The Jefferson City Jays point toward two weekends in February every wrestling season - the district and state tournaments.
It's no time for bad luck to rear its ugly head. But a combination of injuries and illnesses left three starters out of the Jays lineup.
"We've had some bad things happen the last 10 days or so," Jays coach Phil Cagle said Saturday after the Jefferson City finished with four state tournament qualifiers in the Class 4 District 3 Tournament at Fleming Fieldhouse in Jefferson City.
"You have to deal with it. It just happens, you do everything you can do to prevent it. You just need to go out and do the best job you can under the circumstances and we did a great job of that."
Even a couple of the qualifiers had to fight through some issues.
At 120 pounds, freshman Logan Moriarity battled through a bout with the flu to take second for the Jays.
"He's a great example of a kid who works really hard," Cagle said. "Logan did a great job."
Moriarity (45-5) advanced to the final with a 4-0 win against Clayton Wegener of Eureka before losing by a third-period fall to Austin Eveler of Lee's Summit West in the title bout.
"Logan gave it everything he had this weekend," Cagle said.
At 145, Rodney Webbe suffered an injury to his right ankle, but finished third in the tournament.
The senior injury defaulted his semifinal match, meaning he had to win his third-round consolation match to get to state.
"That was our goal in this tournament for Rodney, to get him to state," Cagle said.
Webbe (42-5) defeated Graham Ratermann of Rock Bridge 10-3 in that match, then won by a second-period fall against Dustin McElroy of Raymore-Peculiar to take third.
"He's just so tough to even be wrestling on that ankle," Cagle said. "He did that all on one foot, basically. If he was healthy, I really believe he would have been in the finals and maybe a champion."
John Carter (40-4) took third at 285 for the Jays. The junior rebounded from a semifinal loss to Jacob Semple of Waynesville to pin Nathan Hall of Lee's Summit West and Xyah Ra of Nixa to make it to state.
"It was just a matter of a couple of inches in the match with Semple," Cagle said. "If John could have gotten his hips down on his throw, he's have pinned him. Instead, Semple rolled him through and caught him.
"It was just a matter of a couple of inches."
Corbin Howard is Jefferson City's other qualifier, finishing fourth at 113.
"It was a great tournament for Corbin, he had some outstanding matches," Cagle said. "A few things here or there, he finishes a little higher."
Howard dropped a tough 4-2 overtime decision to Travian Martin of Eureka in the semifinals, meaning the sophomore had to win his next match to qualify.
"Corbin did a great job of getting mentally ready for the next one," Cagle said. "That can be a tough thing to do."
Howard (32-5) won 4-3 against Travian Martin of Eureka before losing by fall to Naseeph Al-Roubaie of Nixa in the third-place match.
The Jays finished 3-5 in third-round consolation, the "go-or-go home" matches.
"For some of our kids overachieved to get that far," Cagle said. "We were in some close matches against kids that beat us earlier in the year in some matches that weren't so close."
Jefferson City finished eighth as a team with 86.5 points.
"We're probably a better dual team than we are a tournament team," Cagle said. "Considering our youth, we were a very good dual team this season. Our youth shows in a tournament like this."
Now it's time to focus on state, which starts at 5 p.m. Thursday at Mizzou Arena.
"Some kids are going to be happy just to get there," Cagle said. "We're happy that we're going, but make no mistake, we're going there to wrestle and do the best job we can."
Waynesville took team honors with 153 points. Northwest: Cedar Hill was second with 132, while Eureka was third in the 13-team event with 119.