MCDONALD COUNTY -- The MCHS wrestling team received a standing ovation for its athletic accomplishments at a McDonald County school board meeting on Thursday, March 19.
"We've had a great last couple of months," said Bo Bergen, district athletic director of MCHS. "And tonight is just another way of characterizing these fine individuals behind me."
According to Bergen, the district had two state champions. Juniors Jayce Hitt (285) and Samuel Murphy (215) won the second and third state titles of the 2023 MSHSAA Wrestling Championship.
Hitt dominated this season with a 26-0 record. Murphy ended his season at 44-1. Although these are huge accomplishments, head wrestling coach, Josh Factor said this was a group effort.
"One of the things that we pride ourselves on as a team is we're a family." Standing alongside their wrestling brothers were Eberson Perez (106), Robinson Yoshino (113), Blaine Ortiz (138), Levi Smith (144), Colter Vick (175), and Malosi Sosef (190).
Each teammate has had a different wrestling experience. Some have been wrestling together since they were "four years of age and all the way through high school." Others were just getting into the game, such as freshmen Yoshino and Perez. They have been wrestling only for "a year and six weeks." Vick had returned after having a back injury.
Ultimately, when it mattered the most, their chemistry came together and the result was historic. McDonald County had eight state qualifiers, with two of those becoming state champions, the most the district has ever had.
Factor also took a moment to thank the efforts of those who supported these boys off the mat.
"I know Coach Callahan is here with us. Coach Bo Bennett, Coach Josh Tyler, Coach Reed Davis (and) Blaine's older brother, our first-ever state champion, Oscar Ortiz. These guys put in a lot of time and effort ... and I think the accomplishments speak for themselves." Despite all these accomplishments, Factor will continue to make his team work hard because he knows these "guys are going to continue to get better."
What is in store for MCHS? Factor says, "Hopefully, (we'll) be able to bring back a trophy for the county next year."
MCHS will offer "Modern Dance" and "Ballet" as a fine-art credit. It will also have an "Outdoor Learning Lab in conjunction with MO State" for dual credit in science. The Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps will earn a half P.E. credit each year because "they have implemented PT testing and training each week in their classes." MCHS principal, Angie Brewer, said, "We are very proud of the scope of the offerings for our students here at MCHS."
The school board presented three calendars for the school year to the staff. According to the survey, the staff chose "Calendar B." As of March 10, the board has revised the calendar and it's now available for review.
Spring break will begin on March 20 and continue through March 24. The staff and faculty will have an early payday on Friday, March 17.