Boys wrestling heads to Sectionals in hopes of earning spots in State Tournament

Senior Joel Mylin headlines team headed to tournament

In+the+last+home+dual+of+the+regular+season%2C+senior+Evan+Boren+takes+on+Kaden+Hart+from+Francis+Howell+Central+with+a+3-2+final+score+going+to+Hart.

Sophia Scheller

In the last home dual of the regular season, senior Evan Boren takes on Kaden Hart from Francis Howell Central with a 3-2 final score going to Hart.

Vijay Viswanathan, Ad Manager

“The goal individually and as a team is a Sectional championship. We definitely want to get a lot of our wrestlers who are on the edge of qualifying into the State Tournament,” junior Lane Tenny said. 

Varsity boys wrestling took first place at Districts on Feb. 20 and had 13 wrestlers qualify for Sectionals on Feb. 27. They finished with 223 points and captured their first district championship since 2016. 

One of those wrestlers is senior Joel Mylin, who competes in the 132-pound weight class. Mylin is originally from Illinois and is a former Illinois state champion, winning the Class 1A title in his sophomore year. He believes success is success, regardless of where a person is. At Districts, Mylin beat the reigning state champion from CBC to earn his spot at Sectionals. He won by a score of 9-3. 

“It’s all just wrestling, it doesn’t matter where it is, it’s just about beating the person in front of you, and so far I’ve been able to do that most of the time,” Mylin said. 

Along with Mylin, senior Na’zir Dent also advanced to the Sectional tournament. Dent finished in 2nd place against a Marquette wrestler in the 152-pound weight class. 

I feel very confident about this tournament and very confident even though only the top three go in each weight class. I still believe that I want this bad enough and I can make it. I have a motto of never going into anything too cocky because anything can happen but I still have that confidence in myself that I can make it to the next level,” Dent said. 

Head Coach Joseph Wier is also feeling very positive about the team’s chances because of the strong work ethic and dedication of his group. The Lancers head into sectionals with a .96 winning percentage.

“This is our favorite time of year. The culture of our program and senior leadership is some of the strongest I have seen as a coach. We are ready to compete. We can’t guarantee an outcome but these guys are battle-tested. We traveled all over the state on one-day trips to chase the best competition that we could find and came out with a very solid 30-1 record this year. It will be fun to see what the team can accomplish down the long stretch of sectionals and state [tournaments] this year,” Wier said.

Due to COVID-19, the wrestling season has seen some changes this year affecting the tournament structure.

“Due to COVID, our season would normally be over right now.  They added four weeks to the season and changed the format for Districts, Sectionals and State.  Normally we wrestled in a Super District and then State the next week.  This year we had Districts two weeks ago and the top four go to Sectionals. Then we have Sectionals this weekend with the top three going to State.  In two weeks, we will go to State and it is usually in Columbia at MU Arena.  Due to COVID, they moved the event to the Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence.  Instead of all the classes wrestling together in a three-day grind, State is a smaller 12-person bracket and a one-day event for each class.  Girls wrestle on March 9 and boys wrestle on March 13,” Wier said.

Some wrestlers have individual goals, along with the overall team goals.

“Everyone’s excited. Everyone’s ready to go and [everyone] just wants to get out there. My goal is to be a Sectional champion, but I know I’ll have a rematch of my District finals in the Sectional finals, so my goal for that match is to beat him by more points than last time,” Mylin said.

Wier hopes the team will win Sectionals and then move on to State as a team. The Lancers last won a state title in wrestling in 1992.

“Our boys have met every goal so far on the season and we are grinding towards the top of our goal pyramid.  We wanted to beat MHS and EHS on all levels…check, we wanted to place top two in all five tournaments this year…check (we won all but one), we wanted to win Conference and Districts…check-check. Now we have turned our sights on a top-two finish in the State.  The team is goal-driven,” Wier said.