Dylan Linsenbardt has advanced to Saturday in his first two trips to the Class 3 state wrestling tournament.
That meant he earned a medal. But he's never wrestled in Saturday night's championship round.
The senior, wrestling at 113 pounds, is ready for his chance in the spotlight.
"I need to stay focused and keep watching the guys I would be wrestling," Linsenbardt said as he prepared to open the tournament at 5 p.m. today at Mizzou Arena. "Just be as prepared as I can, be aggressive and push the pace in all of my matches.
"But it's just one match at a time."
Linsenbardt (44-8), who was fifth at 103 as a sophomore and fifth at 113 last year, opens against Parker Neptune of Washington (soph., 42-11).
"For Dylan to get his third state medal, that would put him up with some of the best wrestlers we've had here," Helias coach Travis Reinsch said.
Linsenbardt wrestled much of the season at 120 before dropping to 113 with an eye toward the postseason.
"I love losing weight," he said with a smile.
Linsenbardt, who set a Helias record this season with 32 wins by fall, would likely then face Dylan Burns of Lebanon (soph., 39-5) in Friday afternoon's quarterfinal. With a win, there's a good chance he would then meet up with Sam Seidel of Oak Park (sr., 16-7) in the semifinals Friday night.
"Seidel's a lot better than his record shows," Reinsch said.
Jared Singh of Kearney (sr., 46-5) is the prohibitive favorite to make it to the final in the other half of the bracket. Singh, who was third at 103 as a freshman before winning the 113-pound title as a sophomore and a junior, is ranked No. 1 by MissouriWrestling.com. Linsenbardt is No. 2.
Singh defeated Linsenbardt by technical fall in the district title match last Saturday in Liberty.
"A lot of people get tech-falled by Singh," Reinsch said.
Linsenbardt would like another chance to wrestle Singh, who also defeated him by fall in the state semifinals last year.
"If you catch him, anything can happen," Linsenbardt, who looks to wrestle in college next year, said. "I'd like to take another shot."
So would Reinsch.
"I've seen a lot of crazy things happen in the finals," he said. "If we get that far, you never know."
The championship round starts at 4:30 p.m. Saturday.