Platte County sends seven to state; Park Hill wins district and qualifies eight; Park Hill South sends four and West Platte’s Rhodes still unbeaten

Platte County High School wrestling coach Reggie Burress admits Staley and Neosho are the teams to beat at this weekend’s state wrestling tournament in Columbia. But Burress also thinks his seven wrestlers making the trip could make some noise.

“Staley is loaded with 13 guys and Neosho has 14, so they’re the teams to beat,” he said. “But, overall, I thought our kids who qualified put themselves in a good position. Five of our seven have a great shot to do big things and the other two will have to step up their game, which they are capable of doing. If we wrestle the way we have been, we’ll be OK.” Platte County’s seven wrestlers qualified at the Class 3, District 4 meet last weekend at Staley High School, where the Pirates took third place overall with 133 points. Staley ran away with the team title with 252 points and Kearney finished second with 211. “We did pretty good at districts,” Burress said. “There are a couple of matches we would like to have back, but there always are.” Platte County qualifiers who will compete at Mizzou Arena Feb. 20-22 at the state meet includes sophomore 106-pounder Matthew Schmitt, who took first place at the district meet and ran his record to 50-1 on the season. He will head to Columbia with his sights set on a state title; he finished second last year. Joining Schmitt will be: senior Matthew Barmann, second at 113 pounds; sophomore Trey Dockery, fourth at 126; sophomore Ethan Karsten, third at 132; junior Caleb Crabtree, second at 138; sophomore Johnny Blankenship, fourth at 145 and junior Adam Muehlebach, fourth at 182. Schmitt, Karsten, Crabtree and Blankenship were also part of last year’s Platte County team that sent 11 wrestlers to state and took fifth place overall. Barmann, a three-time state qualifier, is making a return to the state meet after missing out last year. “I had such a tough district bracket last year and not making it really humbled me,” he said. “I’ve had a fire in my stomach all year – I want to be a part of something great. We’ve got seven guys going and some other teams have 13 or 14. If we wrestle like we’re capable of, our seven can match their 14.” Crabtree, who took third place at state last year, agreed. He also said he has eyes on the top prize. “It looks like we don’t have the numbers, but the seven guys we have going are pretty tough,” he said. “For me, I feel like this year and next year when I’m a senior, I’m going to be disappointed if I don’t make the finals.” PARK HILL HAS SIGHTS SET ON DEFENDING TITLE Park Hill ran away with the Class 4 District 4 Tournament last weekend at Blue Springs South High School with 195 team points, well clear of Lee’s Summit’s 160.5 points. The Trojans qualified eight wrestlers for this weekend’s Class 4 State Tournament at Mizzou Arena, where they will try and defend their 2013 state championship. Park Hill will also be seeking its seventh state title in the past 11 seasons. While first-year Trojans head coach Jeff Davis was happy with the team’s overall performance at the district meet, he lamented the fact that more of his wrestlers did not qualify for state. “I thought our team’s performance was good; I would like to have had a few more boys get through,” Davis said. Of Park Hill’s eight qualifiers, four were district champions. Junior 126-pounder Ke’Shawn Hayes remained undefeated with his first-place showing. Sophomore Sean Hosford won first at 126 pounds, senior John Erneste won the 132-pound bracket, and Colston DiBlasi took the title at 152 pounds. Joining them at state will be junior Ethan Koan, third at 113; sophomore Canten Marriott, second at 145; junior Emerson Gardner, fourth at 195; and junior Anthony Enriquez, second at 285.