COLUMBIA — Normally, the Jefferson City Jays make a point to stick around to support their teammates at the state wrestling tournament.
But Thursday night, it was more important to send the wrestlers back to the hotel for rest.
"We're pretty sick right now," Jays coach Phil Cagle said. "There's something going through the team and we had to battle through it all day."
And battle it they did. The Jays picked up seven wins in the first round and still have nine of their 10 qualifiers alive after the opening day of the Class 4 tournament at Mizzou Arena.
"It was not a bad first round, with seven going through the front door," Cagle said. "Plus, with two others still going the wrestlebacks, it was about all we could have hoped for.
"You're never satisfied when you lose, but seven in the quarterfinals is a good day for us. The kids all wrestled well."
Five of the seven first-round winners picked up bonus points in their victories for Jefferson City.
"Every little bit helps," Cagle said. "You never know what a point here or there will do for you when it comes to the last day."
Dennis Barnes (30-4) got the lone win by fall for Jefferson City in the first round, winning in 3:35 against Seckman sophomore Blake Fritz (27-17).
"Dennis looked pretty good," Cagle said.
Four Jays — Sam Rackers at 132, Peter Kuster at 138, Tyler Bise at 170 and Brandon Backues at 220 — won major decisions.
Rackers (32-11) won 12-2 against Francis Howell Central senior Quentin Smith (20-9).
"Sam had a tough kid and did a very good job in getting that win," Cagle said.
Kuster (40-1) was a 10-0 winner against Hazelwood Central senior Cameron Sharp.
"Peter did what Peter needed to do to win that match," Cagle said.
Bise (35-4) doiminated his match, leading 12-1 at one point on his way to a 13-5 victory.
"For being as sick as he is, Tyler did a great job," Cagle said.
Backues (17-7) rebounded from a scoreless first period to take an 8-0 lead into the final two minutes on his way to a 13-0 victory against Ruskin junior Ienna Enchukwu.
"Brandon has really wrestled well for us lately and he continued that tonight," Cagle said.
Winning decisions for Jefferson City were Charlie Kusick at 126 and Christian Mayberry at 145.
Kusick (36-6) won 8-1 against Lindbergh sophomore Andrew Javier, while Mayberry was an 8-2 winner against Payton Price, a junior from Blue Springs.
Still alive in the wrestlebacks for the Jays are Reece Neighbors at 152 and Davonta Finney at 285.
Neighbors (26-15) lost by fall to Staley senior Charley Genisio in the first round. The Jefferson City junior then defeated C.B.C. senior Andrew Gentry (19-24) by a 5-4 score in the wrestlebacks.
"Reece did a very good job in winning that match," Cagle said.
Finney (29-11) lost by fall to Hazelwood Central junior Norman Deverse in the first round, then came back with a 10-5 win against C.B.C. sophomore Faze Thomas.
"I know Davonta was disappointed after that first match," Cagle said.
Sam Martin, a sophomore, went 0-2 at 113 to be eliminated Thursday.
"This was a great learning experience for Sam," Cagle said.
The Jays are fourth in the team standings after the first day with 22 points. Staley (45), Park Hill (28) and Lafayette: Wildwood (26) hold down the top three spots.
Cagle is hoping a night of rest will rejuvenate his team.
"We're going to get some fluids in them and be ready to go again (today)," he said.
The Class 4 quarterfinals and second-round wrestlebacks will begin at 1:30 p.m., with the semifinals and third-round wrestlebacks slated for a 6 p.m. start.