The first wave of winter sports state championships is here. The Missouri state wrestling meet opened Thursday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia; the Kansas boys swimming meets are scheduled for Topeka’s Capitol Federal Natatorium; and the Missouri girls swimming meet returns to the City of St. Peters (Mo.) Rec-Plex.
All three events will crown state champions Saturday.
▪ Kearney senior Clayton Singh is positioned to do what only 26 wrestlers in Missouri state history have accomplished — become a four-time state champion. He is 46-7 after Thursday’s opening-round win in the Class 3 120-pound division.
▪ Platte County’s Cody Phippen (Class 3, 126 pounds) and Staley’s Zach Elam (Class 4, 220 pounds) will vie for their third state championship. Elam is 51-0 and helped Staley to its first team title last February.
▪ Oak Grove junior Tyler Curd is the lone returning champion for the Panthers, who have won 17 team titles, more than any school across all classes.
▪ Liberty sophomore Jeremiah Reno has never lost a high school match. After finishing 44-0 as a freshman, he is 40-0 in the Class 4, 106-pound division.
▪ Liberty sophomore Greyden Penner (Class 4, 160), Park Hill junior Devin Winston (Class 4, 182), Belton junior Robert Weber (Class 3, 170) and Summit Christian Academy senior Brett Campbell (Class 1, 220) are also defending champions. Campbell last year became the first state champion in Summit Christian Academy program history.
KANSAS BOYS SWIM
▪ Defending Classes 5-1A champion Nick Callahan, a St. James senior, is the top seed in the 50-yard freestyle this year with a time of 21.54 seconds, which leads Bishop Miege’s Max Hernandez-Nietling by about one-half second.
▪ Bonner Springs senior Ryan Downing, who last year set the state record in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 57.49 seconds, returns as the third seed heading into prelims. Bishop Miege’s Lex Hernandez-Nietling (57.90) and St. James’ John Amrein (1:00.11) are the top seeds.
▪ Blue Valley North’s entire 3,200 freestyle relay team graduated after winning gold last year. But they left behind a group that is seeded first by 1.18 seconds going into state.
▪ Evan Root and Aidan Holbrook return from Shawnee Mission East’s championship 6,400 relay team. They’ll lead the Lancers — who won the Kansas Class 6A championship last season with a total of 394.5 points — in attempt to near the team’s record-setting swim of 3:08.04 last year.
MISSOURI GIRLS SWIM
▪ Park Hill South senior Paige Riekhof is the lone local swimmer seeded in the top 5 in two individual events. She is ranked third in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 100 butterfly.
▪ After a pair of top-10 finishes at last year’s state meet, Park Hill senior Nani Welsh will eye a couple of more to close out her high-school career. Her top event is the 100 freestyle, in which she is seeded third, but she’s also fifth in the 50 freestyle.
▪ Blue Springs junior Shaedyn Read (500 freestyle), Park Hill South junior Georgia Clark (100 backstroke) and Lee’s Summit West junior Molly Harmon (100 breaststroke) are also in line to compete for medals.