William Chrisman heavyweight David Toese has had a big influence on his high school wrestling career.

His name? Tomasi Tuione.

He was the last wrestler from William Chrisman to win an individual district title and finish in the top three at the Missouri State High School Wrestling Championships. He did that in 2015.

Three years later, it was Toese’s turn.

The Bears junior defeated No. 6 state-ranked Donovan McBride of Grain Valley 4-1 in the Class 3 District 4 semifinals before taking down Warrensburg’s Tanner Karnes, who was ranked fifth, to claim 285-pound district title last Saturday.

Now, after working with Tuione and going hard in the weight room during the offseason, Toese looks to be one of the favorites to take the Class 3 state title at 285 as he looks to become his school’s first state champion in 16 years (the last one was Chris Beutler in 2002).

“I had some good competition going into state,” Toese said. “I didn’t know what to expect (in his district semifinal match against McBride) because I had never wrestled him before, so it was tough. I didn’t let that get to me and just wrestled my match and stayed in good position to win it.

“Going into state, I just want to be the athlete that I know I can be, that my coach knows that I can be and that my family knows I can be. I just go there and walk out with the gold and represent William Chrisman.”

So far, he has amassed an impressive 53-2 record and has earned signature wins over DeSoto’s Landon Porter (ranked No. 2 in Class 3) and Park Hill’s Johnny Wilson (ranked No. 5 in Class 4).

“To be honest, he just seemed like he was a cocky, arrogant wrestler,” Toese said of Wilson. “I just wanted to wrestle him and shut him up. I didn’t want to leave him on a negative note, so I told him good match afterward and that he’s a phenomenal wrestler.”

Toese has come a long way since last season. He lost in a bubble match at districts in 2017 and now is a No. 1 seed in the state tournament. He credits a lot of his success to the work that he put in over the offseason.

“I didn’t know what to expect coming into this season, I just wanted to work harder than I ever have before,” said Toese, who was also an all-state offensive lineman for the football team. “My coach has stuck with any of my struggles in practice. And my parents have supported me and I thank God for keeping me safe and helping me be victorious this season.

“I really worked on getting my strength up (in the offseason) and make myself better. I went to wrestling practice over the summer and had Tomasi wrestle me to prepare myself for heavyweights. That was pretty cool. He’s been a motivator to me. I saw his success when I was an eighth grader when he was a senior. I saw his highlights and that made me want to be just like him, but even better.”

Chrisman coach Riley Glasgow said that one of the main reasons for Toese’s stark improvement from last season is his increased ability to get takedowns.

“His double-leg (takedowns) have come a long way,” Glasgow said. “He’s also opening his offense up. We’re working on taking a high single-leg and talking about our front headlocks. He’s been very coachable and he works hard. When all those things work together, great things will follow.”

Glasgow certainly is confident that’s exactly what will happen – success at state.

“We would like to erase that,” Glasgow said of Buetler being the last Chrisman champion. “We are going to go in there and beat the No. 1 kid and come out with the gold. That’s the attitude we have to have.”