Wildcat wrestlers looking for another strong district showing

By: 
Derrick Forsythe
Record Staff Writer

Last year during its first season in existence, the Wright City wrestling program qualified half of its district competitors for the state meet.

It was a considerable accomplishment for such a green group of athletes.

Coach Billy Garrett would love to see the same happen this year, but he realizes that would mean doubling the number, as perhaps the program’s biggest success this year has been growth. After taking only six wrestlers to districts last February, the Wildcats will put 12 grapplers on the mats during the district tournament at Mexico High School on Saturday.

“It’ll be very difficult for us to match what we did last year and take half our team to state, but it’s been great to see the program grow this year,” said Garrett. “We moved up a class, so that’s made it more competitive. We’ve had a pretty good season for being only our second year and were able to fill a lot more weight classes this time.”

The Wildcats do have some hopeful prospects battling for a trip to the MSHSAA Championships in Columbia.

Freshman David Rice has amassed an impressive 35-10 record during his debut in the 120-pound weight class.

“He’s been wrestling since he was about four years old, and he’s had some good tournament finishes this year,” said Garrett.

Rice finished first at Priory and second at the St. Charles Tournament.

Senior Bobby Ullua has the most wins on the team with a 40-11 mark this season at 145 pounds. He will be making his second trip to state, after coming home without a win last year.

“He qualified last year at 138 and was probably our closest to getting a win at state,” said Garrett.

If healthy, Deshon Johnson could also present a heavyweight threat for the Wildcats during districts. His status heading into the weekend is still uncertain, but his 28-6 record would likely seed him on the top half of the bracket.

“Those are probably our main three that have the best chance at qualifying,” said Garrett.

Other competitors that have faired well for the Wildcats this season are David Riggs at 106 pounds with a 32-11 record and senior Curtis Hunter with a 22-12 record at 152 pounds.

“David is undersized for our district, so that will be tough,” said Garrett. “Curtis has gotten a lot stronger than last year and should be able to get a couple wins at districts.”

Last year the Wildcats’ Donovan Holmes represented Wright City in the girls state championship, but this year the program had no girl competitors.

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