Missouri Military Academy wrestlers travelled to Lafayette High School in Higginsville, Missouri, on Saturday, February 18, 2023, for the Class I District 3 wrestling tournament. The top four wrestlers in each weight class qualify for state and continue to the state tournament on February 23-24 at Mizzou Arena, University of Missouri-Columbia. This 15-team district is referred to as “The Meat Grinder” because it is one of the most difficult districts to compete in with a large number of top state contenders. The MMA cadets had a good showing at the district tournament but fell short of achieving any state qualifiers.
Centralia High School earned the team championship, with Brookfield in second place. Other teams in the tournament included Trenton, Father Tolton, Marceline, North Callaway, Richmond, Penny, Lafayette County, Gallatin, Palmyra, Polo, Carrollton, and Lexington.
The Colonels top performers of the two-day tournament who went deep into the back bracket and had at least one recorded pin included freshman Cadet Sam Stevens at 126, senior Cadet Alex Snyder at 138, senior Cadet Gabe Canonico at 157, and sophomore Cadet Adam Swenson at 190.
Despite finishing with no state qualifiers this year, MMA wrestlers had a successful season. They recorded 17 team wins, one more than last year’s record-breaking 16. Senior Bryson Powell at 150 was able to hit the 30-win mark, earning him membership in the elusive “30-win club.” Below, Coach Allen congratulates Cadet Powell.
Another mark of an individual’s success is to gain membership in the “20-win club.” Several cadets hit that 20-win mark:
- Matthew Pfeifer at 106 with 26 wins
- Deonte Kerns at 106 and 113 with 22 wins
- Samuel Stevens at 126 with 21 wins
- Ryan Miles at 132 with 26 wins
- Alex Snyder at 138 with 22 wins
- Trae Griffiths at 144 with 25 wins
- Gabe Canonico at 157 with 22 wins.
Seven other cadets had a .500 or better varsity record.
Several cadets hit double digits in pins for the season: Stevens with 14, Miles with 14, Snyder with 12, Griffiths with 18, Powell with 12, and Canonico with 17.
According to Coach Tom Allen, the Colonels wrestling team continues to show improvement every year.
“We have to rise to the challenge of our tough districts and get our wrestlers prepared for that level of competition,” Allen said. “The team’s growth has been a process, and although we are still a young team, the process is working. The mental and physical toughness of this team has been a top priority, and our cadets go out each match and wrestle tough. They don’t quit. That is a great foundation to build upon.”