seconds

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Wentzville Heavyweight Alexander Pins Foe in Opener in 41 Seconds

Article excerpt

Dan Alexander was finished before he was announced.

Alexander, the top-ranked heavyweight wrestler in Missouri Class 4A, recorded a pin 41 seconds into his first-round match Thursday at the 65th Missouri High School Wrestling Championships at the Hearnes Center.

After Alexander made quick work of Riverview Gardens' Pete McKinney, the Hearnes public address announced the 6-foot-3, 218-pound Alexander's match.

Too late, Alexander already had pinned his man.

And the muscular Alexander is pinning his hopes on a state championship, after dominating area competition. Alexander's win Thursday improved his record to 20-0.

"I didn't expect my first match to end so fast," Alexander said. "Those things just happen."

Alexander has become a focal point in the heavyweight division, the standard by which other big wrestlers are measured.

Last season, he posted a second successive 35-2 record, and finished second in the Missouri 4A heavyweight division to Winnetonka's Danny Pearson.

This year, Alexander is quicker, faster and stronger and - if possible - meaner.

"I'm more mentally prepared and I have more endurance, strength and experience than last year."

And confidence.

"It gives you extra incentive to have everyone look at you as a person to beat," he said. "It makes you act like the wrestler they have to beat. Wrestling is much more mental than physical."

If he meets expectations and wins in this morning's quarterfinal session, Alexander probably will face Hazelwood East's Dan Webber in tonight's semifinal round. All semifinals start at 8 p.m.

Webber improved to 40-0 after pinning Fort Zumwalt's Mike Williams at 1:34 in a first-round match Thursday.

Webber and Alexander had hoped the brackets would allow them to meet in the finals.

"That's life," said Webber, who has twice as many matches this season as Alexander. "It's not always fun and things don't always go the way you want them to. Dan's a real good athlete, and hopefully we'll meet in the semifinals."

Alexander and Webber, ranked Nos. 1 and 3, respectively, in the state, have both signed football scholarships with Nebraska. Will there be any hard feelings after tonight's anticipated match? …

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