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LOCAL BRIEFS: State wrestling tournament slated to start Thursday

February 14, 2019

The Missouri high school wrestling state championships will begin Thursday at Mizzou Arena.

Five boys wrestlers from Columbia Public Schools and six CPS girls wrestlers qualified and will be competing in the three-day tournament. This will be the first-ever girls wrestling state tournament in Missouri. The 2018-19 academic year marks the first time the Missouri State High School Activities Association has recognized girls wrestling as an official state sport.

The six local girls wrestlers who qualified for the historic tournament are Hickman’s Belle Harrell (121 pounds), Julia Quan (116) and Lebria Cook (167), Battle’s Taylor Reed (136) and Anyha Cain (235) and Rock Bridge’s Anna Stephens (126).

On the boys side, Hickman’s Ethan Barr (106 pounds) and Jake Waldron (138), Rock Bridge’s Marquis McCaster (152) and Battle’s Jackson Shea (120) and Devin York (195) qualified.

Hickman, Rock Bridge and Battle are each in MSHSAA Class 4, the category with Missouri’s largest schools. Girls weigh-ins take place at noon Thursday, followed by a grand march introduction at 2 p.m. and the official start of the competition at 2:15. Class 3 and 4 boys competitors will weigh in at 3 p.m., be introduced at 5 and begin the tournament’s opening round at 5:15.

The tournament comprises four sessions, with the second session set for Friday and the final two on Saturday.

Former MU safety leaves it from Oregon

Former MU safety Jim Leavitt reportedly parted ways Wednesday with Oregon, where he was the defensive coordinator. The story was first reported by Matt Prehm of 247Sports.

Leavitt was a safety at Missouri in the 1970s and later stayed with the football program as a graduate assistant. His name has surfaced among rumors during multiple MU coaching hunts over the years.

Leavitt has been at Oregon for two seasons, also serving as inside linebackers coach.

MU’s Daniel Lewis named MAC Wrestler of the Week

Missouri redshirt senior Daniel Lewis was named MAC Wrestler of the Week Wednesday following a momentous upset that helped the Tigers top Arizona State on the road last Saturday.

Lewis (19-1) pulled off a pin of Zahid Valencia, the No. 2 174-pounder in the country, to effectively clinch a 30-12 win for Missouri at the Sun Devils. It was the 35th straight dual win for the Tigers.

The pin was Lewis’ 11th of the season, helping him earn the MAC honor for the second time this year.

Cunningham appears on another award watchlist

Sophie Cunningham was named a top-10 candidate for the Cheryl Miller Award on Wednesday. The award honors the best small forward in the country.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association chose the candidates. This is just the second year the award has been offered.

Cunningham tallied 27 points and eight rebounds in Missouri’s win against Vanderbilt on Sunday. The Tigers play at No. 5 Mississippi State on Thursday night.

State swim and dive championships start Thursday

Seventeen Columbia Public Schools athletes will compete at the Class 1 and 2 girls swim and dive state championships in St. Peters from Thursday through Saturday.

Rock Bridge highlights the CPS trifecta after winning the team title last season. The Bruins are sending 10 individual competitors this year, including their points leader, Olivia Henderson, who was all-state last season. Rock Bridge also qualified for three relay events.

Hickman has five athletes competing at the individual level and is also in three relays as a team. The Kewpies’ Grace Beahan was last year’s state champion in the 500-meter freestyle.

Battle is sending two individual competitors, Mycah Davis and points leader Lauren Naeger. Each will compete in two events. Naeger was all-state in two events last season.

Supervising editor is Brendan Lavell.