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King sisters help St. Charles continue GAC tournament dominance

King sisters help St. Charles continue GAC tournament dominance

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ST. CHARLES — There was no arm-twisting. No threats.

Just a simple promise from St. Charles High senior wrestler Sabrina King to her younger sister Alyssa.

"I told her if she'd come out for wrestling, I guarantee you'll enjoy it," Sabrina recalled. 

Big sister was right.

Alyssa, a sophomore, used a slick late-match move to claim the 102-pound championship in the Gateway Athletic Conference girls wrestling tournament Friday at Francis Howell North.

Sabrina also came through with a title at 132 pounds.

The sister duo helped the Pirates capture their third successive league crown, outlasting rival Holt 185-172 in the power-packed meet.

Alyssa was a cheerleader and dancer during her junior high years, going against family tradition. 

Their father, Ryan, runs a successful wrestling academy in Illinois. Colton King, a senior at De Smet, is the defending Class 4 state title holder at 106 pounds.

At first, Alyssa wanted to continue her cheerleading and dancing career.

But Sabrina gave her a promise — so she decided to take the chance.

As a freshman last season, Alyssa advanced all the way to the state tournament. She lost both matches in Columbia but came away with a whole new outlook on the sport.

"I just wasn't interested before," Alyssa said. "But watching all the fun my brother and sister were having, I said, 'Let's give it a try.' "

St. Charles assistant coach Kevin Dill was overjoyed by the decision.

"She just came around and realized this would be a good experience for her," Dill said. "Last year she was a state qualifier and that got her to work even harder over the summer.

"Now, she's an accomplished wrester."

Alyssa executed a perfect arm drag with just 19 seconds left to post a 2-0 win over Fort Zumwalt North sophomore Courtnee Hoff.

"Just waiting to make my move," Alyssa said.

Alyssa improved to 16-0 with 14 pins. The match Friday was her closest of the season.

Sabrina continued the King sister dominance just more than 40 minutes later by pinning Elektra Lowe of Liberty in 1 minute and 32 seconds. Sabrina is 16-0 with 15 pins. Her other win came via injury forfeit.

"This is a good bonding thing for me and my sister too," Sabrina said. "It's great that we're both doing pretty well."

Sabrina won a state championship as a freshman at Belleville West. She finished third and fourth in her other two state appearances.

The two girls are ranked first in their division in the latest statewide poll. Colton is also No. 1 in his weight class. The family is in position to grab three state crowns in March.

"They take everything seriously and they work hard," Ryan said. "That's what makes me so proud of them."

Junior Elizabeth Brooksher claimed the championship at 159 pounds to give the Pirates a three pack of titles.

Holt claimed four individual championships to nail down second place.

Junior Esther Han improved to 17-0 with a second-period pin over Fort Zumwalt West junior Jessie Deane, who entered the 143-pound contest with an 11-0 mark.

Deane battled evenly with the powerful Han, who is a two-time defending state champion. The match was tied 2-2 after one period.

Holt also received first-place finishes from Marissa Sanabria (122), Maria Slaughter (137) and Sydni Scott (235). The multi-talented Scott also is a starter on the basketball team.

"(St. Charles) is just so deep," Holt coach Andrew Hammond said. "It's hard to keep up with their depth."

Washington senior Mia Reed became the GAC's first three-time conference titleholder with a victory over Fort Zumwalt West junior Maddie Voegtlin at 112. Blue Jays senior Allison Meyer improved to 21-0 with win at 117 pounds.

Howell Central sophomore Sophia Miller pulled off the upset of the tournament by pinning Holt junior Reece Compton in 1:15 at 107.

Miller (8-0) grabbed the first girls GAC crown in school history. Compton was looking for her third successive GAC title.

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