An hour before the championship matches began, De Soto senior Jaycee Foeller and Lafayette junior Faith Cole sat together on the mat at Cable Dahmer Arena.
Suddenly, Cole felt a sense of dread and realized she was not prepared — for a celebration.
“Everybody has these cool things ready if they win,” Cole said while going through a series of flexes and poses. “And I had nothing.”
Foeller came to the rescue, suggesting if they won they should hold up three fingers to signify the third successive state title for each of them.
Both won and extended their undefeated streaks and three of their digits toward the rafters, solidifying their legacy as the standard bearers for Missouri high school girls wrestling.
For their sustained excellence in their sport, Foeller and Cole are the Post-Dispatch All-Metro co-girls wrestlers of the year.
With her first period pin of Parkway West senior Emma Carter, Foeller concluded her high school career with a 121-0 overall record. She pinned every opponent this season — all in the first period.
Cole moved to 89-0 in her career, according to Missouri State High School Activities Association records, with a technical fall over Washington senior Mia Reed. Cole defeated every opponent this season by either technical fall or pin and did not allow a takedown.
Foeller and Cole are the only three-time champions in the three seasons Missouri has sponsored a girls wrestling state tournament and thus the only two to go unbeaten in three seasons. Troy Buchanan's Autumn Flanigan graduated unbeaten at 56-0 in 2020 after the sport's first two seasons.
Neither Foeller nor Cole has taken time to savor their impressive high school accomplishments as both are preparing for high level national tournaments occurring this spring and summer.
“It’s kind of odd, but I haven’t reminisced about anything yet,” Foeller said. “I haven’t even made a sappy end of the season post (on social media).”
Both will participate in a dual meet April 16 in Kansas City where state champions from Missouri and Kansas will square off. They both are scheduled to attend the USA Wrestling World Team Trials beginning May 9 and the USA World Junior Nationals from July 16-23 in Fargo, North Dakota.
Ranked sixth nationally at 164 pounds by USA Wrestling, Foeller placed fifth at the World Team Trials as a sophomore against much older competition and won the USA Cadet World Junior Nationals in Fargo.
“She’s been one of my favorite wrestlers to watch,” Cole said of Foeller. “I was too young to compete at Fargo, but I watched Jaycee win the Cadet title the first year she was there, and I thought, ‘She’s a big deal.’ ”
Cole has been impressive equally on the national stage. Ranked fourth at 106 pounds by USA Wrestling, Cole was a finalist as an incoming sophomore at the World Junior tournament in Fargo. Most recently, on March 26, she placed second at the National Recruiting Showcase in Coralville, Iowa, defeating the nation’s top-ranked 100-pound wrestler in the semifinals.
As prominent national competitors, both Foeller and Cole were glued to their televisions April 3 watching the United States Olympic trials for women’s wrestling.
“It was two or three hours of me just staring at the TV and making sure I didn’t miss a match,” Cole said. “It’s cool to see the emotions of the wrestlers because you’re watching their dreams come true.”
Foeller has signed to wrestle at McKendree University next season and knew right away the school in Lebanon, Illinois, was the perfect fit.
“I’m so excited. I walked on campus and said this is where I want to be,” Foeller said. “The women’s team is phenomenal and I’m excited for the new level of competition.”
Cole also is looking to wrestle in college and steadily has been working toward the dream she developed when she was 12 years old.
“I want to be a world champ and I want to be an Olympic champ,” Cole said. “Those senior-level teams, I want to be able to make those teams, and I want to be able to hold that spot.”
Both Foeller and Cole marvel at the extent to which girls wrestling has grown in Missouri and how much the quality has improved in the three years since it has been a sanctioned sport.
“You can visibly see the ability and talent on the mat. The first year it was basically all beginners, except for a few girls, but this past year I got comments from dozens of people saying how much better girls wrestling has gotten in Missouri,” Cole said.
Foeller sees the results on the national stage as well.
“There are girls (from Missouri) who are knocking out national team girls and I’m like, ‘Who are you? I don’t know who you are.’ And that’s awesome,” Foeller said. “Wrestling in Missouri is going to explode even more than it already has and I’m excited for it.”
As for their advice for any girl looking to get involved in the sport — just do it and do not listen to the naysayers.
“When I first started, some people did not want to see a girl on the mat wrestling in the same tournaments as boys,” Cole said. “I tell girls to be hard-headed, be opinionated and don’t give in to the negativity. If you get one person who tells you shouldn’t be wrestling, there are hundreds of others who will tell you that you should be.”
And it would be hard to find two better ambassadors for girls wrestling in Missouri than Cole and Foeller, who will spend the spring and summer showing the nation wrestlers from the Show Me State can grapple with the best of them.
