By ERIC X. VICCARO
CEDAR HILL — For three Ste. Genevieve High School girls’ wrestlers, it’s destination sectionals.
The Dragons’ Maggie Myracle (195-pound weight class), Izzy Basler (127) and Autumn Basler (117) all qualified for the Section 1 Meet set for St. Clair High School on Feb. 20.
“I thought we had a good chance of advancing at least half,” Ste. Genevieve head coach Jared Bonnell said. “I thought all of our girls wrestled tough. These athletes work so hard, and you hate to see their seasons end.”
Bonnell was especially proud of Autumn Basler, who has progressed through the past couple of weeks, gaining momentum while at the district meet at Northwest High School this past Saturday.
Autumn, who was the champion in her weight class at the Southeast Missouri Regional Wrestling Conference tournament in Jackson last month, has received many challenging matches from Isabella Hartwell of DeSoto.
Hartwell had pinned Basler in 2:41 during a Jan. 26 quadrangular at Peggy J. Johnson Gymnasium, spoiling Autumn’s Senior Night.
Basler wasn’t about to be denied this time around, pinning Hartwell in 4:33 in advancing to those sectionals. Autumn has compiled a 12-4 record this season.
Izzy Basler (25-6) advanced through to the semifinals with a pair of byes, followed by a third-period fall over Herculaneum’s Eddyson Reeves (4:36).
Basler pushed Lindbergh’s Kaylin Homfeld into the second period. However, Homfeld scored a pin at the 2:57 mark of the bout.
Maggie Myracle, along with Izzy Basler a 2020 state qualifier, continues her dominance — with just one loss on the season.
Myracle, who claimed a post-season district championship a year ago, wrestled formidable rival Brooke Bennett of North County once again.
Myracle came out on top with a 6-2 decision, recording a five-point scoring combination during the third period to prevail.
“Izzy and Maggie finished their tournaments strong,” Bonnell explained. “We are hoping to get in a good push this week, so we are ready to go for the sectional meet.”
Dakotah Meadows won one bout in the 122-pound group, punning Hannah Kamp of DeSoto in just 1:38. Meadows finished the season with a 12-14 record.
Paityn Basler (107) suffered losses in both of her matches, including a tight 6-4 decision against Seckman’s Shelby Lundstrom.
The Missouri State High School Activities Association state meet will take place on March 9 at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence.
The run to state begins for the boys this week, with Ste. Genevieve set for the Class 2 District 1 Tournament on Saturday at Foulon Field House in Park Hills.
Meanwhile, Valle Catholic competes in Class 1 District 1 at New Madrid County Central High School.
Last year, Warriors’ Kaden Gegg (106) and Josh Bieser (145) were state qualifiers — and now both are looking to make history as state placers.
“For Josh and Kaden, I think they can approach this district and sectional tournament with more confidence,” Valle Catholic head coach Jacob Gegg said. “They both have been here before.”
Gegg said he’s confident the whole team can advance to the Class 1 sectional tournament set for Feb. 27 at Palmyra.
The top-four wrestlers from each district will advance to sectionals, a new component added this year because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
“I believe they are all really excited for the tournament,” Bonnell said. “They have been working hard the past couple of weeks, and are anxious to get to wrestle someone other than their teammates. The seniors have a good mindset right now.”
The Dragons are paced by three experienced seniors in Dalton McNeal (126), Nathan Selby (138) and Kaleb Myracle (160). McNeal is a two-time state placer, and Gross placed last year when the state meet was in Columbia.
Gage Gross (106), Gavin Gross (132), Levi Wiegand (152), Dale Propst (220) and heavyweight Ryan Schmelzle were all state qualifiers last season — and they know what to expect this weekend.
“I am confident in all of our wrestlers making the sectional meet,” Bonnell said. “We will have to wrestle really well, and beat some people that we’re not supposed to. I believe in every one of them.”
The Class 2 sectional meet will take place right here in Ste. Genevieve on Feb. 27.