Four area wrestlers prepare for 1st girls state tournament

The Missouri State High School Activities Association released the bracket for its inaugural girls wrestling tournament.

With no district champions coming from the Class 1 District 4 tournament, the four area wrestlers in the field will have some tough matchups early on.

In the 116-pound class, Platte County’s Avery Krahenbill and Mid-Buchanan’s Haley Sampson both have first-round matches. Krahenbill (15-6) draws Rockwood Summit’s Lillian Wallis, who is 17-3 and was under ‘receiving votes’ in the most recent rankings.

The winner of that match draws St. Charles’ Caitlyn Thorne in the quarterfinals. The wrestler, who is 33-4, got a first-round bye.

Sampson, a North Platte student, draws Sikeston’s Kate Grubbs in a battle of ninth-graders. Grubbs is 19-3 and Sampson is 10-3.

The winner moves on to the quarterfinals where No. 1-ranked Lizzie Miller of Buffalo, 21-1, awaits.

Park Hill South’s Finley Bickford (15-7) will battle Versaille’s Bethany Howard (16-6) in the opening round of the 136-pound class.

The winner of that will face St. James’ Heather Pankey (13-1), who got a bye in the quarterfinals. Pankey is ranked No. 3 in this weight class.

The toughest draw locally goes to Platte County’s KayLyn Munn, who is 10-5 after taking third place last week. She faces off against Ryan Schlereth of Hancock, who is 15-2 and ranked No. 1 in the 187-pound class. The winner faces off against Ritenour’s Geraldine Flores, ranked No. 3 and is 23-1.

Regardless of the outcome, Munn will become a footnote in the history books as part of a father-daughter state qualifiers. Her dad, Jason, was a state champion at Kirksville before later wrestling for Missouri.