Autumn Flanigan, a junior at Troy Buchanan High School, is headed to the first-ever state championships for girls wrestling in Missouri.
“It feels good, I’m definitely thankful,” Flanigan said about her performance after placing first at the recent Fort Zumwalt North District Tournament, and winning the 110-pound class at Francis Howell’s Kyle Thrasher Memorial Tournament.
The state competition is this weekend in Columbia and while the Troy Buchanan wrestling season is going to cap with that tourney, Flanigan said she typically wrestles in the off-season as well. In the past she’s wrestled for Team Missouri, G-Force, Team Valkyrie and even Team USA.
“I haven’t been doing much with them [Team USA] this year because I’ve been focusing on the school team, but last year I went to Canada with them in December and then during February I went to Sweden and wrestled with them, so that was fun. They have all kinds of camps that I normally go to that are all over the place.”
The Sweden trip was a competition, with 23 countries represented, and Flanigan said she placed sixth.
To prepare for the state championships, Flanigan said she’s been running and practicing, and focusing on keeping her weight at the 110 range. “I pretty much practice almost every single day,” Flanigan said. For training, Flanigan does some strength workouts and cross-country running on the side for conditioning, but a majority of her practice time is spent drilling on the mats.
The upcoming state competition as a whole is exciting, Flanigan said, and not only her own bracket.
Seeing the entire field of competitors and who will end up taking the top place for the different brackets will be “interesting.”
From her off-season activities, Flanigan said she knows a lot of the different wrestlers who will be making an appearance at state, though none of her friends are in the same weight class.
This is the first year for a girls-only league in Missouri, and Flanigan said a lot of the competitors are still feeling out the battlefield, and that she’s “pretty confident” when it comes to taking on challengers at the 110 level.
“Most of the girls, like the National Team girls that I know, they’re in 103, 116, 121, they’re not in my weight class,” Flanigan said.
“Most of the girls that are wrestling, because the girls division just came out, they’re first-year wrestlers,” Flanigan added. “They’re still learning.”
Over the last 20 years, Troy has had 67 wrestlers qualify for state, with 24 of them bringing home a medal (placing in the top 6).
There have been two state champions in that time.