The Northwest senior recently committed to wrestle at Maryville University in St. Louis. Stegall will join his older brother, Tyler, who is a sophomore wrestler for the Saints. Tyler won the Class 4 state championship at 138 pounds in 2018, his senior year at Northwest.
Chase wants to join Tyler on another level by winning a state title. He came tantalizingly close last season when he took Park Hill’s Devin Winston to the limit in the 195-pound title bout last winter. The match was tied 1-1 when Chase shot for a takedown. He missed and Winston, a two-time state champion and ranked No. 1 in the country in the weight class, countered with his own takedown and won, 3-1. Chase hurt his ankle at that moment.
“We had a tough fight going on,” Stegall said. “I took a shot and hyperextended and overshot and sprained my ankle. Devin did what any wrestler would do and shot off my shot.”
Northwest co-head coach Ron Wilhelm said his twin brother and co-head coach, Bob, knew Chase was in trouble after Winston’s takedown.
“Bob knew right away,” Ron said.
“The last few seconds I had a lot on the line and didn’t worry too much about my ankle,” Stegall said. “I was trying to score points and get to where I wanted to go.”
So ended his junior year. Stegall was 38-2 last season. He’s won state medals all three years he’s wrestled with the Lions. As a freshman, Stegall won 47 matches and finished third at 170. His sophomore year, he won 52 matches and lost a 7-5 decision to Eureka’s Kyle Dickhaus to finish fourth at 182.
Stegall has won 128 matches in his career. If he reaches the medal round at the state championships in February, he’ll be the only member of the Lions to do it all four years.
“In most other years I’ve coached, he’d be a three-time state champion, but he’s wrestled some of the top wrestlers in the nation,” Ron Wilhelm said.
Stegall weighs 210 pounds as the new season is about to get underway. He said last week he’ll most likely begin the season in the 220-pound class and drop to 195 by January. Wilhelm said Stegall committed himself to a grueling offseason program and wrestled some of the top competition in the country this past offseason.
“He committed himself to a heavy weight-training program,” Wilhelm said. “We call him the manchild. He’s a man among boys with that physique.”
Staley senior Rocky Elam could be waiting for Stegall in Columbia if he chooses to return to 195. Elam won the state championship at 182 last season.
It’s not in Stegall’s DNA to avoid another wrestler because another weight class might provide an easier avenue for a state title.
“Chase won’t dodge anybody. I would expect nothing less out of him,” Ron Wilhelm said.
As Stegall sees it, wrestling the best of the best has helped him to three state medals. He sees no reason to change that.
“Facing those guys has made a huge impact on my success,” he said.
Division I programs chased Stegall for his services. The University of Illinois, University of Iowa, University of Missouri and Rutgers University tried to land him. Wilhelm said he’s never had a wrestler receive so many requests from top schools, but Stegall liked what he saw at Maryville.
“He’s so at peace with the Maryville decision,” Wilhelm said.
Having his parents close by and able to attend matches for him and his brother was a big enticement, Chase said. He said he also liked the culture Maryville is building with its wrestling program. Tyler was the Great Lakes Valley Conference Freshman of the Year in 2017 and has a record of 27-15 with the Saints, who were ranked No. 10 in the preseason in Division II by the National Wrestling Coaches Association.
“I had a lot of D-I schools coming after me, but I fell in love with Maryville,” Chase said. “I trust the process with what they’ve got going on there.
“Tyler’s experience there made quite an impact. I saw the level of where he was when he first got there and where he is now. They mature their wrestlers into men. I thought about Mizzou because it’s close to home and I grew up watching them.”
When he’s not honing his skills in the wrestling room, Stegall likes to hang out with his friends on Sundays and watch pro football games.
The Lions finished 10th in Class 4 when Chase was a freshman, but they’ve dropped back outside the top 20 the last two seasons.
“Watch out for Northwest wrestling because we’ve been working hard,” Stegall said.