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Pae, McClure to wrestle for state titles

COLUMBIA — Fulton junior Cody Pae and senior Zack McClure took different routes in arriving at the same destination — state championship matches.

Pae and McClure made it to Saturday’s state finals at 126 and 145 pounds, respectively, in Class 2 after picking up semifinal victories Friday night at the 82nd MSHSAA Wrestling Championships at Mizzou Arena.

Pae (38-1) advanced by pinning Harrisonville freshman Ty Cochran in 2 minutes, 35 seconds. Meanwhile, McClure (30-2) moved on by rallying from a one-point deficit with a reversal and a near-pin with less than 10 seconds left in his match to stun Odessa junior Evan Young in a 6-3 decision.

Pae will square off against John Burroughs senior Cory Lester (54-2) for the state championship at 126 pounds. Pae defeated Lester 6-4 for the District 2 title on Feb. 11 at Mexico.

McClure will clash with Excelsior Springs junior Brennan Johnson (41-9) for the state title at 145 pounds.

Sophomore John Kingsley, Fulton’s other semifinalist, was unable to make it a Hornets’ trio in the state finals. Kingsley (31-8) dropped a 9-1 major decision to Oak Grove senior Chase Wrisinger (48-3) in their match at 170 pounds.

Kingsley will face Mexico senior Sinjon Adams (31-2) in Saturday morning’s fourth-round wrestlebacks.

Sophomore Paul Books (35-9) — Fulton’s other remaining qualifier — meets Owensville sophomore Alton Harrell (47-5) at 182 pounds in fourth-round wrestlebacks. Books advanced with a 5-2 decision over Odessa sophomore Levi Turley in Friday night’s third-round wrestlebacks.

Fourth-round wrestlebacks in all classes start at 10 a.m. Saturday, followed by third- and fifth-place matches at noon. The finalists’ march and special presentations are set for 4 p.m., with the state title matches to begin at 4:30.

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