At this point in the development of the sport, taking advantage of any opportunity to improve and see competition can be valuable.
Platte County dominated a pair of duals with Grain Valley and North Kansas City while celebrating four seniors and one junior set to graduate early during the final regular season home competition of their careers. There were only eight matches wrestled total, and the Pirates were victorious in seven.
“It feels like I started yesterday,” said Platte County senior Hannah Mand, who helped close out the 58-12 win over North Kansas City in the nightcap with a pin in her 120-pound match.
North Kansas City’s wins were by forfeit at 170 and by fall at 105.
Platte County continued to put the strength of the lower half of the lineup on display with senior Lilly Brower (115), Mand (120) and junior EmmaLyn Burnett (125) all recording victories by fall. Brower in particular put in a dominant effort against Anh Ngo and ended up with a pin 44 seconds into the second period.
Brower reached the state finals as a freshman at Excelsior Springs but took a two-year hiatus before recently gaining eligibility and adding a new dimension to Platte County’s lineup.
“She’s been at practices since Day 1 so it already feels like she’s been a part of the team, but now she’s officially in meets,” Mand said. “Having her fully on the team now, it feels like she was meant to be here.”
Platte County sophomore Giada Cucchiara closed the night with a 9-0 major decision over Emily Williams at 135. The Pirates were up 24-6 in the dual before the first match was wrestled and then mathematically wrapped up the win with Burnett’s pin of Jennifer Lopez-Alvarado early in the second period at 125.
Earlier in the night, Platte County won all three contested matches with Grain Valley, and the 66-12 dual victory wrapped up second place in the Suburban Conference White Division for the Pirates, who lost earlier this month to champion Belton.
Platte County sophomore Alivia Juarez (155), junior Sarah Humburg (130) and Cucchiara (135) all had pins against Grain Valley, which recorded two wins by forfeit with the Pirates still not quite at a full lineup.
In between the two duals, Platte County honored four-year senior Haley Burge (110), Brower, Mand, Ashlyn Iman and Humburg, who plans to graduate in the spring and continue her education overseas next year. All but Iman should be in the postseason roster after the regular season concludes with a nonconference dual Wednesday at Park Hill South.
Mand and Humburg are both second-year competitors looking to make the most of a final chance.
Queen of the North
Platte County took three wrestlers in need of additional matches to Saturday’s 25-team tournament at Liberty North High School in Liberty and left with two top-six finishes.
Brower reached the finals at 115 and earned a repeat matchup with Park Hill sophomore and defending state champion Angelina Vargas, while Cucchiara, who battled a recent ankle injury, fought back to reach the fifth-place match at 135. Iman wrestled at 120 and went 1-2.
In a straight bracket format, Brower scored a second-period pin of Liberty’s Alexis Ritchie in the quarterfinals and then needed just 28 second to earn a fall against Park Hill South’s Mylee Lentz in the semifinals. Vargas led the championship match 2-0 after the first then built that to 8-0 before taking the individual title with a pin in 3:30.
Cucchiara drew into the 135 bracket against second-seeded Kalli Schuster of Mid-Buchanan, and she ended up pinning her way to the championship. After the loss, Cucchiara bounced back with a pin and 18-7 major decision to reach the fifth-place match but finished the day 2-2 with a loss by fall to Elizabeth Henderson of El Dorado Springs.
Platte County 48, Raytown 12; Platte County 54, William Chrisman 18
The Pirates also prevailed in two conference duals with limited head-to-head action back on Wednesday, January 17, in Independence.
Against Raytown, Humburg (130) lost the only contested matchup, while the other 54 points scored between the two teams came from forfeits. Platte County won all three matches with Humburg (130), Juarez (155) and freshman Nicole Fernandez (190) all recording pins.