By: Ross Martin
The Class 3 District 4 field does not appear as deep as usual.
Annually, this field provides the top contender to Neosho in the Class 3 Missouri State Wrestling Championships, and that might still be the case in 2020. Kearney looks to win the District 4 title for a third straight year with Smithville and to a lesser degree Platte County and Grain Valley the main challenges.
The contenders might look the same, but the balance in power for Class 3 at the state level might be shifting south — at least for this year.
Kearney is the unquestioned favorite this weekend at Belton High School with four returning district champions in a predictably deep lineup. Smithville and its two three-time state medalist seniors and a No. 1 ranked freshman will have the best shot to unseat the Bulldogs.
While Kearney has won the past two district championships, Smithville and Platte County combined to win the three prior team titles. In fact, Kearney, Smithville and Platte County have made up the top three in some order the past four years with Grain Valley coming in fourth each time.
What is different this year is the loss of Harrisonville to Class 2 and Smith-Cotton to Class 4, while Helias — a top-10 state finisher in 2018-2019 — also shifted out of the field. The loss of Helias coupled with the addition of first-year program Capital City and Lincoln Prep moving up from Class 2 with its standout sophomore due at the upper weights hurts the competitive balance, and Belton returns after a year in Class 4 with an almost completely revamped lineup after the graduation of a standout senior class.