Lebanon wins inaugural district girls wrestling team title

Nixa hosted one of four district girls wrestling tournaments that were the first in state history this weekend. While it may have been the first MSHSAA sanctioned district tournament, team champion Lebanon had been preparing for this season for a long time.

“We have been in girls wrestling for about five years. My oldest daughter Kaeli, we moved here in 2014, she started wrestling and it morphed from there. We (started getting) more and more girls in our youth program,” Lebanon girls coach Matt Neely said.

This title meant a lot for coach Neely not only for the hardware his team gets to add to the Lebanon trophy case, but because of the opportunity it have given to the girls.

“It means the world to me. When we moved up here that is what we wanted for girls wrestling to get sanctioned,” Neely said. “I have watched a lot of these other girls for years having to compete against boys. They did well, but they didn’t stand a chance, so for them to finally get a chance to prove themselves against other girls, I couldn’t ask for anything better.”


Lebanon finished with 164 team points. Buffalo was the runner-up with 113 points. The 164 team points included four individual champions in Emily Young (110 pounds), Quincy Glendenning (131 pounds), Antionna Cunningham (136 pounds) and Talora Frisbee (167 pounds).

Buffalo’s Lizzie Miller was dominant throughout the tournament that wrapped up with a pin of Harrisonville’s Melaina Beachner.

Miller, who improved to 21-1 on the season, will be one of the few girls wrestlers at state in two weeks that has experience with the state wrestling atmosphere in Columbia after qualifying for state in the boys tournament as a freshman.

Her mindset going from underdog against the boys to favorite against the girls hasn’t changed her style.

“Even wrestling boys I had the same mindset that I worked harder than them, I can do it and I have earned it,” Miller said. “I just go out there with the same mindset whether it is girls or guys that I deserve it and I should win.”

Miller’s freshman teammate Jada Watson is on the other end of the wrestling spectrum as she won the 187-pound title over Central’s Hailey Norman by pin at the 4:53 mark of the match. This is Watson’s first season doing wrestling of any kind.

She gave all the credit to her coaches for her immediate success in the sport.

“We have some great coaches. They push us over and over. They are always on us that if we practice hard in practice then we will show off on the mat,” Watson said.

Willard will be sending one wrestler the girls tournament in senior Gracie Lawhon. Lawhon pinned her way to the 152-pound title capping it off with a pin of Knob Noster’s Kelsey Burden in 97 seconds in the title bout.

She moved to 24-0 in her senior season. Lawhon is one of only 12 remaining unbeaten girls wrestlers in the state.

“It feel amazing. I am just mind-blown by everything happening around me. I couldn’t be more blessed,” Lawhon said. “I have been working so hard the last eight years. It is all coming (together) at one time. I am just thankful to have this ability and my strength to do it.

Waynesville twins Justice & Jazzmine Seely (121 & 143 pounds) also won titles. Nixa’s Ashlyn Eli was the lone champion for the host Lady Eagles at 103 pounds.

The boys will have their district tournaments next Friday & Saturday before all the wrestlers descend on Mizzou Arena for the state wrestling tournament Feb. 14-16.

The finals will take place starting at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16. The mats for the final will be set up with two boys mats side-by-side on each end with the girls championship mat being set up in the center Mizzou Arena.

The symbolism of the girls being at the center of the state finals was not lost on Neely.

“Look at the girls. In all reality, wrestling as a whole across the country has been a downward slide. The girls being involved with wrestling is what is going to save the sport,” Neely said. “To put the girls center stage you are showing this is the future of the sport. Girls are here and they can wrestle just like the boys.”



1st Place – Ashlyn Eli of Nixa High School
2nd Place – Taylor Mustain of Camdenton High School
3rd Place – Shelby Patterson of Raymore-Peculiar High School
4th Place – Kaylee Harker of Lee`s Summit West High School

1st Place Match
Ashlyn Eli (Nixa High School ) 22-1, Fr. over Taylor Mustain (Camdenton High School ) 31-3, Fr. (Fall 4:50)
3rd Place Match
Shelby Patterson (Raymore-Peculiar High School ) 21-4, So. over Kaylee Harker (Lee`s Summit West High School ) 11-5, So. (Fall 3:50)


1st Place – Emily Young of Lebanon High School
2nd Place – Kailla Boman of Nixa High School
3rd Place – Alana Lopez of Harrisonville High School
4th Place – Sydney Martin of Knob Noster High School

1st Place Match
Emily Young (Lebanon High School ) 26-3, So. over Kailla Boman (Nixa High School ) 22-11, Sr. (Fall 4:59)
3rd Place Match
Alana Lopez (Harrisonville High School ) 19-6, Fr. over Sydney Martin (Knob Noster High School ) 14-16, Sr. (Dec 5-0)


1st Place – Lizzie Miller of Buffalo High School
2nd Place – Melaina Beachner of Harrisonville High School
3rd Place – Ashlynn Leochner of Lebanon High School
4th Place – Markayla Lottie of Raytown South High School

1st Place Match
Lizzie Miller (Buffalo High School ) 21-1, Jr. over Melaina Beachner (Harrisonville High School ) 23-3, Fr. (Fall 3:06)
3rd Place Match
Ashlynn Leochner (Lebanon High School ) 27-5, Jr. over Markayla Lottie (Raytown South High School ) 7-8, So. (MD 16-5)


