By ERIC VICCARO
SULLIVAN — Ste. Genevieve High School boys’ wrestlers enjoyed the creature comforts of home last year on the way to the state tournament.
That won’t be the case in 2022.
The Dragons will travel to Sullivan High School for the Missouri State High School Activities Association Class 2 District 1 Tournament, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday this week.
Five wrestlers are set to spearhead Ste. Genevieve’s efforts at the district meet, all of them are previous state qualifiers.
Bryant Schwent (113), Gavin Gross (132), Levi Wiegand (152), Ethan Ogden (170) and heavyweight Ryan Schmelzle will bring plenty of experience to the mat this weekend.
Gross has enjoyed a memorable senior year, which included reaching and then surpassing the 100-win plateau. Schwent has compiled a 31-10 record (24 pins, four major decisions). Ogden is 36-17 with 27 pins and two major decisions. Wiegand has won 11 matches this season by pin.
Ste. Genevieve head coach Jared Bonnell said there are plenty of challenging teams that will square off against the Dragons.
Host Sullivan fields a complete squad. St. Clair has what Bonnell termed “hammers” throughout several classes. Nearby schools Dexter and Park Hills Central also have wrestlers sure to qualify for the state meet.
The top four wrestlers in all 14 weight classes will qualify for state, which returns to Mizzou Arena in Columbia this year — from Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 17-19.
Bonnell said the Dragons’ line-up will have some changes, in part due to some wrestlers being cleared to compete.
“Everybody has a shot to make it to the state tournament,” Bonnell noted.
At this time of year, wrestlers and coaches make tough decisions, including whether to bump up or go down in weight.
This marks the first time Sullivan will serve as district tournament host.
• Ste. Genevieve wrapped up the regular season with a road dual against Farmington. The Knights used their edge on experience to win, 49-24.
Evan Winters registered a second-period pin over Nate Schnur in 3:54 in a bout at 145 pounds.
Ogden, at 182 pounds, needed 1:13 to dispatch William Rodgers.
Two other Dragons also secured wins, with Dalton McBride pinning Rowdy Vaughn in 1:23 and Schmelzle was extended into the third period before pinning Peyton Simily in 5:42.