A group of 10 state qualifiers from Carthage left Wednesday morning for this week’s Class 3 wrestling state championships in Columbia.

The group, which includes six first-time qualifiers, begins wrestling in the first round at 5 p.m. Thursday inside Mizzou Arena on the campus of the University of Missouri.

A group of 10 state qualifiers from Carthage left Wednesday morning for this week’s Class 3 wrestling state championships in Columbia.

The group, which includes six first-time qualifiers, begins wrestling in the first round at 5 p.m. Thursday inside Mizzou Arena on the campus of the University of Missouri.

Daley Moore (120 pounds), Nick Norbury (126), Corben Pugh (145) and Dillon Lancaster (182) are all making return trips to the state tournament. Dagan Sappington (106), Brandon Crow (152), Ymbar Polanco (170), William Prince (195), Chris Perez (220) and Brener Ocana (285) are the state rookies.

“It feels really good especially because when I first saw my district bracket I didn’t know if I was going to make it or not,” said Crow, who was seeded sixth in the district tournament and went 3-2 to place fourth. The sophomore is 30-22 on the season. “It was just amazing because I didn’t expect to do it the whole time and people told me it was going to be tough so when I did it was like proving people wrong.”

Crow has one of Thursday’s toughest draws, opening against top-ranked Jacob Warren (41-0) from Windsor Imperial.

“Mostly this is more of a learning experience than anything,” Crow said. “I just want to have fun with my teammates.”

Ocana, a sophomore, went 2-2 to place fourth at 285 pounds at the district tournament. He’s 31-19 overall.

“It felt great because I was still going,” he said. “I went up against some pretty good wrestlers and barely won one.


“I’m just hoping that I go far enough to see if I could place,” he said of his outlook for state.


Ocana faces Westminster Christian Academy’s David Toese (49-2) in the first round at state.

“I’m going to be nervous because it’ll be my first time,” he said. “I’ll just have to stay focused.”

Sappington, a freshman, went 3-2 at 106 pounds to earn fourth place in the district. He won 3-1 in the consolation semifinals to help kick off an impressive run of six wins in six consolation semifinals for Tiger wrestlers. Seeded fifth going into the district, Sappington didn’t think he’d place in the top four to qualify.

“I was really hyped,” he said. “The first thing I did was go give Corben a hug. I said at practice, ‘If I make it to state I’m gonna give you a hug.’ So after I won I went and found him.”

Sappington, 24-14, faces Ladue’s Jake Mann (49-4) in the first round. Mann is the third-ranked wrestler at that weight, according to www.missouriwrestling.com.

Polanco, a senior, went 2-1 to finish second at 170 pounds at the district tourney. He improved to 28-15 overall.

“It was so relieving and it was exciting too because I haven’t been wrestling too long and I was going to be disappointed if I didn’t make it so finally making it my senior year after four years of wrestling, it was really a relief and I felt blessed,” he said.

Polanco was quick to refocus, though, saying the job’s not done yet.

“We made history qualifying 10 guys, now we’ve got to make more history at state,” he said.

Polanco faces Kearney’s Matthew Witthar (24-9) in the first round. Witthar is the sixth-ranked wrestler at 170 pounds.

Prince, a senior, went 2-2 to finish fourth in the district at 195 pounds. He’s 25-21 overall. He won 8-4 in the consolation semifinals to guarantee a top-four finish.

“I was just trying to make sure it was real,” he said. “It was really relieving and exciting. I’m just happy to be here.”

Prince, who takes on St. Charles’ Dahvonte Henry (35-9) in the first round, still feels like he has something to prove.

“Because I got fourth I’m kind of still at the bottom,” he said.
“I’ll probably just go and wrestle,” he added. “I want to place but I just want to have fun.”

Norbury, a senior, posted Carthage’s best individual performance in the district with a first-place finish at 126 pounds. He’s 45-5 overall and ranked fifth in the state.

“It was really nice being able to sleep in your own bed and winning that district championship,” he said. “It was pretty great.”

Now a three-time qualifier, Norbury doesn’t have the nerves he experienced in previous trips to Columbia. The state tournament is a spectacle, and coaches spent the early part of the week trying to prepare the first-time qualifiers for the atmosphere. The staff has relied on experienced wrestlers like Norbury to help prepare the others.

“I just kind of try to scare them honestly,” he said. “No, we just tell them what it’s like. Tell them where to go.
“It’s huge. It’s big, a big place,” he said. “Lots of people.”

Norbury takes on Desoto’s Devin Francis (22-20) in the first round.

Fourth-ranked Moore, a junior, placed third at 120 pounds with a 3-1 effort in the district that improved his record to 36-6. He’s also making a return trip to state.

“I’m very confident from the experience two years ago,” he said. “I’m very confident. The first time I went up there it was nerve wracking and now I’m used to it.
“It’s very loud and it’s exciting,” he said. “It’s really loud.”

Moore will take on Union’s Carter Sickmeier (33-14) in the first round.

Senior Dillon Lancaster is making his second trip to state. Now 25-8 on the year, he went 3-1 in the district to place second at 182 pounds.

“I’m probably improved a lot more so it’s exciting to go back and get a second chance at doing better than last time,” he said.

“I know what I need to do and how to get to the top or place,” he added.

Lancaster faces Rockwood Summit’s Karthik Mogallapu (31-10) in the first round.

Pugh, another three-time qualifier, finished second at 145 pounds at the district tournament with a 3-1 record that hiked his season mark to 39-8. He’s ranked fourth in the state.

“I’m happy with it but I’m not satisfied,” he said. “I want to finish on top at state. I have to beat Alex Garrett, who I lost to at districts to do so.”

Pugh’s lone district loss, in the title match, was to Willard’s Garrett, the top-ranked wrestler in the state.

“I feel like all my matches will be hard because of the level everyone’s wrestling at but I feel like I can make it to the finals,” he said.

Pugh wrestles Liberty Wentzville’s Trenton Helton (33-13) in the first round.