Two Columbia wrestlers advance to state meet

Saturday, February 14, 2009 | 10:18 p.m. CST; updated 11:00 p.m. CST, Saturday, February 14, 2009

JEFFERSON CITY — Hickman and Rock Bridge wrestled tough at the Class 4, District 3 tournament this weekend at Jefferson City. However, the Kewpies and Bruins will only send one wrestler each to the high school state wrestling tournament next weekend at Mizzou Arena.

Hickman senior Vince Pescaglia won the 119-pound division and will go the state meet for the third straight year. Rock Bridge senior Thomas Senseman placed third in the 145-pound division to qualify for the first time.

Pescaglia won all three of his matches. Senseman went 4-1, winning his qualifying match with a takedown in he final third period.

Pescaglia said it feels like the end of a legacy. His brothers, Tony Pescaglia and K.C. Pescaglia, both won state titles for Hickman. Vince Pescaglia said he hopes to do the same and feels confident going into the tournament.

“It means a lot,” Vince Pescaglia said. “I’m the only one from Columbia to win the tournament. It means a lot to have the top position coming out of Columbia.”

Hickman did not come in with high expectations. Vince Pescaglia was the only wrestler the team felt was a lock to make the state tournament.

“I think the kids did a good job this weekend.,” Hickman coach J.D. Coffman said. “They improved, they listened to the things we told them to do this week in practice. They tried to do the things we practice, we just couldn’t come out on top. It’s a tough district.”

Taylor Adams (112 pounds), Will Evans (119), Elliot Rutter (160) and Charlie Stephenson (heavyweight) all came within a match of making the state tournament for Rock Bridge.

“We knew we were going to have to battle all the way through,” Rock Bridge coach Travis Craig said. “We wrestled well. It takes a lot to make it to the state championship.”

Rock Bridge has a young team and Craig said the experience they get this year will help them a lot next year. Senseman came very close to making the state tournament last year, but came one match short.

“I’m really excited about it,” Senseman said. “It’s been my goal since freshman year when I saw all the better wrestlers above me going to state.”

Senseman and Pescaglia both have high expectations, but they will be pulling for each other at the tournament.

“I’ve known Vince for a pretty long time,” Senseman said. “Hickman and Rock Bridge is a big rivalry, but we’re both from Columbia, so we’ll root for each other.”

The state tournament starts on Thursday and will end on Saturday.

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