ANSAS CITY – As all Missouri high school wrestling fans know, Kansas City area teams have dominated the Class 4/4A state meet for years.
Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, Oak Park, Staley and most notably powerhouse Park Hill all claimed state team titles during a two-decade run of excellence from 1999 through 2017. Christian Brothers College High School finally brought that streak to a halt last year, claiming the first state crown for a St. Louis metro squad since Oakville 20 years ago.
It appears Kansas City programs have an opportunity to bring the championship trophy back to the west side of the Show-Me State with special performances Feb. 14-16 in Columbia. Upstart Liberty, which has been the No. 1-ranked team in the MissouriWrestling.com Class 4 team rankings for most of the season, enters as the favorite at this week’s MSHSAA Wrestling Championships, but No. 2 Park Hill and No. 5 Staley will certainly be in the mix.
Liberty and Park Hill, ranked 13th and 15th respectively in Intermat’s Fab 50 national poll, have the largest contingent of state qualifiers on their roster with 11 apiece. Staley, the state champion just two years ago, has 10 qualifiers.
“I hope the Kansas City area wrestles well,” Staley head coach Elisha Bears said of the east-west rivalry. “I hope we’re in the situation where a lot of our guys are standing on the podium at the end of the tournament and we’re in a position to be bringing some of those team trophies home with us.
“… Anytime we get a kid to the state tournament we have the expectations that they’re going to score points. We have 10 opportunities to do that, so hopefully we can do our part.”
Park Hill has a long state championship history. The Trojans claimed six state crowns in eight years from 2009 to 2016 before settling for third in 2017 and second in 2018.
“We’re in a good position,” Park Hill head coach Jacob Beck said. “We’ve got 11 guys, and everybody going can score points. It’s a new season, and it’s going to be an exciting team race.”