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California Wrestling sends three to State Tournament

First female qualifier goes to state by Evan Holmes | March 1, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Senior DJ Schneider (left) and Junior Alexis Anguiano (right) qualified for the State 1 Boys Wrestling Tournament on Feb. 18 at the district championship. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)

The California Pintos and Lady Pintos had been working hard for months to get to their Class 1 District Wrestling Tournaments.

The Lady Pintos went first Feb. 10-11 at North Point High School in Wentzville. Camryn Wingate, a junior, made school history as the first female wrestler to qualify for state in the 100-pound weight class with a third-place district finish.

Wingate went 5-1 on the weekend, with her only loss coming to the eventual district champion in the quarterfinals. She won her blood round match 10-5 to ensure her berth in the state tournament, then won by fall in the third-place match.

"Camryn wrestled the best she has all season at the district tournament," California coach John Heimann said. "We had a plan at the beginning of the tournament and she executed it perfectly."

The Lady Pintos also sent sophomores Sonya Grotjan and Ivy Scroggins to the district tournament.

Grotjan lost both of her matches at districts. Heimann said Grotjan showed steady improvement since the start of the season.

Scroggins had been one of California's most consistent wrestlers throughout the year and went 4-2 at district, but just missed advancing to state.

"Sometimes it just doesn't go our way and that's what happened in her final match in the blood round where she lost by decision to a very talented girl from Marceline," Heimann said.

The boys took to the mat a week later at their district tournament at Versailles.

Alexis Anguiano at 215 pounds and DJ Schneider at 285 joined Wingate in representing California with third- and fourth-place finishes, respectively.

Anguiano went 4-1 to finish third. The junior won his first match by first-period fall, then posted a 7-2 decision to advance to the semifinal, where he lost by fall.

In his elimination match, Anguiano won by fall in just :30 to earn a berth at state. Anguiano was overcome by excitement and jumped into the arms of California's coaches, breaking Heimann's glasses in the process. He then won by decision in the third-place match.

"Alexis wrestled the best he has all season," Heimann said. "There were no surprises with his wrestling, when sometimes there is. He did a nice job of capitalizing on his opponents mistakes and knew when he needed to slow down and when it was time to turn it on. He came into the tournament as the No. 4 seed and was able to take third place."

Schneider qualified by finishing 2-2 at districts to finished fourth.

After a first-round bye, he won with a first-period fall in the quarterfinals before losing by fall in the semifinals. In the elimination round, Schneider won by fall in :57 before losing by fall in the third-place match.

"He has been our anchor this year where we usually know exactly what we are going to get from him," Heimann said. "DJ did exactly what we asked of him all year, he was focused and executed well."

Finishing 2-2 in the district tournament for California were Patrick Morrow and Tristan Balsley. Going 1-2 were Issac McCarty and Jackson Hensley. Jose Martinez, Jackson Barnard, Cody Schneider and Austin Suen all were 0-2.

"I am extremely proud of all of them and their accomplishments this season," Heimann said. "We had a lot of first-year wrestlers and/or freshman who at the beginning of the year, struggled to stay in a stance for two minutes. By the end of the year, they were scoring points against quality opponents and really starting to figure things out."

Wingate, Anguiano and Schneider went a combined 1-6 at the state tournament. Schneider picked up the lone victory for the Pintos.

Heimann was disappointed that the state tournament didn't got the way the California had hoped, but he was proud that his wrestlers continued to compete against stiff competition.

"At the beginning of the season, my goals were to fill a lineup and compete in duals," he said. "We were usually two weights short of filling it, but it was a big difference from last year. Because of that we were able to compete against good dual teams and keep scores close and within striking distance, so I am happy with that.

"Getting the kids into the room in the offseason and the summer will be huge in our programs development in order to get where we want to be at the end of next season. The kids love to wrestle and enjoy the process of getting better. They are tough and hate losing which is a good trait to have as a wrestler. The California wrestling program is still young and still growing, but the future is very bright for these boys and girls."

photo California's coaches Ryan Bruce (left) and John Heimann (right) watch the action of the boys district tournament on Feb. 17. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Junior Alexis Anguiano went 4-1 at the district tournament on Feb. 17 and Feb. 18 to qualify for the state tournament. Including this pin-down win over Diamond. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Junior Alexis Anguiano won third place in the 215lb weight class and went for 4-1 in the district tournament to qualify for the Class 1 State Tournament. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Sophomore Patrick Morrow won two elimination matches at the Class 1 District 2 Tournament in Versailles.(Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Freshman Tristan Balsley went 2-2 at the Class 1 District 2 Tournament. Including winning his second match by fall in 39 seconds. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Freshman Jose Martinez wrestles against his opponent from Versailles at the Class 1 District 2 Tournament in Versailles. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Freshman Isaac McCarty won his first match in the Class 1 District Tournament on Feb. 17. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Freshman Jackson Barnard wrestles against Versailles at the Class 1 District 2 Tournament. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)
photo Junior Austin Suen wrestles against El Dorado Springs at the district tournament. (Democrat photo/Evan Holmes)

Print Headline: California Wrestling sends three to State Tournament


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