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Lady Eagles' Crahan and Dupree go from foes to fellow state champions


No one was happier for Nixa's Cali Dupree to capture her first state championship Saturday than fellow Lady Eagles state champion Brenya Crahan.

Crahan was among the first of Dupree’s teammates to congratulate her and offer her a hug.

“It's fun to win state titles together,” Crahan said.

There was a time Dupree and Crahan weren’t so close.

“We've come a long way,” Crahan said.

Dupree and Crahan were actually rivals in youth wrestling, with Dupree having attended school at Branson through her eighth-grade year. She transferred to Nixa at the start of her high school career.

"We were two girls who would go head-to-head,” Crahan said.

“She used to kick my butt,” Dupree said. “We had great matches in youth. She was always my end-goal. Whenever I would feel tired in practice, I would tell myself, 'Cali, you have to keep up with Brenya.’”

Moments after Crahan won 6-3 against Rockwood Summit’s Madeline Haynes to take the Class 2 145-pound title, Dupree followed up by pinning Warrensburg’s Maggie Ortmann in 3:08 for the Class 2 155-pound championship.

Dupree proved a lot to herself during her 40-2 junior season. She competed with a recurring separated right shoulder that she initially injured last spring.

“I was out for two and a half months,” Dupree said. “My first tournament back was (last summer at Fargo Nationals) and that was rough for me. (The shoulder) stayed in until the very beginning of this season when, at a practice, it came out again. Then, at a tournament in Tulsa, it came out twice. But I was able to push through and I still ended up winning.

"That tournament let me know that I'm good enough that my shoulder can't keep me back,” she added. “I keep reminding myself of that match, that I can still come out on top.”

Dupree wears a brace to compact the muscles in her shoulder.

“It helps to an extent, but it doesn't make the problem go away,” she said. “I have kept up with my PT (physical therapy) and faced the odds.”

Crahan claimed her third state championship and capped a 52-0 senior season. She finishes her career as Nixa’s all-time winningest wrestler with a 186-5 record.

Crahan entered her title tilt confident enough in her abilities that she didn’t research to learn of any of Haynes’ tendencies.

“Surprisingly, I didn't do any studying before I wrestled her," Crahan said. “Typically, I would. But I had a feeling that I just needed to go out and wrestle and I'd be okay. I trusted my skills.”

The Lady Eagles’ Kelsey Watts and Addison Harkins finished as runners-up.

Watts (43-3) fell in sudden victory 9-4 to Liberty’s Andy Breeden in the 105 final.

Harkins (49-6) lost 7-3 to Lebanon’s Halea Bartel in the 130 title tilt.

Finishing sixth was Ashton Mayes (36-140) at 100.

The Lady Eagles placed second to Francis Howell Central in the team standings, falling a half point shy of first.

On the boys side, Nixa’s Malachi Rider had no troubles collecting the Class 4 157 state championship. He recorded a 20-7 major decision against Seckman’s Drake Jenkins in the final.

“My Dad told me, ‘I want you to go out and mess this kid up bad,'” Rider said. “That was the goal and (my) mindset.”

Rider (33-2) did not lose to a Missouri opponent since transferring to Nixa from Paducah Tilghman (Kentucky) for his senior season. He was a two-time state champion and a state runner-up in Kentucky.

The Eagles’ Reed Wilson (36-14) earned a medal as a freshman by finishing fifth at 144. He beat Eureka’s Noah Wilson 6-4 in their fifth-place match.