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Columbia wrestlers take first steps toward state titles

Sunday, February 10, 2008 | 2:05 a.m. CST; updated 10:05 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 20, 2008
Hickman junior Vince Pescaglia, right, tries to take down Blue Spring’s Keenan Hagerty in the 112-pound weight class Saturday.

JEFFERSON CITY — Rock Bridge’s Will Evans, Kyle Lewis and Taylor Crane will join Hickman’s Drae Cox and Vince Pescaglia in their quest for a wrestling state titles.

The five wrestlers who qualified over the weekend at the Class 4, District 3 Meet will represent the Bruins and Kewpies in the state tournament beginning Thursday at Mizzou Arena. The wrestlers had to finish in the top four of their weight classes at the district meet.

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Pescaglia, 21-0 at 112 pounds, used an unconventional method to win his weight class Saturday at Jefferson City High School. He defeated Blue Springs’ freshman Keenan Hagerty 8-4 in the championship match with a few unique moves.

“I tried to stay in the middle of the mat, and it wasn’t working,” Pescaglia said. “I came at him with some funk.”

Coach J.D Coffman laughed when he heard that Pescaglia described his style that way.

“He wraps his legs around in a crazy position,” Coffman said.

Cox was undefeated going into the championship match at his weight class, but was defeated 9-2 by another undefeatedwrestler, Troy Buchanan senior Brian Oechsner.

Cox’s goal all season long has been to go undefeated as state champ, and while the undefeated part is no longer possible, he can still win a state title . The only difference Cox’s loss has on the state meet is that he will be seeded lower.

“It hurt his pride a little bit,” Coffman said.

In his semifinal win that qualified him for state, Rock Bridge’s Evans, a 103-pound sophomore, was tied 4-4 after the three two-minute rounds were over. “My body was tired, but I had the momentum,” Evans said, “and I knew I had two hours until the final match so I laid it all on the line.”

Evans used a takedown in the overtime round that was similar to one he had used earlier in the match. The takedown gave him two points and a spot in the state finals.

Joining Evans in the state finals will be Bruins seniors Crane and Lewis, who extended their high school wrestling careers by one more week. Crane won the 140-pound weight class. Lewis finished fourth in the 145-pound class after stumbling early in the day and losing again in the third-place match.


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