Fans may be enjoying popcorn for lunch while glued to the action for one possible premier semifinal matchup Saturday during the State Wrestling Championships at Mizzou Arena.
With the release of the brackets for the Classes 1-4 State Tournaments, two names pop from the screen while on the same side of the Class 4 150-pound bracket.
If the seeds hold true, Ozark’s Braxton Strick and Columbia Rock Bridge’s Carter McCallister will meet in a semifinal match that will likely go a long way toward deciding the 150 champion.
Strick is 47-2 and ranked No. 2 at 150 by MissouriWrestling.com. McCallister is 45-0 and ranked No. 1.
In MissouriWrestling.com's pound-for-pound rankings, McCallister is No. 4 and Strick No. 6.
Strick was a State champion at 150 last year and McCallister a State champ at 138 last year and 126 two years ago. He pinned Nixa’s Deagan Fugitt in a Sectional final in 2021 and pinned Ozark’s Nolan Moeller at State last year.
Strick easily could have moved to 157 to find an easier path to a State title. But he stuck at 150 and eyes a possible matchup with McCallister with excitement.
“He’s a tough wrestler and it’s going to be a tough match whenever we do meet,” Strick said “I’m looking forward to it. I’m glad there’s somebody tough (at 150). I’d rather have a tough match than a cakewalk."
McCallister is a Mizzou signee. Strick and Mizzou exchanged recruiting rapport, before he signed with Southern Illinois-Edwardsville.
“We were in contact,” Strick said of Mizzou. “It just didn't work out in the end. (SIU) was the right fit.”
If a Strick-McCallister matchup unfolds, Strick will relish the rare chance to fill the underdog’s role.
“That will be fun,” he said. “I’m going to wrestle my match. I want to show them who I am. If I go out and wrestle as hard as I can, I know I can beat anybody.”
Ozark’s Brock Sundlie is ranked No. 3 at 157 and Damien Moseley No. 4 at 113.
“I'm confident and excited,” Sundlie said.
Sundlie (35-10) could renew a long-standing rivalry with Neosho’s Collyn Kivett at State. Kivett is ranked No. 1 at 157, but was upset in the semifinal round at Districts.
In their most recent meeting, Kivett beat Sundlie in the 157 final at the COC Tournament.
“I would like a rematch,” Sundlie said.
Mosley (35-8) was fifth at State as a 106 freshman last year.
“Last year, I was nervous,” Moseley said. “This year, I'm going to have fun, do my stuff and bring home the gold.”
Ozark will also be represented at State by Johnny Williams (36-110) at 190, Peyton Greer (22-11) at 285, Keaton Hurst (27-14) at 120, Lucas Campbell (28-15) at 165, Caden Harrington (32-13) at 126, Levi Maskrod (25-17) at 138 and Daniel Laney (35-15) at 144.