The Seckman senior dropped a 6-5 decision to Fort Zumwalt West’s Vivian Madrid in the “bubble match” at 121 pounds in Columbia last year.
McClure, who has a record of 40-5 this year, will get a last chance to earn that medal after she won her second district championship on Saturday at Hillsboro. She pinned her first three opponents at 120 in the District 1 tournament in the first period before sticking Webster Groves freshman Talia Lee in 2:52 in the championship.
“My attacks have improved and I’m a lot quicker on my feet,” McClure said. “I’m a lot stronger than I was last year and my confidence is just way better. I was nervous before matches last year and I feel like that really threw me off my game, but now I’m doing a lot better.
“(In the finals) I waited for (Lee) to make a wrong step and I capitalized on that and it was hard to pin her because she was tough to turn, but when I did I squeezed her so she couldn’t get out of it.”
The Northwest girls wrestling team won the District 1 championship with 154 points and will send six wrestlers to the Missouri State High School Activities Association state championships at Mizzou Arena in Columbia on Feb. 20-22. Seckman finished seventh with 83 points and had three wrestlers qualify for state. De Soto was eighth with 57 points and undefeated defending state champion Jaycee Foeller (43-0) returns to state, this time at 166 pounds.
Last year, McClure (40-5) said she wrestled more for fun and this year she’s taking it more seriously because she yearns to take home a state medal. She said colleges have offered her scholarships to wrestle but when she’s done in Columbia, she said, it might be her last time on a mat.
“I really want to focus on my academics and I’d like to stay close to home,” McClure said.
McClure’s normal weight is around 130.
“Once you get down, it’s easy to manage,” she said. “My coaches thought this would be my best opportunity and what they say goes.”
Both of Seckman’s returning state qualifiers are going back as sophomore Madison Conrad (27-9) finished second at districts at 125. Conrad fell out of medal contention at state last year in the third round of wrestlebacks. After pinning wrestlers with losing records in the first two rounds, Conrad, a district champion last season, met Ste. Genevieve sophomore Isabel Basler (29-9) in the semifinals and won by fall at 5:00. Parkway West sophomore Paige Wehrmeister, a returning state qualifier, pinned Conrad at 3:31 in the championship.
“I came in hoping to compete and I’m happy with the way I wrestled today,” Conrad said. “It came down to mentally preparing. (Wehrmeister) took a shot and I sprawled and she got on top of me.”
Because they’re so close in weight, Conrad and McClure work with each other every day in practice. Conrad said she plans to play softball in college.
“I wasn’t really prepared for everything that happened. It was very different,” Conrad said of her first state experience.
State championships and Wingbermuehle’s have a long association. Brock Wingbermuehle won three state titles for Seckman between 2012-2014. His father, Timothy, was a state qualifier for Fox.
Now Brock’s sister, Reese Wingbermuehle, is blazing her own trail and doing it her senior year. A cheerleader and star on the soccer team, Reese decided it was time to give the family business a chance.
After beating Northwest junior Madison Bellinger in a 14-2 major decision at 115, Wingbermuehle (20-10) pinned St. James senior Kaylynn Crocker (25-4) in 2:47 in the semifinals. North County junior Mikayla Whatley, who is 24-1, beat Wingbermuehle by fall at 5:23 in the final.
In the second period, Wingbermuehle had Whatley on her back, scoring a takedown and three back points. Just when a pin seemed imminent for Wingber-muehle, time ran out in the period.
“I tried to keep her down as long as I could, but the end happened so quickly it’s hard to remember,” Wingbermuehle said.
Over the holiday break in December, Wingbermuehle said she trained with the soccer team. It was then she decided she’d made the right decision to wrestle.
“We had to run three miles. I was lapping everybody and wasn’t breathing heavy,” she said.
Windsor junior Reilly Baughman is one of five wrestlers from the county returning to the state tournament after she finished third at 110 in District 1. Baughman has been wrestling for years and will be remembered as one of the pioneers in the sport.
Baughman won her first two matches by technical fall and pin before meeting Lafayette sophomore Faith Cole in the semifinals. Cole won state last season at 103 and pinned Baughman in 2:42 en route to a district championship. Baughman reached the medal round after winning by technical fall over Seckman freshman Emily Palos. In the third-place match, Baughman (22-6) won a 12-2 major decision against Park Hills Central sophomore Karlee LaChance.
“Starting the season, I didn’t do well at the Seckman Tournament,” Baughman said. “I needed to train harder to get back to state and possibly get a medal. I have to try my hardest in every single match.”
Baughman said a teacher at Windsor gave her advice on how to deal with the excitement and large crowds at state.
“It’s very hectic and stressful because it’s so big and so many people screaming,” Baughman said. “I was told to take all of that stress and my nerves to take it on the mat and do my best.”