Pinning and winning
Moore becomes first state champ in Cassville wrestling history
Cassville sophomore Annie Moore came into Tuesday with only one loss on her record this year, and the number did not change, as Moore pinned her way to the gold medal at 112 pounds in the 2021 MSHSAA State Championships.
Moore went a cool three-for-three at the event, pinning quarterfinal opponent Josie Moody, of Waynesville, in 59 seconds, then semifinal opponent Aiva Meyer, of Carrollton, in 2:39, and championship opponent Chloe Sheckells, of Staley, in 3:02.
“I am relieved,” Moore said. “I’m proud of myself to pull it off. I was really nervous all day, especially with the pressure of being ranked. But, I thought to myself that through Jesus and my coaches, I can do anything, and everything happens for a reason.
In the championship, Moore found herself in a position to get a pin, and only one thought was going through her head.
“I was thinking, just pull it off,” she said. “Push as hard as I can and secure it. It’s a proud moment to be first. The coaches have pushed me so hard, and it’s an honor, really.”
Nathan Fortner, Cassville wrestling coach, said his history maker, as Moore is the first state champion in Cassville wrestling history, boys or girls, was impressive all day long.
“I’m extremely proud of her,” he said. “She just made history. No girl or boy has finished above fourth. Annie is a very, very, very, very competitive athlete, and she wears her heart on her sleeve. She has only lost once all year long, and it broke her. She doesn’t like to lose, even in practice.”
Fortner said the ultimate goal in any wrestling match is to pin the opponent, and that’s a skill Moore has mastered.
“Annie does that very well,” he said. “She is ready to totally dominate her opponents, and I don’t think anyone has ever wrestled her, win or lose, and said it was a fun match.”
Fortner credits some of Moore’s success to her demeanor, which is a healthy amount of play, then all business.
“Annie is squirrelly and is the life of the team,” he said. “She loves to make jokes, keep things light and is full of energy. She’s just fun to be around. but, once she hits that mat, she’s locked in.
“Her attitude helps her. It’s like a coping mechanism, and it benefits the team, too. She keeps things light-hearted, and they gravitate to that.”
Moore affirmed the coping mechanism description, saying her playfulness between matches keeps her out of her own head.
“If I’m always serious, I mess up,” she said. “I have to keep that level of personality to get myself going and relieve stress.”
With two more years of prep wrestling ahead of her, Fortner said Moore is going to have to find a way to build on a near-perfect season.
“My expectation for her is to get better, but it will be hard to get much better after performing like that this year,” he said. “But, there is always room to improve. The sky is the limit, and whatever Annie wants to do, she will do it.”
Moore said she aims to work harder on technique, especially on defense, but when it comes to matches, her approach will not change.
“I just want to take it easy in my mind and take one match at a time,” she said. “The more I think about things, the more I get stressed.”
One thing for sure that Moore wants is to celebrate, and she knows exactly how she wants to do it.
“We’ll be eating at the Cheesecake Factory tomorrow,” she said.