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Ray, Basler place fourth in state wrestling

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – Alayna Ray became the first state medalist in the history of the Central girls wrestling program on Tuesday while joining four other local athletes in the podium.

North County senior Mikayla Whatley and Ste. Genevieve junior Maggie Myracle also set standards for their respective schools as two-time medalists during the one-day event at Cable-Dahmer Arena.

Lebanon captured the team championship over Lafayette (Wildwood) by 20 points while boasting six medalists in a format that gathers all school sizes into a single enrollment classification.

Ray placed fourth overall at 235 pounds to cap her postseason debut. She received a first-round bye among 12 wrestlers by virtue of her sectional title more than two weeks earlier.

Her clutch fall over Clara Rathmann of Camdenton with six seconds left in regulation earned a semifinal berth. Ray was pinned twice from there to end her season with a 19-5 overall record.

Ste. Genevieve junior Izzy Basler also bagged a fourth-place result at 127 pounds. It took an eventual undefeated state champion to derail her path to the finals.

Basler (29-8) notched a quarterfinal fall at the 3:50 mark against Chase Kiel of Staley, but was stopped next by Nonnie Justice of Harrisonville, who went on to complete a 44-0 campaign.

Whatley (47-3) ended a stellar run at North County by equaling her fifth-place medal from last winter after bringing a 37-match win streak into the state tourney.

She battled back from a third-period setback against Halea Bertel of Lebanon in the quarters by working her way through three subsequent decisions at 122 pounds.

Whatley topped familiar opponent Lauren Mills of Festus 4-0, then notched another impressive shutout of 7-0 against Kailey Artherton of Cassville.

Whatley broke ice in her fifth-place bout with a takedown late in the second period, then opened the third with a key escape to earn a 4-2 triumph over Marissa Sanabria of Holt (Wentzville).

De Soto senior Jaycee Foeller (39-0) pinned each of her three opponents in the first period to culminate a perfect high school career with her third consecutive title atop the 174-pound field.

Three local wrestlers qualified for state at 195 pounds, and Myracle would ultimately have one more duel with North County standout Brooke Bennett to decide fifth place.

Myracle (34-3) claimed the lone point with an immediate bottom escape in period two, and earned the fall 40 seconds into the third while never relinquishing control.

It was a moment of redemption for Myracle following her third-place sectional finish behind Bennett and Central junior Karli McFarland.

Myracle went 4-1 on the day after starting with a fall at 57 seconds. She suffered a heartbreaking 8-6 defeat by ultimate tiebreaker to KayLyn Munn of Platte County, but safely reached the podium with an ensuing 6-0 decision and early second-fall to give the Dragons a second medalist.

Bennett (30-7) regrouped from a pin by Catherine Dutton of Springfield Central to earn consolation falls at 39 seconds over Lilly Murphy of Francis Howell and 54 seconds over Sam Heine of Harrisonville.

McFarland (17-14) won her opening match on the other half of the bracket against Izabella Kidwell of Smith-Cotton at 1:21, then was eliminated from medal contention by consecutive falls.

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