Goodbye 2020, Hello 2021.
Let’s just dive right into it and go over the 112 names you need to know going into the 2021 Missouri boys high school wrestling scene.
- Aidan Hernandez, Francis Howell Central. 5th last year as a freshman and currently 17-1 at 152 this season with his lone loss coming from Kal Miller of Park Hill at the Lee’s Summit Holiday Invitational. Hernandez has 10 pins at this point in the season.
Hernandez carries a 4.22 GPA at Francis Howell Central. As a Freshman last year (2019-2020), Aidan was awarded the Ultimate Spartan Award for having the highest GPA on the Varsity Football Team, Varsity Wrestling Team, and the Varsity Baseball Team each. He is a 2x All-Conference/All-Academic Team for Football as well.
- AJ Rallo,Whitfield. State champ as a freshman with many wins over high-end opponents include Oklahoma University commit, Christian Forbes from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
By Sean Mael
#13 Jarrett Jacques or Keegan O’Toole vs. #22 Hunter Willits Thoughts: Depending on whoever looks better in their first match against ranked opposition could dictate who starts in this bout.
This should be a really competitive match, as Willits is a past 2x NCAA qualifier who went 17-4 whilst redshirting last season. He is a capable scrambler and will be highly motivated to start his senior campaign off right with a big win over either Tiger grappler.
I am going to guess O’Toole gets the nod here and we could be in for a really high scoring match. O’Toole does so many things well offensively and Willits is tough in every position. I see this one developing into a bit of a shootout.
Whoever has the better tank or mat savvy will likely win. I am going to go with O’Toole to win a tight one here. I would not be stunned to see Willits defeat either Tiger grappler. 157 at this quad is insanely tough. There will be no matches off for any of these competitors. Prediction: O’Toole Dec. #22 Willits 8-7 (MIZZ 15-0)
#8 Zach Elam vs. #15 Brandon Metz
Thoughts: This is the best match in the dual meet and it is a shame that the dual will likely be decided heading into this bout. This is a big match for Elam for end of the season tournament seeding.
Metz is a tremendous pinner from top or neutral and he pins a lot of overmatched heavyweights. Metz is solid on his feet, but Elam will have an agility edge here.
Metz is not very good historically on bottom against ranked competition and I think Elam’s length and leverage from top will give Metz fits. I look for Elam to wrestle a tactical match here and score early and ride tough on his way to a 4-0 type of score.
I just think Elam’s mat savvy will allow him to either avoid going under Metz or to escape quickly as he rolls to a huge win in a season which offers limited opportunities.
Prediction: #8 Elam Dec. #15 Metz 4-0 (MIZZ 26-6)
By Sean Mael
Noah Surtin or Connor Brown vs. #24 Daniel Vega
Thoughts: Missouri has at two wrestlers listed at nine of the ten weight classes and most guys will see at least one dual worth of action throughout the day.
Whoever ends up going for the Tigers at the lightest weight class, we should be in for a tremendous bout. Noah Surtin wrestles with tremendous pace and is really solid in utilizing underhooks and overhooks to pull into sweep singles and low doubles. Surtin is solid on the mat as well, Surtin is listed first in the game notes listed by Missouri, but I fully expect Brown to start in this dual for a couple of reasons.
The first reason I expect to see Brown in this dual is that he committed out of high school to wrestle at South Dakota State and was an NCAA qualifier for the Jackrabbits as a true freshman. Brown would ultimately follow Coach Chris Bono to Wisconsin, before coming back home to Missouri last season.
The next reason I think we see Brown here is that he took a 3-2 win over Surtin in a really competitive bout at Black and Gold. Brown is funky and is an excellent scrambler and pinner. He is tremendously tough on top and has a wide variety of turns including cradles, assassins and claw tilts out of a crab ride. Daniel Vega enters the season ranked for the Jackrabbits, coming off of a 24-10 season last year, in which he really emerged as a solid starter. In the past Vega was really small for the weight class, but he has had a lot of time to grow into a full sized 125 and horsepower is likely no longer an issue. Vega suffered an 8-6 defeat to Missouri reserve Cevion Severado last season at the South Beach Duals individual competition. ‘Vega rarely gets beaten badly and I expect this to be a close one.
Ultimately, I have Brown getting his season started right with a ranked win, that should help him push into the rankings sooner rather than later.
Prediction: Brown Dec. #24 Vega 6-4 (MIZZ 3-0)
#12 Matt Schmitt or Trey Crawford vs. #24 Zach Price
With the year coming to a close, there’s one big tournament going on during New Years Eve. The event is allowing 4 fans per wrestler, so to have fans in the stands in this one is a plus. The duals will be held at Fort Zumwalt North and Fort Zumwalt South Highschool. If wrestling in general wasn’t enough, there is a lot of talent in the field in this one and we’re here to break it down. The teams participating are Desmet, Fort Zumwalt North, Fort Zumwalt South, Lafayette (Wildwood), Lindbergh, St. Charles, Troy Buchanan, and Whitfield.
Some Guys to watch from each team:
120: Colton King – Returning state champ and state 3rd medalist in 2019 126: Jesse Hahs – State medalist in 2019, sat out in 2020 due to injury. HWT: Jacobi Jackson – 2x state finalist and returning state champ, ranked top 20 in the country.