COLUMBIA — Just one away.
Hickman senior Vince Pescaglia (46-2) is now one win away from a state title after a dominating victory in the semifinals of the MSHSAA state wrestling meet on Friday at Mizzou Arena. He defeated Seckman sophomore Denny Kleinschrodt (40-5) by a score of 9-2.
“I let it all go. I was like ‘I gotta wake up’ after he got the two,” Pescaglia said, who took control of the semifinal match after a slow start.
One more win would allow Vince Pescaglia to join his two older brothers, Tony and K.C., as a winner of a coveted state title. His brothers both won two titles apiece.
“I think the pressure is off him. I think his goal was to make it to the state finals,” Hickman coach J.D. Coffman said. “Winning it would be icing on the cake.”
One would assume Pescaglia may feel a little extra pressure trying to live up to his brother’s accomplishments. Pescaglia sees it differently.
“I don’t really feel any extra pressure, just extra motivation,” he said.
Earlier on Saturday, Pescaglia beat Liberty sophomore Gage Shaddox (41-9) 4-2 in the quarterfinal match. A takedown in the third period gave Pescaglia the win. Vince’s brother Tony, who is usually on the mat coaching with Coffman, had to miss his brother’s quarterfinal match because of a college exam.
“He kept texting my mom in the middle of class with questions marks during my match,” Pescaglia said of Tony’s absence.
Pescaglia’s semifinal match against Kleinschrodt was the second time the two have met this season. Pescaglia snuck by Kleinschrodt 2-1 in a match at the Parkway South tournament in December.
Beating his next opponent won’t come easy.
Awaiting Pescaglia on Saturday in the state finals is two-time state champion Alan Waters, who is from Park Hill. In 2007, Waters won the state title in the 103-pound division, and last year he won at 112. This year Waters is going for the title at 119. Pescaglia knows what lies ahead.
“I gotta wrestle my match, and stay aggressive,” Pescaglia said. “He (Waters) is ranked seventh in the nation.”
At 4:30 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena, Pescaglia will try to win one not only for himself, but also for the Pescaglia family legacy.
“It would be pretty special. To have three brothers win state championships would be really awesome,” Coffman said.