“Jaycee is definitely one of my favorite people to travel with and compete with and I can’t wait to be making junior and senior level teams with her in the future,” Cole said.
And if they happen to make a national team together, this time Cole may be the one who suggests the mode of celebration.
“I learned how to do a back flip last weekend,” Cole said.
ALL-METRO FIRST TEAM
2021 All-Metro girls wrestling first team
Faith Cole, junior, Lafayette
All-Metro co-wrestler of the year captured her third successive state title by winning the 107-pound championship. Finished season 36-0 and did not surrender a takedown. Ranked fourth nationally at 106 pounds by USA Wrestling, Cole is 89-0 in her career according to MSHSAA, winning all but two matches by pin or technical fall. Helped Lafayette claim third consecutive state runner-up team trophy.
Jaycee Foeller, senior, De Soto
All-Metro co-wrestler of the year won her third successive state title by winning the 174-pound championship. Foeller completed a magnificent 121-0 career with a first period pin in the state title match. Ranked sixth nationally at 164 pounds by USA Wrestling, Foeller was 39-0 this season and pinned every opponent in the first period. She has signed to wrestle at McKendree University.
Naida Abdijanovic, junior, Mehlville
State runner-up at 137 pounds. After winning five successive matches to earn a third-place medal at state last season, Abdijanovic had another difficult road to the medal stand. She needed a late pin in the third-place match at the Sectional 1 tournament to earn a return trip to state. Finished 25-4, highlighted by a third period pin against Seraphina Blackmon of Lafayette to advance to state final.
Seraphina Blackmon, senior, Lafayette
Third-place state finisher at 137 pounds and posted a 32-6 record. Blackmon won the Seckman Women’s Scramble and placed second behind Parkway West junior Paige Wehrmeister in the District 2 and Sectional 1 tournaments. Of her seven postseason victories, five were by pin and two by decisions where she did not yield a point. She helped Lafayette earn a second-place team trophy at state for third successive season.
Emma Carter, senior, Parkway West
With a pin in her third-place match at sectionals, Carter earned her first trip to the state tournament and made the most of it. She earned a second-place state medal at 174 pounds by pinning her first opponent with 17 seconds remaining in the match, then by defeating Union senior Jaiden Powell, who had pinned Carter three weeks earlier. Carter finished 27-4, placing second to Jaycee Foeller of De Soto at both the St. Clair Classic and state.
Esther Han, junior, Holt
The state runner-up at 143 pounds, Han won the Hickman tournament, the GAC championship, and captured the District 3 and Sectional 2 titles before advancing to the title match for the third successive season. A two-time state champion, Han lost an 8-3 decision to undefeated sophomore Maddie Kubicki of Park Hill South in the state final and finished with a 32-2 overall record.
Hannah Jansen, senior, Webster Groves
State runner-up at 151 pounds finished season with a 24-1 record. Jansen recorded first period pins in her first five postseason matches to earn District 1 and Sectional 1 championships. The returning state champion at 152 pounds, Jansen lost a 6-2 decision to Fort Osage sophomore Haley Ward (33-1) in state final. Jansen is signed to play softball at Florida International University and helped Webster Groves win its first softball state championship.
Sabrina King, senior, St. Charles
Needing only 1 minute and 19 seconds of mat time to win two matches and advance to the state final at 132 pounds, King completed a perfect 32-0 season with a second period pin of Skyler Maverick of Buffalo in the title match. King pinned her way through the season and won Liberty, Ste. Genevieve, Seckman and GAC tournament titles. Signed with Central Methodist.
Allison Meyer, senior, Washington
The state runner-up at 117 pounds, Meyer posted a 44-1 record. She was unbeaten before losing by second period pin to Chloe Herrick of Harrisonville in the state final. Fueled by losing the bubble match at state the previous two seasons, Meyer won the Union Invitational, the North County Scramble and GAC tournament before winning first place at the District 2 and Sectional 1 tournaments. She helped Washington earn a third-place team trophy at state.
Josette Partney, senior, Lafayette
Completing a perfect 36-0 season with a first period pin in the 159-pound state title match, Partney showed she could win quickly and by going the distance. Five of her nine postseason matches went the full six minutes, including a 14-11 thriller against Ali Haiser of Lebanon in a state semifinal. A third-place state medalist last season, Partney signed to wrestle at Missouri Baptist.
Jaiden Powell, senior, Union
A third-place state finisher at 174 pounds, Powell finished with a 31-4 overall record, only losing to Jaycee Foeller of De Soto and Emma Carter of Parkway West. She placed first at the Fort Zumwalt North tournament, the Four Rivers Conference tournament and the District 1 tournament, pinning Carter in the title match. All eight of her postseason victories were by pin.
