Jefferson City wrestler Jeremy Hudson has owned Hickman’s Zach Arnold.
Although Arnold has kept every match between the 171 pounders within three points, he is 0-4 against Hudson this season.
Saturday’s Class 3 Sectional 3 tournament in Jefferson City will give Arnold (27-6) not only an opportunity to win his second consecutive title, but possibly also one last chance at redemption against Hudson.
The tournament starts at 10 a.m.
Arnold advanced to the sectional tournament by winning the District 5 title Saturday in St. Charles. Hudson won the District 6 title the same day in Springfield. Those who placed in the top four of their weight class at the district tournament will compete in the sectional tournament at Jefferson City. Anyone in the top four Saturday will advance to the state tournament Feb. 19-21 at Hearnes Center.
Although Arnold said he has thought about the possibility of facing Hudson again, he is trying not to dwell on it.
“He’s just another wrestler,” Arnold said. “You can’t overlook anybody.”
Hickman coach Doug Black said Hudson should not be foremost on Arnold’s mind.
“We’re not going to worry about him until we get to him,” Black said.
Arnold said he is focusing on helping prepare teammates Jordan Lanham (103), Kevin Croom (130) and Tony Accurso (160) for the tournament. None has advanced passed the district level before.
“We’re definitely going to influence them, get them going,” Arnold said. “It can be kind of scary at first.”
Lanham (25-17) finished third at the district tournament. Croom (23-17) and Accurso (20-13) finished second.
Heavyweight Luke Harper (30-10) and Tony Pescaglia (112) join Arnold as the other Kewpies with experience beyond the district tournament.
Pescaglia (35-5) won the 112 district title Saturday and won a sectional title at 103 last year. Harper finished second at the district tournament and second at last year’s sectional tournament.
Black said his team’s performance in the final rounds last weekend was disappointing. Although five Kewpies advanced to the finals, only two won titles. Black said the late loses could have been avoided
“We just need to limit the mental mistakes,” Black said.
Hickman will not be able to afford mistakes if it hopes to overtake Jefferson City, which won the Hickman Invitational in January with 291 points. Hickman placed seventh with 111.
All 14 Jefferson City wrestlers advanced to the sectional tournament and 10 won titles as the Jays won their district with 279.5 points.
Hickman finished fourth in its district with 105 points.