COLUMBIA — Tim Karsten got exactly what he wanted.
The Blair Oaks coach had a smile from ear to ear Thursday after the Falcons advanced all five wrestlers past the first day of the Class 1 state wrestling championships at Mizzou Arena.
Two wrestlers won their first-round matches, while the other three redeemed their first-round defeats with wins in the first round of wrestlebacks top make the top 12 in their respective weight classes.
"I'm really happy for all of them," Karsten said. "We didn't really have the numbers to do much as a team, but when everybody can do their best, we're set up for that."
Even with just five wrestlers at state, Blair Oaks is in 14th place out of 53 teams with 12.5 points after the first day. Whitfield leads with 39 points.
The Falcons started the morning session with an upset win. Dalton Bridges knocked off Lawson's Tyler Hachman in the first round, winning by fall in 3:48 to advance to the quarterfinals at 126 pounds.
Hachman is ranked No. 6 by MissouriWrestling.com at 126 and finished third at state last season at 120.
"It's always good to have a big win to start off with," Karsten said. "When you get on a roll, keep on going."
Bridges, a sophomore making his first state appearance, fell behind 2-0 after the first period. Hachman started down to begin the second period and picked up a reversal midway through to extend his lead to 4-0.
Then with :24 left in the period, Bridges had a reversal of his own and finished with a pin 12 seconds later to improve to 27-7.
"He's got the skills," Karsten said. "He had a little mental block there, thinking being a state qualifier is tough.
"Now that he's got that out of the way, he's not thinking about anything but wrestling. That's a good thing to do."
Scott Farley also advanced to the quarterfinals at 220. The senior was able to cruise to a win by technical fall in 5:18 against New Madrid County Central's Brian Mickle.
The only thing that seemed to slow down Farley (24-6) were a couple of stoppages due to a cut on his forehead. Still, he recorded a pair of 2-point nearfalls and two 3-point nearfalls, along with three takedowns and a reversal, to win 18-2.
"He's a bruiser. He goes in there head first," Karsten said. "He's got a big ol' knot on his head, but he's aggressive. That's an important thing to have here, just go after 'em and take what you can get."
Bridges will face Richmond's Austin Bowman (36-3), ranked No. 2, in today's quarterfinals, while Farley will meet Centralia's Sam Hasekamp (53-1), ranked No. 1.
"Anything can happen now," Karsten said. "You get that first tough one out of the way and you just keep on going."
Paul Karsten started his tournament with a loss by fall to Jadan Whitney of Trenton in 4:57, but the senior bounced back in wrestlebacks, winning by fall in just :22 against Promise Cooper of Sumner.
"We're excited about his next round," Tim Karsten said. "He's wrestled well."
Karsten will face either Blake Williamson of Buffalo or Blake McClain of Plattsburg in the second round of wrestlebacks.
A couple of Blair Oaks wrestlers narrowly continued their season past the first round of wrestlebacks.
Bo Thomas lost a 10-3 decision against top-ranked Alex Hollingsworth in the first round at 132. In his next match against Brayan Rodriguez of West Platte, the match was scoreless after one period and tied at 2 after the second.
After scoring an early takedown in the third period, Thomas (41-11) gave up an escape to cling to a 1-point lead. He held off a late takedown attempt by Rodriguez to seal the 6-5 win.
"It was closer than I was liking it to be," Karsten said, "but the result the right."
Meanwhile, at 285, Kaleb Bisges experienced a similar result. After losing by fall in 1:33 to defending state champion Brooks Baker of Brookfield in the first round, Bisges was able to hold on for a 5-4 win against Lutheran North's Devin Hart.
Bisges scored a takedown with :36 left in the third period to lead 5-3, then allowed an escape three seconds later. He also fought off Hart's late attempt at a winning takedown.
"You've got to finish the match," Karsten said. "That's what we preach this week. There are a lot of kids that wear out at the end. Don't be one of them."
Bisges (18-16) was the last wrestler of the day for Blair Oaks and ensured the Falcons were 5-for-5 on advancing wrestlers to today's matches.
More importantly for Karsten, it means another day for the Falcons to try and make some noise, trying to extend their season one more day.
"It's going to be more of the same," Karsten said. "Look our for yourself, do the best you can, have fun at it."