4 Kewpies earn state berths

Tony Pescaglia is the only Hickman wrestler to win a sectional title.
Sunday, February 15, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:27 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

JEFFERSON CITY — After the fifth installment of the Zach Arnold-Jeremy Hudson series, Arnold hasn’t found an ending he likes.

Arnold, a Hickman wrestler, lost to Jefferson City’s Hudson in the 171-pound finals of the Class 3 Sectional 3 Tournament at Jefferson City High on Saturday. Hudson’s 2-1 victory was his fifth win against Arnold this season.

Each of their matches have been decided by three points or fewer.

“It’s really disappointing,” Arnold said.

Although this might not have been the way Arnold hoped to leave the sectional tournament, he has a chance to obtain a happy ending.

Arnold and three teammates advanced to the state championship tournament by finishing in the top four of their weight class. The state tournament is Thursday-Saturday at Hearnes Center. Tony Pescaglia (112) won a title, Tony Accurso (160) finished third and Kevin Croom (130) finished fourth.

Although Hickman coach Doug Black said he was happy to see four of the six Kewpies competing at the sectional tournament advance, he was hoping they could all move on.

“We lost some tough, heartbreaking matches,” Black said.

Although Arnold (29-7) advanced, his loss might have been the most heartbreaking. Arnold used an escape in the first period against Hudson (38-6) to go up 1-0.

The match went to 1-1 in the second period when Arnold was called for stalling, a call Black and Arnold disputed.

“I feel like he was doing most of the stalling,” Arnold said.

With 1:32 left, Hudson escaped Arnold’s grasp to go up 2-1 and held on to win.

Arnold said he has to get the loss out of his mind.

“After tonight, I just have to forget about everything and prepare myself mentally (for the state tournament),” Arnold said. “I’ll be wrestling totally different guys.”

Pescaglia a state tournament veteran

Pescaglia, sixth at the state tournament last year at 103, seems to be ready to move on. Pescaglia (37-5) pinned his first two opponents Saturday and beat Jefferson City’s Nolan Smith 13-0 to win his second consecutive sectional title.

“He’s on a mission right now,” Black said.

Accurso (23-14) also drew praise from Black, who said Accurso is peaking at the right time.

“He could be a sleeper at the state tournament,” Black said.

Accurso, a senior who has never reached the state tournament, said he was anxious before the 10-3 win against Lebanon’s Seth Durbin that qualified him for the state tournament.

“I had beat the kid twice before. but I was still really nervous,” Accurso said.

Jordan Lanham (103) and heavyweight Luke Harper were the only Kewpies not to advance.

Lanham lost 7-2 to Joplin’s Brandt Loyd in the semifinals of the losers’ bracket, and Francis Howell’s Nathan Crossett pinned Harper, who qualified for the state tournament last year, in the same round.

“They’ll be back,” Black said.

Lanham (25-20) is a freshman, and Harper (31-12) is a junior.

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