Riggs siblings find success on mat for Wright City


Wright City wrestlers David and Elizabeth Riggs both have their sights set on success at the state wrestling tournament. 

The siblings are among the team leaders for their respective wrestling teams at Wright City. A senior, David Riggs started wrestling around middle school and began wrestling competitively his freshman year at Wright City. 

“I started wrestling around middle school,” David Riggs said. “Doing little league stuff and messing around wrestling and practice and stuff. And then eventually, I got competitive my freshman year. Started wrestling here. And each year, I’ve been wrestling here and getting better.” 

Elizabeth Riggs remembers watching David wrestle when she was in fifth grade and decided she also wanted to wrestle. She began wrestling her freshman year at Wright City, when they started separating boys and girls wrestlers into separate divisions. 

“I tried it my freshman year and it was definitely unlike any other sport I had ever done,” Elizabeth Riggs said “I did track and soccer and basketball prior to it. But just with how demanding it was physically, mentally, everything, it was completely different than anything I had ever done. But I really enjoyed it. I liked how far it pushed you mentally and physically.”

Elizabeth said she has competed at pretty much the same weight class since her freshman year. She has competed mostly in the 125-pound weight class this season. She started the season with an 18-3 record. 

David made a jump in weight classes over his four years at Wright City. After wrestling in the lowest class his freshman year, Riggs has wrestled in the 144-pound weight class the majority of this season, winning 15 of his first 18 matches.

He noted the challenges he faces wrestling at a higher weight class, specifically the quality opponents in the middle weight classes. 

“The competition’s pretty steep the higher you go,” he said. “Everyone’s a lot stronger and a lot bigger. They’re a lot older too because they’re not as small. There’s a lot of competition.”

After coming up one match short of qualifying for the state tournament in her freshman season, Elizabeth qualified for the state tournament last season. She won one match at the 2022 state tournament. Riggs’ focus last season was to qualify for the state tournament. She has her sights set on placing at the state tournament this season. 

“I think it’s definitely just getting to each level and then learning how to compete at that level,” she said. “Last year, my mind was kind of just get to state and it wasn’t really trying to place at state. Obviously, I wanted to but it was more trying to get there. This year, now that I’ve been there, I know what it looks like. I want to get there and then I want to place and do well there. I think each year as you get better, your goals get bigger.”

Coach Fred Ross thinks David Riggs was on a trajectory to qualify for state last season before suffering an injury. Riggs has his sights set not only on qualifying for the state tournament but also placing at the state tournament in his senior season. 

“I want to qualify. I want to do that for sure,” David Riggs said. “But it’s my senior year. It’s my last year. So I also want to place.”

Ross said both David and Elizabeth have made strides as wrestlers this season. Ross reiterated the challenges David faced in jumping several weight classes over his high school career. 

“He worked hard this summer and he’s definitely stronger than he was last year,” Ross said. “Which has helped him out in a lot of his matches.” 

Ross said Elizabeth Riggs has moved weight, which has allowed her to get stronger and be more physical. Ross is also seeing major strides in her mental approach.

“Her mental approach is getting so much better than it was her freshman year,” Ross said.

Despite participating on separate teams, both David and Elizabeth Riggs like being able to wrestle for the same school. David said it allows the two siblings to provide feedback with each other. Elizabeth said it is cool to compete with a sibling and push each other to do their best and be at the same competitive level. She said there is also competition between the two siblings. 

“It just pushes you more,” Elizabeth said. “I know I always want to beat him. If it’s a girls and boys tournament, I always want to place higher than him.” 

Ross identified both David and Elizabeth as team leaders for the wrestling teams. 

“They’ve both done an outstanding job leading this team,” Ross said. “Whatever’s asked of them to do, I can count on them. Give them a task and they can do it. And that’s their upbringing with a solid mom and dad figure that just really raised them right.”

David and Elizabeth also play in other sports at Wright City. David is a three-sport athlete, participating in soccer in the fall and track in the spring. Elizabeth also runs on the track team. She placed third in the 300-meter hurdle competition last season at the state tournament. 

While neither athlete’s future plans after high school are set, both David and Elizabeth are both open to competing athletically at the college level. 

“It just depends on where I’m going,” David said. “I’ve had a little bit of communication with college coaches about wrestling. I would hope to wrestle in the future. I’m not entirely sure if I will but the goal is to.”

He said if he does compete athletically at the college level, it will either be in wrestling or track. 

Elizabeth said if she does decide to go to college after graduating next school year, she is open to wrestling or running at the college level. 

“It really depends on how I do this year and next year with my sports,” she said. “But it’s definitely an option.”