Mexico Lady Bulldogs Inaugural Season-Part 7
By: Jonathan Bowen
Snow days are inevitable in Missouri. Some years there are one or two. Other times you have one every week and sometimes even enough snow to cancel school for almost a week. Most students, and let us be honest, teachers enjoy them to a certain degree too, enjoy the occasional snow day during the winter months. However, when you’re a wrestling coach and wrestler, snow days can spell potential disaster, especially if this snow day is on a Friday with a tournament on Saturday. Routines are thrown off. The last practice to fine-tune anything before the competition, last-minute instructions, etc. all go out the window. Saturday was the last opportunity for anyone in Missouri to make their desired scratch weight in order to be eligible for that weight for the post-season. Coach Senor was acutely aware of this fact and intended to do everything a solid coach can do the day before a tournament. However, according to school policy at Mexico H.S., if there’s a snow day (or any other hazardous weather that cancels school) then there’s no practice in order to ensure the overall safety of the students.
During a brief interview with Coach Senor, he did express his frustrations of these facts but realizes that he can’t control the weather or school rules. He plays the cards he was dealt and uses this as a teachable moment with his young squad.
On Saturday the Mexico Lady Bulldogs began their day around 4:15 a.m. and traveled to Willard MO to compete in the Lady Tiger Pride Tournament. This is roughly a 400-mile roundtrip according to Google Maps. Solid competition as every school attending, except for District 4 opponent Centralia, were veteran teams. In fact, teams such as Monett and Marshfield had enough depth in their lineups that they brought their JV squads as well in order to give them some mat time.
The Lady Bulldogs finished in a tie for 6th place with 27.5 points. They were short-handed again in this meet as one of their teammates was still battling an illness.
Katherine Bowen placed 2nd at 107 lbs. weight class. She made weight for 102 lb weight class but Coach Senor bumped her up as she would have been guaranteed more matches for the day. If she had stayed, she would have only one opponent. She worked hard and even when faced with a setback (losing to the eventual champion in round four by pin), was able to reset and finish strong with the second-place finish. She finished 4-1 on the day with four pins of her own. One was against Centralia’s Tess Stevens, which is a District 4 opponent.
Abbigale Drew placed 3rd at 122 lbs. Coach Senor has constantly reminded himself that this young lady had only been wrestling since August. Setbacks are going to happen when a move that worked well for her in the matches earlier in the week and they don’t work against tougher competition. Coach Senor will continue to work with her as she continues to evolve as a wrestler on learning more than one move. She still finished in third place and walked away with another medal on the season.
Kaylynn Pehle placed 6th at 132 lbs. Following this team through their first season certain inevitable things are going to happen with this first-year squad. Learning and teachable moments and Kaylynn will find a new friend among her opponents. The key thing is that she listens. This is what wrestling is about when we take it off the mats. She was inches away on several matches during the tournament but her win didn’t come until the last round of the day. However, she kept listening to her coach and fixing the mistakes between matches so she didn’t make the same one twice. She put a full match together to notch an 8-4 victory.
Choice Foster placed 4th at 143 lbs. Choice is listening to her coach and believing. Before this tournament, she had yet to wrestle in the third period. Today she did. She fought well but came up just short in the end. She is pushing herself a little more each match and will get better with additional practice and mat time according to Coach Senor.
The Lady Bulldogs are on the road again to the Kansas City Metro area for the Winnetonka Tournament which takes place on MLK Day. The good news for Mexico is that this is the first day of the two-pound growth allowance. At the latest announcement for this tournament, no spectators are allowed at this event. The streaming link can be found at the end of this article. Wrestling will start at 9:00 a.m.
Starting Thursday (January 21st), the Lady Bulldogs will have their toughest stretch (in terms of traveling) to date as they are hosting a triangular meet on Thursday against Fulton and St. Charles West. They then will travel to Liberty North on Friday, and Saturday they are in Brookfield for the Gary Haag Classic. According to Google Maps, this will require the Lady Bulldogs to travel an estimate of just under 550 miles, compete in two tournaments, in just a little over a 24-hour time span. We will see what these ladies are made of by the week’s end.
Link for live stream for Monday’s Winnetonka Tournament: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU9b58gnNur-OfzOUdFr2bQ