The challenge looks a little different for Team Missouri entering the 26th annual Metro Classic next week.
The Show-Me State owns five straight wins and seven out of eight in the annual senior all-star showcase dual with Kansas. After a dominant 35-16 victory last year, Missouri owns a 17-8 all-time mark in the event, riding a run of dominance.
Missouri doesn’t appear to have the same overwhelming firepower this time around.
At state two weeks ago, five four-time state champions were crowned in Missouri, but two were from Father Tolton Catholic and two others hailed from St. Louis. That leaves Kearney senior Clay Singh as the lone four-timer in the Metro lineup, while Platte County’s Cody Phippen (3x) and Summit Christian’s Brett Campbell (2x) are the only other multiple-time champions.
Missouri has five of 14 wrestlers in the lineup with no state finals experience (Kansas has just four), and three of those have no state medals.
Platte County leads the way with four participants for Missouri. Phippen, Austin Kincaid, Dakota Schmidt and Sage Smart will be the largest contingent in a single Metro Classic for the Pirates, who will up their total to 27 participants. This group breaks the school record of three from 2014 (Matthew Schmitt, Ethan Karsten and Johnny Blankenship) and 2002 (Brett Rolofson, Jake Fisher and Chase Verdoorn).
Other schools with multiple participants include Blue Springs (3; Jett Merlo, Brett Heil and Zach Hazen) and Staley (Lane Burch and Dan Mangold).
Park Hill will not have multiple participants for the first time since 2014, but Weston DiBlasi will be in the lineup at 126. He joins older brother Colston DiBlasi (2015) on Park Hill’s list of 29 Metro Classic participants.
Last season, Missouri won six straight matches after an opening loss to take a commanding 23-3 lead. Kansas surged back, but Platte County’s Casey Jumps scored a pin at 220 to seal Missouri’s fifth straight win.
The event returns to the Kansas City (Kan.) Community College gym with wrestling set to start at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6. Tickets are $10 in advance from team members, $12 online and $15 at the door.
There will also be limited tickets available to active members of the military and veterans. Info can be found here.
Join in tomorrow at MissouriWrestling.com for weight-by-weight matchups. Read details about both the Missouri and Kansas wrestler’s credentials. Kansas is going to bring a very tough squad, will Missouri be able to keep up?