High school state wrestling tournament under way

Thursday, February 14, 2008 | 10:46 p.m. CST; updated 4:30 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — Under the weather, but on top on the mat, Rock Bridge’s Taylor Crane and Hickman’s Vince Pescaglia posted wins in their first matches Thursday at the Missouri wrestling championships at Mizzou Arena.

Pescaglia. a 112-pound junior, missed school and practice on Wednesday with a head cold, but was able to overcome that with a 6-2 victory where he was in control the entire match.

“He rode the kid pretty well through the first two periods,” Hickman coach J.D. Coffman said.

In today’s quarterfinal, Pescaglia, 24-0, will face a tough opponent in Oak Park junior Cody Tyler. Tyler is 33-7 this season and finished second in state last year at 103 pounds.

Fellow Hickman senior, 152-pound Drae Cox, also won his first-round match, posting a 14-4 victory over Kirk Moore of Hazelwood West. Cox was coming off his first loss of the season, which occurred in the final of last weekend’s district meet. Coffman said he was happy to see Cox have a quality match, but Cox said he wasn’t completely satisfied with his performance.

“I don’t think I wrestled my best,” Cox said.

This afternoon, Cox will face Winnetonka sophomore Dan Capp, who pulled off a minor first-round upset in the quarterfinals. Cox, 43-1, said he faced Capp two years ago, but hasn’t wrestled against him since.

Rock Bridge 145-pound senior Kyle Lewis and 103-pound sophomore Will Evans also returned to the state finals, but both lost in the first round ending their chance at a state title. However, they did win their wrestleback matches and both will have opportunities to place as high as third in their weight classes.

The 140-pound Crane, a senior, remains the only hope for Rock Bridge to end their 11-year drought without a state wrestling champion. Crane will wrestle today against DeSmet’s Jim Layton, who carries a 46-2 record into the match. Crane is 36-3.

“Taylor has a great chance tomorrow,” Rock Bridge coach Brook Harlan said, “but his first opponent tomorrow (Layton) has already beaten him this season.”

In his first match, Crane pinned his opponent, Park Hill’s Preston Crouse, with 41 seconds left in the first period. Harlan said that Crane looked like a man on a mission, even though he wasn’t feeling well.

In the biggest upset of the day at Mizzou Arena, Oak Park heavyweight Elijah Madison lost to McCluer junior Wesley Bell. Even with eight mats of matches going on at once, much of the crowd was focused on this match. After the upset was complete, many fans stood up and cheered Bell’s effort. Madison, a senior, carried a 39-0 record and a third-place finish from last year’s state finals into the match. Bell was 17-8 before the 4-2 upset win.

Action, including the semifinals, continues at 1:30 p.m. today for both schools.

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