St. Michael's Lucas Barry looks to cap big freshman season

By Cody Thorn
The Examiner
Lucas Barry

Lucas Barry, up to this point, has almost had a perfect season in his first year at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic High School.

The freshman will be one of eight qualifiers for the Guardians who will take part in the Class 1 Missouri State High School Wrestling Championships on Wednesday at Cable Dahmer Arena.

“I’m kind of nervous, but I’m prepared and I’m ready to go out there and do what I do,” said Barry, who is 38-1.

Barry is in a unique position heading into the first round as he already knows who he will wrestle next. Barry earned a first-round bye thanks to winning a sectional championship and will face Penney’s Tennison Nixdorf in the quarterfinals.

Barry (38-1) already had a win against his opponent and did so in 11 seconds, pinning him in the Mid-Buchanan Tournament.

The previous results don't matter.

“At state everyone is 0-0 and you have to go out there and do what you gotta do,” Barry said. “I just walk out there and wrestle. I can’t control who the bracket has for me; I just wrestle who I have in front of me.”

There is only one wrestler in the field who has more wins than Barry: Fatima’s Cody Strope, who is 40-6. He is, however, 1-0 against Barry. He pinned him in the Grandview Tournament in January. Two wins would get Barry to the championship with a possible rematch with Strope.

Other Guardians to get first-round byes include junior David Maschger (113 pounds/19-17) and Drew Stanfield (126/38-0).

Only El Dorado Springs’ Josh Haberele (46-3) has more wins than Stanfield does in the weight class and that could be a potential quarterfinal matchup.

Maschger draws the winner of Mid-Buchanan’s Clancey Woodward (30-6) and Butler’s Baylor Myers (27-9) in the quarterfinals.

The Guardians will also have Frankie Kartofil (138/13-11), Jackson Stringfield (170/20-24), Jackson Wimberly (182/30-10), Zach Berry (195/22-14) and Larry Smith (285/19-12) at the state tournament.

Class 2

Oak Grove will only have four wrestlers at this year’s Class 2 MSHSAA State Wrestling Championships, but coach James Morgan feels good about the Panthers’ chances.

Carson Smith (152) and Caleb Groff (285) each earned first-round byes from being sectional champions, while Adrian Whitehead (170) and Zander Brinegar (220) each have a first-round match.

“Our four guys were either sectional champs or were sectional finalists and that gives them a good shot to set themselves up in the bracket to find a medal around their neck,” Morgan said. “They seem to have a good, strong sense of themselves and what is going to come on Thursday.”

Smith (22-10) made the quarterfinals last year but lost that match and the next to leave the tournament with a 1-2 mark.

This year, the junior will await the winner of Southern Boone County’s Austin Skaggs (23-14) and Clinton’s Matt Balke (35-8). His bracket also features Westminster Christian Academy’s Brett St. John (17-3), who has a first-round bye and will likely face Pleasant Hill’s Ryan Volland, who was fourth in this weight class last year.

The bottom of the bracket features Monett’s Elias Barrientos, who placed third at 145 last year.

Groff is one of two returning medalists at the 285-pound class and incidentally those two are in the same portion of the bracket this time around.

Last year, Groff took fourth place as a freshman and enters this year’s meet with a 29-2 record and earned one of the four byes into the quarters.

He will battle the winner of Fulton’s Sheldyn Johnson and Park Hills Central’s Michael Weinhold in the quarterfinals. Looming in the semifinals is a possible showdown with Monett’s Harrison Merriman. The junior is 41-1 and is a favorite to repeat as champion at 285.

Whitehead opens with St. Francis Borgia’s Oliver Mace (32-4) and the winner draws School of the Osage’s Chase Cordia (46-0), who won the 160-pound state title last year.

The bracket also features a returning state medalist in Kirksville’s Jaden Ballinger (sixth at 152) and Mexico’s Jokiah Sewell is 40-1 and was a state qualifier in Illinois last year.

Brinegar has earned medals in his first two trips to state – fifth as a freshman and fourth last year – but lost in the sectional finals to Boonville’s Peyton Hahn (27-1).

At districts, Brinegar scored a victory against Hahn to hand him his first loss of the season. Hahn then returned the favor by beating Brinegar (33-1) by a 4-0 decision.

“Zander is such a strong-headed kid,” Morgan said. “We are 1-1 with that kid (Hahn), he is such a great competitor. Zander didn’t blink, he is right back to work and the good thing was we beat him and we got a bit on what he got to beat us. We can take those things with us and we are working on them to perfect the craft a little more.”