By ERIC VICCARO
Valle Catholic High School wrestling continues incremental improvement as the years go by under head coach Jacob Gegg.
The Warriors claimed two district championships on Saturday afternoon during the Class 1 District 1 Tournament at Progress Sports Complex.
Four other Valle Catholic wrestlers advanced to state — Kaden Gegg (106), William Kuehn (120), Jacob Calbreath (195) and Noah Elbert (220).
So, when the wash was done, a record six Warriors qualified for the Missouri State High School Activities Association state meet set for Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 17-19 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia.
Josh Bieser, the 152-pound senior who joined the century club earlier this year and sports a 44-2 record, pinned Carson Safranski from North Callaway in 4:49.
Junior Joseph Flieg (132) also garnered a district championship by pin in 1:58, besting another North Callaway wrestler in A.J. Siegel. Flieg improved his record to an outstanding 37-7.
“I am extremely proud of those two young men,” Gegg said. “They continue to be great role models for our program on the mat and in the classroom.”
Gegg said both Flieg and Bieser have put in a lot of work during the past few years. They listened to the Valle Catholic coaching staff and were able to make style changes when necessary.
Gegg beamed about the record number of state qualifiers, and the Warriors’ second-place finish with 152 points — 70 behind stalwart North Callaway and its exemplary group of wrestlers, especially from 106-160 pounds.
“It’s a step in the right direction,” Gegg said. “I think we had the opportunity to get a few more to the state tournament, but just weren’t able to make it happen.”
Kaden Gegg (36-10) returns to state after missing out last year. Gegg reached the championship match in his weight class; but was pinned in 0:19 by Fatima’s Alek Tune.
In a battle of freshman at 132 pounds, Brentwood’s Jesse Lane was too good for William Kuehn — with the pin at 1:52. Regardless, Kuehn has shown great promise this season, and he’s put together a 27-16 record.
Cape Notre Dame’s Trey Schreckenberg pinned Jacob Calbreath at the 2:28 mark to win the 195-pound weight class. Calbreath enters the state meet at 30-5.
Noah Elbert battled back for third place at 220 pounds, with a second-period pin over Hyun Ge Lee of Cape Notre Dame (2:05).
Elbert (35-10) has produced a fine campaign.
These six Warriors have a great chance of reaching the podium at state, with North Callaway one of the schools to provide stiff ctition.
Other Valle Catholic wrestlers gained mat experience for the future, Conner Clanton (126), Gavyn Joggerst (138), Payton Heberlie (145), Eli Rowles (160), Jayce Bales (170), Tucker Bertrand (182) and heavyweight Espn Reed.
Gegg also commented on what it meant to Valle Catholic to serve as district host for the first time ever.
“I thought the entire process ran smoothly,” the coach commented. “We didn’t really have any hiccups that caused any delays. There were some serves wondering if we had everything covered that we needed to.”
Opposing fans, coaches and referees reportedly enjoyed Valle Catholic’s hospitality, so there’s a good chance the school will be chosen again to be a host.
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