KANSAS CITY – For years, the Class 4 District 4 Championships have been regarded as the toughest state-qualifying tournament in the state.
Last season alone, the district produced six individual state champions. And between Park Hill and defending state champion Staley, the district has been the home of Missouri’s top big class team for years.
This season’s showcase on Friday, Feb. 9, and Saturday, Feb. 10, at Staley High School definitely lived up to the hype. The 2018 edition of the tournament featured a team title chase that went all the way down to the final match of the night, and several highly anticipated title bouts could set the table for rematches at the state tournament – perhaps even in the state finals.
Park Hill reclaimed the district team crown thanks to Johnny Wilson’s victory in the heavyweight championship match, pushing the Trojans past the host Falcons, 243-241.5. Despite having to settle for runner-up honors, Staley finished with a tournament-high 12 state qualifiers, led by the brother duo of Zach and Rocky Elam, both of whom picked up milestone victories during the tournament – Zach his 200th win of his illustrious high school wrestling career and Rocky with career-win No. 100.
But the tournament highlights were not limited to the action on the mat. Former Staley head coach Gary Mayabb made an appearance at the event and was honored before the final round as the 2016-17 Missouri High School Wrestling Coach of the Year by the National Federation of State High School Associations. Mayabb left his post at Staley after last year’s state championship season to serve as Manager of Greco-Roman Programs for USA Wrestling, the national governing body for the sport in the United States.
So who’s heading to state? Here’s a complete breakdown of each weight class and the four state qualifiers in each division.
106: As expected, defending state champion Jeremiah Reno of Liberty successfully defended his district title, moved his record to 39-0 on the season, and remained undefeated in his high school career. Reno and Blue Springs’ Korbin Shepherd pinned their ways through the bracket to reach the finals where Reno secured a convincing victory by decision, 7-2. Oak Park’s Coleton Tunstill pinned Lamar Stewart of Raytown in the third-place match.