KEARNEY, Mo. – Mary-Mae McMillan has spent a year living with the memories of her first season wrestling at William Chrisman.
She had a good season last year and went into districts as the No. 1 seed in her 187-pound weight class, but it ended without a trip to Columbia for the first girls wrestling state championships.
McMillan got a chance to vanquish some of those bad memories on Saturday as she won a district championship and earned a spot in Columbia for the state tournament Feb. 20-22.
McMillan (35-3) got a late reversal against Plattsburg’s Samantha Mumm in the third period to secure the title and avenged a loss to Mumm at a tournament earlier this season in Columbia.
“I’m so happy, last year I didn’t place as good as I wanted to and this year I got to get stuff out of my head,” McMillan said. “I pushed myself this year.”
The victory wasn’t secured until the clocked expired in the third period.
The two were tied at 2-2 after the first period but Mumm led 3-2 going into the third after an escape.
With 45 seconds left in the third period, McMillian got a reversal on Mumm and took a 4-3 lead.
She then stayed on top and rode her out for almost the remainder of the match. The officials whistled at 1.9 seconds for a restart.
Mumm just needed an escape to force overtime. It was up to McMillan to keep her hands around Mumm. The Tigers standout (31-2) got up to her feet right away and scrambled to escape, but McMillan held on to secure the victory.
“I pushed it to the end,” McMillan said. “It was tough. She was strong … really strong. I was so scared. My mom was yelling, my coaches were yelling. They were like, ‘Keep her down!’ I was like, ‘Let’s do this.’ I thought she was about to get out, I just had to keep my hands locked. If my hands were locked she couldn’t get out.”
McMillan went 4-0 and won her first three matches by pins. She knocked off returning state qualifier KayLyn Munn of Platte County by a pin in the semifinals. All four of McMillan's foes had winning records.
She reached the semifinals last year in districts, but lost that match and the next match to come a win away from state.
McMillan is one of three Bears headed to Columbia, which helped the team placed in a tie for fifth with Plattsburg in the 48-team district field. Fort Osage will also be sending three wrestlers to the state meet and took seventh place, one point behind Plattsburg and Chrisman. Truman was 20th place and had one state qualifier, while Van Horn was 37th but didn’t have a state qualifier.
Staley won the district title, followed by Cameron, Smithville and Kearney in the team standings.
“I’m ecstatic,” Chrisman girls coach Trent Stephens said. “I knew we had the potential for three, maybe more. They came through and did what they needed to do. I can tell them what to do. That is the biggest thing. I can tell them what to do but unless they perform, it doesn’t matter.”
Meraid Jorgensen and Kiara Boldridge joins McMillan at state, representing the first state qualifiers for the program in the second year of having a team.
Jorgensen (142) went 5-1 in the two-day tournament and her only loss came in the semifinals against Fort Osage’s Rachel Rellihan by a pin in the semifinals. Jorgensen (29-7) bounced back by winning the next two, pinning returning state qualifier Finley Bickford of Park Hill South in 18 seconds in the bubble match and then pinning Park HIll’s Cierra Miller 20 seconds into the third-place match.
All five of the wins for Jorgensen came by pins, three coming in the first period.
Boldridge (235) got two quick pins against Cameron’s Jessica Tanguay and Staley’s Remy Asta, in 39 seconds and 29 seconds, respectively, to move to the finals. Boldridge (20-4) then lost by a pin against Kearney’s Lexie Cole (23-1).
Fort Osage will have three at state, including Tess Kinne returning for the second year in a row. The Indians went 1-2-3 in terms of placing for their state qualifiers.
Haley Ward stayed perfect on the season with a 4-0 record and will enter the state tournament 32-0. She won all four by pins, including a 7-second win over Winnetonka’s Chloe Resch. She pinned Plattsburg’s Kaylie Dow in 1:57 in the 130-pound final.
“I feel like I worked hard this season for district and state series and I earned what I got today,” Ward said. “I have a wrestled a lot of different places. I had an opportunity to wrestle or not, but it is fun. You get to meet new people. I’m proud of my teammates. They worked their butts off also, and they work well in the room. It is good to have that type of teammates.”
Rellihan (31-7) took second after losing a 9-4 decision to Lathrop’s Josie Wright in the 142-pound final. She won four straight prior to that, all by pins.
Kinne (135) went 5-1 and bounced back from a semifinal loss to Lawson’s Savannah McCutchen. Kinne, who took fourth at state last year, won 5-1 against Benton’s Tatum Levendahl to move into the third-place match and secure a spot at state. The Missouri Valley signee then bested Staley’s Madison Schmude 5-0 in the third-place match.
Truman’s lone qualifier is sophomore Ava Miller, who won her third place match with a pin over North Kansas City’s Aliyah Ashby. Miller’s lone loss in the 166-pound class came to eventual champion Sarina Bertram of Platte County in the semifinals, a 10-7 setback. Miller won her bubble match against Liberty North’s Kate Shriver by a pin and then pinned Ashby.
However, Ashby held a 7-2 lead over Miller at the time of the pin with just more than a minute left in the third period. Miller will head to state with a 30-3 record.