Excelsior Springs Wrestlers Show Grit and Determination at Districts

ESHS Girls Wrestling at district competition (photo Scott Schwab).

The Excelsior Springs Girls Wrestling Team battled it out on the mats on February 9th and 10th for the district competition and the chance to qualify for state competition for those who went both days without losing two matches. It was a tough affair that the wrestlers, led by Scott Schwab, would have to get through.

Matches on February 9th began at 5:30 pm and started out rough for Excelsior, with one wrestler, Lillah Shue, being knocked out in her 2 rounds. Shue still ended her sophomore season with an impressive record of 18-23. The other female wrestlers stood their ground, with Analesse Happy, Kaitlynn Foster, Jaylenn Hudlemeyer, Alyssa Betts, Gabby Scrivener, and Adrien Crawley ending their first day at 1-1. The remaining wrestlers, Mackenzie Hatfield, Bailee Baxter, and Piper Layton, lost their only matches of the day, sending them into Saturday’s matches at 0-1. 

Matches on February 10th kicked off at 10:00 am and proved successful for the team. With all the girls losing one match the day prior, they needed to be careful if they wanted to make it to state. The day’s main goal for the girls was to get to the top 4 of their bracket to make it to state. All the girls started their day in wrestlebacks, a wrestling term for those who have already lost one game in the double elimination style wrestling bracket. 

Alyssa Betts and Kaitlynn Foster wrestled in the 5th round of wrestlebacks. While they grappled their opponents to the best of their ability, both girls saw heartbreaking losses, ending Betts’s senior year with an 11-13 record and Foster’s junior year with 16-31.

In the 4th round of wrestlebacks Pyper Layton and Mackenzie Hatfield suffered close losses, ending Laytons’ freshman year with a 14-25 record and Hatfield’s sophomore year with a 6-14 record. 

The remaining girls all made it to the blood round, a round that decides whether the wrestler makes it to state, it also acts as their way out of the wrestleback bracket and into the championship side. Bailee Baxter saw her senior season come to a close with a close loss and a record of 17-13. Jaylenn Huddlemeyer shared the same fate as Baxter, with a loss by 1 point in overtime, ending her senior year at 30-17. Gabby Scrivner also lost her blood round, ending her sophomore season at 20-14

Adrian Crawley (27-17) and Analeese Happy (24-11) fought fiercely in their blood rounds, emerging victorious. Their wins qualify them to move on to the state tournament and a chance in the final four. Happy wrestled in her final match against Taiyahna Pruett from Center High School in the 110 class. Pruett took the match, but Happy’s 4th place finish was enough to qualify her for state, Her mom, Heather said, “I’m so proud of how my girl did and excited to see what she does at state.” Wrestling in the 190 weight class, Adrian Crawley put it all on the mat against Eva Alexander from Oak Grove. The match ended with Alexander winning by a fall and landed Adrian in the 4th spot, still good enough for state qualification. Teammate Alyssa Betts congratulated Crawley, saying, “I’m so proud of this girl. I can’t wait to cheer her on.” 

Overall, the Excelsior Springs team placed 9th out of 29 with 77 points. The Excelsior Citizen will continue to follow the story into Adrian Crawley and Analeese Happy’s state tournament and the boys’ districts this weekend on the 16th and 17th.

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