LIBERTY — The Blue Jays continue to collect hardware after completing one of the most impressive seasons in Missouri wrestling history.
The National Wrestling Coaches Association named Liberty head coach Dustin Brewer as its Scholastic Boys Head Coach of the Year for Missouri and each assistant award went to a member of the Blue Jays’ staff.
Brewer said receiving this honor made him feel “super happy.” When asked about his program’s accomplishments, the fourth-year head coach was quick to point to the hard work of his wrestlers and the support of his assistant coaching staff.
“Our kids worked their tails off this year, were focused and had a state title set in mind right from the beginning,” Brewer said.
Liberty dominated the state tournament this year, finishing with 241 points and 95.5 point lead over second-place Park Hill. Four Liberty wrestlers won individual state titles, including Kyle Dutton (132), Drake Smith (160), Greyden Penner (182) and Jeremiah Reno (120), who finished his high school career undefeated.
Kellen Laws, Bricker Dixon, Ken Lenger and Bret Marshall each earned an assistant coach of the year award. Brewer and his staff also swept the Missouri Wrestling Association coaching awards released in March.
“These guys put in countless hours and they do everything for our kids,” Brewer said. “They develop relationships with our guys that lasts beyond wrestling. I personally think that I have the best staff in the state and maybe the country.”
Liberty was determined at state after the team’s second-place finish in 2019 when the Blue Jays fell just 10 points shy of Christian Brothers College.
The Blue Jays will enter the 2020-21 season needing to replace three of their individual state champions.
“We’re definitely going to be rebuilding some,” Brewer said. “It’s going to be a process but you know, we have a lot of good returners coming back.”
Dutton will return for his junior campaign attempting to repeat his gold-medal performance while three of his teammates will return with the experience of finishing one win short of that same goal. Juniors-to-be Wentric Williams (170) and Logan Rathjen (145) and senior-to-be Kage Lenger (138) each took second place at state.
Brewer said he’s looking for some of the younger guys who were on the verge of varsity last year to step up this season to give the Blue Jays another chance at a state title.