Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

3rd Title Special in `Way We Did It,' Coach Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

3rd Title Special in `Way We Did It,' Coach Says

Article excerpt

In three seasons as wrestling coach at St. Charles West High, Craig Martin has won three Missouri Class 3A titles.

"They're all special," Martin said. "The first one was special for obvious reasons, but I think this one's special because of the way we did it. With the people we had coming back, we were the favored team all season. Everybody we faced was gunning for us and our guys were under a great deal of pressure this season.

"But they stepped up and really responded to every challenge they faced this season. They worked extremely hard in practice and I think that hard work paid off for them in the end." The Warriors simply dominated Class 3A, beating archrival Jefferson City Helias by 42 1/2 points last weekend at the Hearnes Center in Columb ia. And the Crusaders weren't bad; they earned 10 state medals Saturday. But West placed seven wrestlers in the finals and won three titles Saturday. "The really great thing about this team was that we always seemed to have six or seven guys who could carry us," Martin said. "Our lineup was solid from top to bottom. Sure, we had some guys we relied on more than others, but everyone on this team contributed over the course of the season." The Warriors were led throughout the season by seniors Tim Michel, Charlie Rallo and Lance Wilson. Michel (40-0) finished as an undefeated state champion at 130, defeating defending 125-pound champion Lukie Christian of Mexico 16-12 in the title match Saturday. Michel, who won the 3A title at 119 as a sophomore, slipped to third at 130 a year ago but used that disappointment as his motivation this season. Rallo (41-1) capped a phenomenal career with his third consecutive state title. He was a state runner-up at 119 as a freshman, won at 135 as a sophomore and 145 last year. He won 18-5 over Raymore-Peculiar's Mike Copleland in the title match at 171 Saturday. "It's like Tim and Charlie are on automatic pilot," Martin said. "They're both talented, experienced wrestlers. They were our leaders all season and they stepped up again at state." The same could be said of Wilson (34-4), who beat Dexter's Andy Anderson 6-1 in the title match at 189 Saturday. …

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