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Wilbourn leads Francis Howell Central to district crown

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Wilbourn leads Francis Howell Central to district crown
Bryan Williams

Francis Howell Central junior Terrel Wilbourn couldn’t have been more pleased with his 9-3 win over Francis Howell North’s Jason Shell in the 130-pound final Saturday at the Class 4, District 2 Tournament at Hazelwood Central.

“I felt he reached a point where he didn’t want to wrestle me anymore,” said Wilbourn of Shell.

A number of other wrestlers in other weight classes felt the same way about other Spartans they tussled with, too. Howell Central was dominant at the tournament as it claimed five first-place finishes and qualified 11 overall for the state tournament coming up Friday and Saturday in Columbia.

“We had a good day,” said Spartans coach Steve Cross of his team, which finished first with 212 points, which easily eclipsed second-place Francis Howell’s 164 points. “I thought we wrestled good in the semifinals and the finals.”

None wrestled better than Wilbourn and his brother, senior Brandon Wilbourn. Terrell, who is a defending state champ at 112, improved to 47-0 with his win. Brandon, who scored a 17-6 major decision over Howell North’s Jeff Shell, Jason’s brother, improved to 48-1.

“They’re both phenomenal athletes,” said Cross of the Wilbourn.

They’re both ranked No. 1 by and aiming for state titles in Columbia. They likely would have achieved the goal of both winning state crowns last year if Brandon hadn’t torn his MCL in the semifinals.

That was a year after he was knocked unconscious in the 135-pound state final against Eureka’s Nick Lester and had to default.

“I was like decimated both times,” he said. “The reason I got injured was I wasn’t as aggressive. I let up a second and it cost me.”

He never let up Saturday in the final. He scored a takedown early to go up 2-0 and never trailed from there.

“I wanted to control the tempo and be dominant,” he said.

Other Spartans who won district titles included John Wood, who topped McCluer North’s Curtis Peebles 10-3 in the 119-pound final to improve to 44-2; Ben Henson, who beat McCluer North’s Willie Essex 4-2 at 125; and Andrew King, who pinned Howell’s Tyler Austin with 55 seconds left in the second period of the 140-pound title match.

“If the team shows up in Columbia we might be able to make a great run at a state title,” said Brandon Wilbourn.

Francis Howell had three wrestlers win district titles including Jake Long at 103, Sean O’Leary at 112 and Christopher Wolf at 171.

Hazelwood Central and Hazelwood East both had two title winners. The Hawks’ Julian Smith improved to 42-0 with a pin of DeSmet’s Pat Mohan at 3:59 mark in the 215-pound final and Central’s Bryan Williams won the 145-pound title despite being unseeded. Hazelwood East’s Meldrick Woods won at 160 and the Spartans’ Nicholas Bolden won the 285-pound class.

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