By ERIC X. VICCARO
Both the Ste. Genevieve and Valle Catholic High School boys’ wrestling programs will take the next step on the playoff road this Saturday.
The Dragons will play the role of Class 2 sectional tournament host while the Warriors will make the two-hour plus drive to Palmyra for a Class 1 sectional.
“I love wrestling at home,” said Ste. Genevieve head coach Jared Bonnell. “It’s nice having an event that we don’t have to travel to right before state time, especially since we’re in Kansas City this year.
“There is always a mix of emotions from the wrestlers,” Bonnell continued. “Some love wrestling at home, and others don’t care. I enjoy the atmosphere of our home crowd and our gym. It gets me pumped up, and I usually can’t sleep the night before.”
Ste. Genevieve High School’s Peggy J. Johnson Gymnasium has served as the site of a scramble, a weekend dual tournament and several weekday duals throughout this 2020-21 season — which had been impact in a small way by the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.
Valle Catholic head coach Jacob Gegg is eagerly looking forward to taking the Warriors’ act on the road.
“I think we will handle it fine,” said Gegg, who scheduled a tournament at Hallsville in December for this very reason.
The top-3 wrestlers in each weight class from 106 pounds through heavyweight will qualify for the Missouri State High School Activities Association state meet at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence.
Ste. Genevieve has filled 12 of the 14 weight classes for its sectional; meanwhile, Valle Catholic will have nine wrestlers in action this weekend.
Both Bonnell and Gegg stated their wrestlers can’t overlook any opponent.
“At this point in the season, every school and kid in the brackets is a threat,” Bonnell said. “St. Clair and Sullvan and several others from other districts always have tough kids. Park Hills Central and Dexter will be ready, too. This should be a very competitive tournament.”