New Beginnings with Established Talent: Macks Creek Unveils Wrestling

Macks Creek will have another sport to offer for students this winter adding boys and girls wrestling.

The school in Mid-Missouri, west of Camdenton on Highway 54, will enter this upcoming school year with something many first-year programs don’t have: a state contender.

Aidyn Merchant is a high-caliber wrestler, he just hasn’t had a wrestling team to compete for during the high school season. He’s already signed to wrestler at Westminster College.

He’s trained with Tony and Michael Eirman since he was 8 years old — the same coaches that have trained former Mizzou wrestlers J’den Cox, Jaydin Eierman, Brock Mauller, Jarrett Jacques and Ben Askren, to name a few.

“It’s gonna be fantastic,” new Macks Creek coach Kris Paschel said of having a building block on a program starting from scratch. “I’ve known Aidyn for the past probably 10 years or so. He’s one of the kids that I first kind of started coaching a little bit. And then he had gone off and started doing wrestling for Eierman Elite. Aidyn has gone out to you know, work on his own because he’s at a school that didn’t have it and the fact that he’s stuck with it all this time and to become the wrestler that he is that’s all on him. That’s his self-driven motivation, his determination; that’s all that’s all him. So to have a guy like that in the room and now that he’s determined and understands how it works … I can’t wait to see what the opportunity that he has and what he’s going to do with it.”

Merchant has big goals heading into what will be his only season of high school: a state championship.

“That is my goal to win it hopefully and help the program and push up and keep going,” Merchant said. “It is awesome to have something to do in all my free time that it seems like through the school year. I use my free time to train for freestyle and push for a world team.” 

He expects to wrestle at 175 pounds this winter.

Paschel is a former wrestler at Camdenton High School and the high school math teacher was hired recently to become the program’s first coach. He was an assistant coach at Camdenton while in college and students at Macks Creek asked him if he would start a program in early 2021. 

A fundraiser was held and last year a USA wrestling program — kindergarten to eighth grade — was formed. 

Now, wrestling, or the chance anyway, will extend into high school.

Paschel isn’t sure what he will have on the roster in the first year besides the Merchant siblings: Aidyn and his younger sister, Kamora.

He said he hopes to have at least 10 wrestlers come out for the program this winter. Merchant said he hopes kids who don’t play basketball or baseball will come give the sport a shot.

 “For the community, I think it’s awesome,” said Paschel, a 2014 Camdenton graduate, of adding the program. “As something new, it’s something that teaches a bunch of life lessons. Every sport teaches that. But the thing with wrestling is when you’re out there on the mat, it’s you versus the other person and it’s you against life.”

2023-24 Wrestling School Additions.

Schools adding boys wrestling this year:

  • Cardinal Ritter
  • Christian
  • Jennings
  • KIPP St. Louis Charter
  • Macks Creek 
  • Missouri School for the Deaf
  • Soldan International Studies
  • Southeast (Kansas City)

Schools adding girls wrestling this year:

  • Cardinal Ritter
  • Carthage*
  • Central (New Madrid County)
  • Confluence Prep Academy Charter
  • Gateway Science Academy Charter
  • Jennings
  • John Burroughs
  • KIPP St. Louis Charter
  • Maplewood-Richmond Heights 
  • Soldan International Studies
  • Southeast (Kansas City)
  • * tentatively 

What do you think?

Cody Thorn

Written by Cody Thorn

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