Bowen becomes first Mexico girls wrestler to qualify for state

Bowen becomes first Mexico girls wrestler to qualify for state
Katie Bowen
By: 
Dave Faries
Editor

Katie Bowen made Mexico High School history several times this year. She took home the first ever weight class victory. She was a district champion. And now the 102 pounder is headed to state.

Bowen qualified for the state girls wrestling tournament in Independence thanks to a silver medal performance at sectionals in Versailles on Saturday, becoming the first girl to represent the Bulldogs at the highest level.

All five from Mexico’s inaugural girls team qualified for sectionals. And coach Tony Senor’s squad almost sent two wrestlers on to Independence.

At 122 pounds, Abby Drew was edged 4-3 in the consolation finals by McCluer North’s Natalie Schaljo to finish fourth, one position from advancing.

“She left everything on the mat,” Senor said. “Abby is a warrior.”

Bowen’s day was phenomenal. She opened by pinning Camrin Watkins of Francis Howell Central at the end of the first period. Then she took on Brentwood’s Zoe Arrindell, who finished sixth in state a year ago.

The Mexico 102-pounder dominated throughout the match, earning a 17-3 major decision.

Although she lost to Alyssa King of St. Charles in the title round, the advantage tilted back and forth throughout the match. Earlier in the year Bowen lost by fall in the early going against King. This time everything hung in the balance as the third period wound down.

But with just a few seconds to go before overtime, Bowen found herself in trouble. She couldn’t work free.

The top three finishers in sectional qualified for state, so Bowen’s second guaranteed the trip.

There were 33 schools represented at the Class 1 Section 2 Tournament on Saturday, which brought 133 wrestlers to Versailles to complete the first ever season of state sanctioned girls team wrestling in Missouri.

“I was well pleased,” Senor said. “That was the best performance by all of our girls – period.”

Drew is a first-time wrestler who became a regular winner during the season. And she opened with a 15-3 major decision over Schaljo. During her battle with Palmyra’s Dyoni Mundy – a loss by fall at 1:02 – Drew took a hard tumble.

She recovered to best Alayna Roling of Blair Oaks in overtime, earning an 8-7 sudden victory. But she was not at her best when she faced Schaljo for the second time.

Drew tried, but could not get the take down needed for a decision.

“That’s all it was,” Senor said. “She was out of gas.”

Kaylynn Pehle at 132 battled injury and did not move on. She fought into the third in her opener before losing. In the next round it took two periods to beat her.

Brett Iman had the misfortune to open the day against the eventual 151-pound class winner, Audrey McDowell of Francis Howell. Choice Foster, representing Mexico at 143, took on two opponents but came up short.

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