The Class 4 125-pound state wrestling championship match Saturday at Mizzou Arena began with Dixon slamming Crane to the mat three times. Each loud thud of Crane’s body against the mat seemed to send the same message: “Welcome to the finals.”
Crane lost his first state championship match 3-1, but after the match Crane did not sprint off the mat in disappointment. He shook hands with the Park Hill coaches and then walked over to the Rock Bridge corner.
“Immediately after the match, he started talking to me,” Rock Bridge coach Travis Craig said. “He said, ‘I need to get better on this for next year.’ ”
Before the title match, Crane paced restlessly, shaking out his arms and bouncing on the balls of his feet to warm up. He said he was thinking about what he needed to do to win.