1st Place – Justice Seely of Waynesville High School
2nd Place – Jadelyn Woolery of Tipton High School
3rd Place – Rebekah Neitzey of Lee`s Summit North High School
4th Place – Abigail Jastal of Monett High School

1st Place Match
Justice Seely (Waynesville High School ) 17-1, Jr. over Jadelyn Woolery (Tipton High School ) 18-6, So. (Dec 8-2)
3rd Place Match
Rebekah Neitzey (Lee`s Summit North High School ) 14-4, Sr. over Abigail Jastal (Monett High School ) 23-11, So. (Fall 2:04)


1st Place – Nonnie Justice of Harrisonville High School
2nd Place – Alana Douglas of Osage High School
3rd Place – Mateja Wilson of Odessa High School
4th Place – Kaylyn Rogers of Lebanon High School

1st Place Match
Nonnie Justice (Harrisonville High School ) 23-0, So. over Alana Douglas (Osage High School ) 14-2, So. (Fall 0:41)
3rd Place Match
Mateja Wilson (Odessa High School ) 14-3, So. over Kaylyn Rogers (Lebanon High School ) 26-6, Fr. (Fall 0:26)


1st Place – Quincy Glendenning of Lebanon High School
2nd Place – Abbey Cordia of Osage High School
3rd Place – Tatum Westendorf of Raymore-Peculiar High School
4th Place – Shelby Bean of William Chrisman High School

1st Place Match
Quincy Glendenning (Lebanon High School ) 9-1, Fr. over Abbey Cordia (Osage High School ) 16-1, Jr. (Dec 8-4)
3rd Place Match
Tatum Westendorf (Raymore-Peculiar High School ) 15-5, So. over Shelby Bean (William Chrisman High School ) 16-11, Fr. (Dec 13-11)


1st Place – Antionna Cunningham of Lebanon High School
2nd Place – Lotus Van Dyk of Nevada High School
3rd Place – Bethany Howard of Versailles High School
4th Place – Kirsten Bruegel of Seneca High School

1st Place Match
Antionna Cunningham (Lebanon High School ) 27-3, Fr. over Lotus Van Dyk (Nevada High School ) 16-2, Fr. (Fall 0:32)
3rd Place Match
Bethany Howard (Versailles High School ) 16-6, Jr. over Kirsten Bruegel (Seneca High School ) 16-5, Fr. (Fall 0:40)


1st Place – Jazzmine Seely of Waynesville High School
2nd Place – Kali Butts of Smith-Cotton High School
3rd Place – Skyler Maverick of Buffalo High School
4th Place – Celeste Cash of Jefferson City High School

1st Place Match
Jazzmine Seely (Waynesville High School ) 21-1, Jr. over Kali Butts (Smith-Cotton High School ) 17-4, So. (MD 13-2)
3rd Place Match
Skyler Maverick (Buffalo High School ) 30-6, Fr. over Celeste Cash (Jefferson City High School ) 8-8, So. (Dec 2-1)


1st Place – Gracie Lawhon of Willard High School
2nd Place – Kelsey Burden of Knob Noster High School
3rd Place – Janeth Quinones of Monett High School
4th Place – Marisa Gonzalas of Waynesville High School

1st Place Match
Gracie Lawhon (Willard High School ) 24-0, Sr. over Kelsey Burden (Knob Noster High School ) 23-6, So. (Fall 1:27)
3rd Place Match
Janeth Quinones (Monett High School ) 23-10, Jr. over Marisa Gonzalas (Waynesville High School ) 13-9, Fr. (TF-1.5 4:43 (16-1))


1st Place – Talora Frisbee of Lebanon High School
2nd Place – Ava Miller of Truman High School
3rd Place – Erin Bohmont of Branson High School
4th Place – Lynexa Adams of Glendale High School

1st Place Match
Talora Frisbee (Lebanon High School ) 32-4, Fr. over Ava Miller (Truman High School ) 10-1, Fr. (Fall 3:24)
3rd Place Match
Erin Bohmont (Branson High School ) 15-1, So. over Lynexa Adams (Glendale High School ) 6-6, So. (Fall 1:39)


1st Place – Jada Watson of Buffalo High School
2nd Place – Hailey Norman of Central (Springfield) High School
3rd Place – Harmony Rust of Nixa High School
4th Place – Laykin Kennemer of Marshfield High School

1st Place Match
Jada Watson (Buffalo High School ) 30-9, Fr. over Hailey Norman (Central (Springfield) High School ) 14-2, So. (Fall 4:53)
3rd Place Match
Harmony Rust (Nixa High School ) 17-12, Fr. over Laykin Kennemer (Marshfield High School ) 16-14, Sr. (Fall 2:54)


1st Place – Alana May of Versailles High School
2nd Place – Honnalee Hunt of Buffalo High School
3rd Place – Leanna Merrell of Marshfield High School
4th Place – Kenzie Howard of Tipton High School

1st Place Match
Alana May (Versailles High School ) 16-1, Jr. over Honnalee Hunt (Buffalo High School ) 21-5, So. (Fall 0:49)
3rd Place Match
Leanna Merrell (Marshfield High School ) 11-10, So. over Kenzie Howard (Tipton High School ) 4-13, Fr. (Fall 1:27)