Hannibal goes Black and Red for State Champion Pirates


Hannibal Pirate Wrestlers celebrate their state victory on Friday afternoon at the State Champions Parade. Photo by Vona Heibel

HANNIBAL, Mo. —  Fans of the Hannibal Pirate wrestling team lined Broadway on Friday afternoon waiting to cheer as the team passed by as part of the city’s first first-ever State Champions Parade.

The parade was the finale of a celebration week for the Hannibal Public School District in recognition of the Hannibal Pirate Wrestlers victory on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the 2024 MSHSAA Class Three State Championship. The Pirate wrestlers were the first in the Hannibal Wrestling Program to secure a State Team Championship in school history.

(To learn more about the Hannibal Pirates Wrestlers and see a photo gallery of their historic win see these Muddy River News articles from Feb. 25 Photo gallery: Hannibal wrestling team wins Class 3 state championship and ‘I’m overcome with happiness and joy’: Hannibal wrestlers win Class 3 state championship.)

Hannibal Pirate wrestlers were celebrated throughout the community on Friday which was declared by the Hannibal Public School District as Black and Red Day. 

From co-workers going all black and red to siblings twinning for the Pirates, the community showed up in many ways to support the Hannibal wrestlers. Java Jive in Hannibal sweetened the day with homemade Hannibal Pirate cookies with “Champs”, “Pirates” and “HHS” written on them.

Travis and Lisa Dryden were also at the parade. Their HMS eighth-grade son, Gabe Dryden, is a Pirate wrestler. Travis was a Pirate Wrestler from 1993-1998 and continues to be involved in the sport. He said to earn a medal is no easy task.

“A lot of hard work goes into the sport. It’s all-out all of the time–you give it a 1000 percent,” Travis said. “It’s hard to place at tournaments.”

Lisa said the sport is demanding on the athlete.

“As a wrestler, you have to dedicate your whole life to the sport. You have to watch what you eat. You have to work on endurance every single day of your life every single season of the year. You have to work on strengthening but you can’t gain too much weight,” she said.

The Hannibal Booster Club set up in Central park with Pirate merchandise where many supporters visited and made purchases.

Korby Asbury, seventh-grader at Hannibal Middle School, was at the table.

“This is really a big thing because it’s the first time we’ve been state champs. It makes me really proud to be a Pirate,” he said and smiled. “It’s a great day to be a Pirate!”

Starla Dunn, president of the Hannibal Booster Club, agreed with Korby.

“The kids and family put so much into where they got. It’s incredible. Our school is just blessed with so much talent with athletics, music, and so much more,” she said. “It’s always a great day to be a Pirate, and this makes us swell with even more pride.”

Photos below are courtesy of the Hannibal Public School District

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