Boys wrestling heads to districts with high hopes


Emily Merritt Photo

Julian Davies (11) wrestles his opponent from Parkway West on Jan.22. He heads into districts with a record of 29-5.

OHS wrestling enters districts this week with 14 wrestlers in 14 different weight classes. And coach Ben Knol is confident in what his wrestlers can do. 

“There’s no glooming threat,” said coach Knol when asked about the schools entering districts. Fifteen teams, including OHS, will meet on Friday, Feb. 14 at Northwest High School. 

However, OHS is placed in one of the toughest districts in Missouri. “All good (wrestlers) will show up,” he said. “Some who have repeated to show at districts their entire high school career.” 

The OHS wrestling team finished off the regular season with an impressive record of 17-4. Coach Knol added that “the regular season record does not indicate how the postseason will go,” but some of the wrestlers have a chance of reaching the top eight seed. 

Nathan Simontachi (19-6), Mukhamedali Akhmedov (19-5), Julian Davies (29-5), and Ibragim Mahkmudov (35-7) all helped pave the way to the team’s winning record. All are key wrestlers entering districts. 

When coach Knol was asked about what attitude is different from last year compared to this year he stated that the confidence of the guys has gone up. Last year consisted mostly of freshmen and sophomores going to districts. Now they will go into districts with an idea of what to expect, what to prepare for, and what attitude they need to keep in order to be successful. 

Other wrestlers representing OHS on Friday include Robbie Risk (106), Drew Lieberoff (113), Jacob Nuspl (120), Alishan Akhmedov (126), Nathan Becker (138), Tyler Updike (152), Jacob Musgrave (160), Jordan Woods (170), Luke Schultz (182), Jacob Zimmerman (195), and Gino Lanasa (285).

The top four individuals in their weight class in the district will move onto the state tournament. State tournament takes place Feb. 20th-22nd. “We’re trying to get (our wrestlers to be) qualifiers” Knol said. 

The last OHS wrestler to qualify for states was Austin Neal in 2016. Neal finished fourth in state in the 145-pound weight class.