COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Hannibal wrestling coach Derek Greening left the Pirates with one lingering thought before leaving them to their own devices Thursday night.
"I told them to relax and focus think about how they want to wrestle tomorrow," Greening said. "They just have to go out and do that."
Six of the seven Pirates competing in the Class 3 state tournament at Mizzou Arena are still alive after the opening day of the three-day event. They are joined by four Palmyra wrestlers who each won at least one match in the Class 1 state tournament and remain alive.
"Most of the boys came out and wrestled physical," said Greening, who had five of his seven wrestlers win their opening matches. "Most of them controlled their matches and wrestled exactly the way we wanted them to."
At 132 pounds, Tyler Leonard (40-4) scored an 11-3 major decision over Republic's Michael Taylor. At 152, Garrett Ruby (27-7) won a 6-4 decision over Grain Valley's Ethan Grasher. At 160, Trevor Wilson (37-6) won a 15-0 technical fall over Cape Girardeau Central's Davion Steele. At 170, 170 Vernell Hawkins (38-5) pinned Farmington's Karl Krause in 2:46. At 220, Chase Kirby (26-12) won a 6-1 decision over Harrisonville's Jayme Gray.
"I didn't see too many of them acting nervous," Greening said. "They were in control."
At 145, Tanner Leonard lost a 2-1 decision to Warrensburg's Colby Blenge in the first round but rebounded for a 16-3 major decision over Carl Junction's Cole Stewart.
"He responded to a tough loss and came back with an aggressive approach," Greening said.
At 138, the Pirates' Gavin Morawitz lost twice and was eliminated, getting pinned in 2:27 and suffering a 5-1 setback.
In the Class 1 state tournament, Palmyra coach Josh Buatte admitted it was a big deal for his wrestlers to be a part of the state experience, but they handled the nerves with maturity despite being freshmen and sophomores.
"They all had a confidence about them," Buatte said.
At 106, Palmyra's Kaden Crane (38-9) scored a 13-3 major decision over Kennett's Jesus Diaz. At 145, sophomore Ross Arch (32-1) pinned McCluer South-Berkeley's Jason Matthews in 4:13.
And at 152, Peyton Timbrook (28-23) pinned Brentwood's Cody Hughes in 5:08.
At 113, Brayden Stevens was pinned by Seneca's Kendon Pollard in 35 seconds in the first round, but he rebounded for a 19-0 technical fall over Hancock's Chase Blagg.
"They all stepped up and wrestled like they belonged," Buatte said. "You could tell they weren't as nervous as much as you might think. They wrestled with confidence."