Mia Reed, senior, Washington
With her experience and stamina, Reed produced three third period pins to reach the 107-pound state final and finished as runner-up. A fourth-place state medalist last year, Reed posted a 40-6 record, losing to undefeated Faith Cole of Lafayette in the title match at district, sectionals and state. She helped Washington earn a third-place team trophy at state and is signed to run cross country and track at Missouri Baptist.
Audrey Scherer, freshman, Lindbergh
The state runner-up at 102 pounds, Scherer’s blend of skill, conditioning and mental toughness helped her excel late in matches. She secured two pins in the final 50 seconds of the third period to win the District 1 title. After winning the Sectional 1 title, she earned two pins in the third period at state to advance to the championship match. Scherer finished her inaugural high school season 37-3.
Paige Wehrmeister, junior, Parkway West
Fueled by an early exit from the state tournament last season, Wehrmeister won the championship in the 137-weight class by winning two major decisions and earning a third period pin. Finished 23-0, placing first at the St. Clair Classic, the District 2 tournament and a loaded Sectional 1 that contained four returning state qualifiers among the eight wrestlers in her weight class.
ALL-METRO SECOND TEAM
2021 All-Metro girls wrestling second team
Reese Compton, junior, Holt
A sixth-place state medalist at 112 pounds, Compton won the District 3 title and placed second at both the GAC championships and Sectional 2 tournament. Compiled a 25-6 record.
Elisabeth Cosentino, senior, McCluer North
A sixth-place state finisher at 159 pounds, Cosentino did not win her first match until the postseason due to a belated start for winter sports in the Ferguson-Florissant school district. She finished with 10 victories, including the District 3 and Sectional 2 tournament titles.
Julia Donnelly, sophomore, Washington
A fifth-place state finisher at 102 pounds, Donnelly lost her first match at state and then won three in a row with 2-0 and 2-1 decisions and a third period pin. She finished second at District 2, third at Sectional 1 and had a 38-8 record.
Cassidy Head, junior, St. Charles
A sixth-place state finisher at 137 pounds, Head won the St. Genevieve scramble and finished second at the GAC championships, District 3 and Sectional 2, compiling a 26-6 record.
Janiah Jones, sophomore, Parkway South
A sixth-place state finisher at 127 pounds, Jones compiled a 28-5 record, winning the St. Clair Classic and the District 2 tournament and placing third at Sectional 1.
Kirsten Klein, junior, Festus
The first state medalist in Festus girls wrestling history, Klein placed fifth at 112 pounds by winning three successive matches after losing her first one. Won Seckman Women’s Tournament and District 1 and had a 29-5 record.
Talia Lee, sophomore, Webster Groves
A third-place state finisher at 122 pounds, Lee compiled a 22-6 record and placed second at both District 1 and Sectional 1 to qualify for her second successive trip to state.
Lilly McCollum, sophomore, Eureka
A fourth-place state finisher at 102 pounds, McCollum compiled a 30-7 record and became a state qualifier for the second time by winning District 2 and placing second at Sectional 1.
Audrey McDonnell, senior, Francis Howell
A sixth-place state finisher at 151 pounds, McDowell compiled a 19-2 record and won first place at the GAC championships, District 3 and Sectional 2.
Nadia Middendorf, sophomore, Parkway South
A sixth-place finisher at 117 pounds, Middendorf compiled a 26-5 record. She won the St. Clair Classic and finished second at the District 2 and Sectional 1 tournaments to earn her second trip to state.
Sophia Miller, sophomore, Francis Howell Central
A fifth-place state finisher at 107 pounds, Miller won the GAC championship and placed second at District 3 and Sectional 2, earning her second trip to the state meet while compiling a 15-3 record.
Marissa Sanabria, sophomore, Holt
A sixth-place state finisher at 122 pounds, Sanabria won the GAC championship, District 3 and Sectional 2 titles and compiled a 32-4 record.
Emma Schreiber, senior, Kirkwood
Earning a third-place state medal at 159 pounds, Schreiber compiled a 15-3 record. She won the St. Clair Classic and placed second at the District 2 and Sectional 1 tournaments. Schreiber finished her career with a 72-13 record and as a three-time state medalist.
Maria Slaughter, sophomore, Holt
Slaughter placed fourth at state at 137 pounds and compiled a 34-3 record. She won the GAC championship, District 3 and Sectional 2 titles. A two-time state medalist, she finished as state runner-up as a freshman.
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