Aaron Brady has one more shot, and the Hickman wrestling team’s 160-pounder doesn’t intend to waste it.
Injuries have plagued the senior throughout his Kewpies career: a broken foot his freshman year, a broken nose his sophomore year and an ankle injury last year.
“They’ve all happened right in the middle of the season,” he said. “So they’ve held me back, right when I should be peaking.”
Brady has had to watch as teammates have experienced the success he said injuries have kept him from having. Fellow senior K.C. Pescaglia, and his older brother Tony Pescaglia, who is now wrestling at Missouri, both won state championships last year, and junior Drae Cox also turned in a successful season, coming one win away from advancing to the state tournament.
Brady says his teammates’ success motivated him.
“Right now, I’m more determined than ever to continue on to state and do well there,” he said.
That determination has shown in Hickman’s first two duals of the season. Brady is 2-0 with two pins, disposing of Kirksville’s Jeremiah Smith in just 35 seconds and following that up with another pin against Helias.
Brady and his teammates are preparing for a long weekend.They will compete in the Missouri Duals at Helias tonight and Saturday. The Kewpies will compete in seven duals over the two days. They will take on Blue Springs and Jefferson City starting at 5 tonight when the tournament gets under way.
When the tournament resumes at 10 a.m. Saturday, Hickman will square off against Granite City from Illinois before facing off against Francis Howell, Raymore-Peculiar and McCluer North. Hickman’s final dual opponent will depend on how they do in the first six.
The tournament features gold and blue divisions. After the first six matches, the teams with the best records in each division will compete in the championship match, with the second-place teams in each division battling for third place, and so on.
Hickman coach J.D. Coffman said this weekend will be a tough test for his team.
“It’s pretty exhausting,” he said. “By the second day, they’re getting pretty worn down. “And the competition is definitely going to be the next step up.”
Coffman said the Kewpies have had several inexperienced wrestlers step up and provide unexpected wins in the first duals, and that they will have to continue to get success from those wrestlers to be competitive with the teams they will match up with this weekend. One key for Hickman so far has been the success of junior Ian Reed, who has moved up in weight to fill a hole at 171 pounds and has won his first two matches as a member of the varsity team.
“I’m very surprised with what I’ve done so far,” Reed said. “I’ve been wrestling really hard in practice and doing the best I can with guys who are a lot better than me. Drae Cox is great, I love wrestling with him, and get a lot of experience. For my first year on varsity, I’m doing the best I can.”
While the Kewpies will depend on young wrestlers like Reed, they already have a hungry senior leader in Brady.
“I really think I have a good chance of placing at state this year, so that’s one of my major goals,” he said. “That, and not getting injured.”