For many Missouri girls wrestlers, it was the first time they have wrestled folkstyle in months.
Saturday’s Oak Park Girls Invite gave some girls wrestlers an opportunity to compete in some season-opening matches to get warmed up for the 2023-24 season.
The tournament featured more divisions than normal as there were 22 of them. No team scores were kept.
Overall, Oak Grove had the most winners with five. William Chrisman and Staley were right behind the Panthers with four winners each.
Below, Missouriwresrling.com breaks down each division and the winners:
100: At first, Staley’s Alaina Bingham of Staley thought her championship match against St. Joseph Central’s Brooklyn Stevens was going to be “easy.” It didn’t turn out that way but she ended up getting a pin in 4:49 and finished her day at 2-0 as she took first place.
“I second guessed myself when she got on top,” Bingham said of her championship match. “I was gassed in the second period. If I wasn’t so tired, I would have escaped more.”
105: Staley’s Joanne Dinh admitted she was nervous for her championship match with North Kansas City’s Julianna Tice. But as she had done all tournament she dominated. She pinned Tice in 5:23 and also won by fall in her previous two matches as she earned the top spot in her division.
“I feel I approved a lot since last year,” Dinh said. “A lot of headlocks and I have been taking different types of shots.”
110: North Kansas City’s Elena Moore had no issues winning her division as she got pins in both of her matches, including one in 50 seconds against Eva Estrada of Park Hill South in the final bout as she earned first place.
“I wrestled really hard,” Moore said. “I was on top and did a top waist and ran the half and got the pin.”
115A: Staley’s Ellie Marrah rolled to a first place finish after getting pins in 23 seconds and 1:28. Her final pin came against Oak Park’s Adelyn Hayes in the final bout.
115B: Lee’s Summit’s Alexa Braton said she was confident coming into the tournament and it showed on Saturday. She won all three of her matches, including two by pin and a 14-3 major decision against Fort Osage’s Frankee Cordato in the championship match.
“I felt confident with what I was going out there and just kept rolling with it,” Braton said.
120: William Chrisman’s Maya Saldivar said she was disappointed with how she wrestled in her first two matches, but the end result was a desired one. She went 3-0 in the tournament, which included a pin in the semifinals, a 6-3 victory in the first round and a 8-5 win against Anh Ngo of North Kansas City in the finals as she took her weight class.
“I need to open the amount of shots I take,” Saldivar said. “I kind of just stick to one move. I need to stop playing it safe and try new things.”
125A: Oak Grove’s Brianna Couch wrestler her teammate in the championship match of her division but she made sure to treater her like any other opponent. She pinned Addison Kelley in 1:27 as she took first place.
“I try to treat them to same or you are going to end up being disappointed and possibly lose,” Couch said of wrestling her teammate in tournament competition.
125B: Fort Osage’s Becca Marlow pinned her way through her first two matches to set up a finals match with Park Hill South’s Temperance Lowe in the finals. In that one, she was able to grind out a 4-2 decision to win her division.
“It was really tough, but you got to be fast and be smart,” Marlow said. “I think my slide bys and sit outs were really good.
130A: William Chrisman’s Isabelle Dufva ran roughshod over her competition, getting pins in all three of her matches, including one in 1:03 against Fort Osage’s Layla Kariker in the finals to take first place.
130B: William Chrisman’s Da’Neya West had similar success to her teammate, Dufva. She pinned all three of her opponents and ended her day with a fall in 4:15 against Odessa’s Lexi Abshier to earn first place.
135: Oak Grove’s Lauren Phillips showed why she took third place in her weight class at state last season. She is one of the top girls wrestlers in Class 1 and she looked like it Saturday as she pinned her way through three matches. She won by fall in 1:58 against Staley’s Kaylee Anthony in the finals as she took first.
“Last year, we came to this tournament and it was pretty easy,” Phillips said. “We just wanted to get everyone back into competition.”
140: Oak Grove’s Morgan Clubb won by fall in all three of her matches, ending with a 50-second victory against Diamond Keytue of Oak Park in the finals as she won her weight class.
145A: Utilizing shots was the key for Keely Fallert of Oak Grove to have success. She got pins in both her matches which were set up by shots. Her pin in 1:30 over Fort Osage’s Layla Dunlap earned her first place.
“I was working my shots and thought ahead on what shots I was going to use to get where I needed to,” Fallert said. “I did really well with my shots. That’s what I normally don’t do best on.”
145B: Park Hill South’s Lucia Henriquez said her mindset has improved since last season. It showed in the tournament as she pinned al three of her opponents, including Odessa’s Ava Sanders in the finals in 2:36 as she notches a tournament win under her belt.
“I felt really comfortable,” Henriquez said. “Last year, I didn’t really feel comfortable with my shots. This year, I feel like I can do them.”
155A: North Kansas City’s Solei Shields had a standout day Saturday as she also pinned all three of her opponents. In her final bout, she pinned Kalei Shier of Odessa in 4:48 to take first place.
155B: Fort Osage’s Princess Mueller went 3-0 to win her bracket, which included two pins and a 7-1 decision victory in the semifinals. She pinned William Chrisman’s Makayla Walters in the championship match to notch a tournament victory for herself.
170A: Oak Park’s Nevaeh Wardlow said she is focused on being more aggressive this season. She appeared to be in the tournament as she got pins in all three of her matches, including one in 2:28 against Odessa’s Brooke Butler in the finals as she took first.
“Last year, I would stall and let them take the match at first and I would have to catch up,” Wardlow said. “This year, I have really pushed the pace.”
170B: Escaping and getting reversals on bottom is something that has served North Kansas City’s Paife Strauch well during her wrestling career. It seemed to as well in Saturday’s tournament, as well. She pinned all three of her opponents, including Oak Park’s Bailee Wardlow in the finals in 4:25 to capture first place.
“I did well getting up from bottom,” Strauch said. “I feel pretty confident in that.”
190A: Staley’s Alayna Leslie pinned her way through her two matches and ended her last one in 48 minutes against Anna Roth of Lincoln Prep to win her division.
190B: North Kansas City’s Stephen Thomas got a pin in all three of her matches, including one in 1:06 against Oak Park’s Kendall Angelo as she opened her season with a tournament win.
235A: William Chrisman’s Haley Breedlove pinned both of her opponents, including her finals opponent, William Chrisman’s Diamond Penaloza in 26 seconds in the championship match to earn first place,
235B: Oak Grove’s Bella Doughty pinned all of her opponents in the first round of her round-robin bracket to take first place.