By BRETT MARSHALL
Four Garden City High School wrestlers advanced to today's championship matches at the prestigious Newton Tournament of Champions, and in the process put the Buffs in position to challenge for the team title.
Efrain Sanchez (106), Michael Prieto (113), Chris Adler (145) and Sammy Reyes (195) will be battling for their individual gold medals today, while the Buffs, the defending Kansas Class 6A champs, are trailing Grand Island, Neb., 124.5 to 114.5, in the team race. Manhattan is third at 105 and defending Class 5A champion Arkansas City is fourth at 103 points.
Sanchez, a junior, was impressive in his march to the finals, winning a major decision over Miguel Hernandez of Grand Island (14-6) before edging Norton standout Caysean Campbell in a close 4-3 decision. In his semifinal match, Sanchez knocked off No. 1 seed Landon Scott of Mill Valley in a 4-2 decision.
"Efrain wrestled really well, and wrestled smart today," head coach Carlos Prieto said of Sanchez. "He had some really tough opponents but came through with a great effort."
The younger Prieto and the coach's son, ran roughshod over his portion of the bracket on Friday, blanking Darrion Taylor of Manhattan with a 16-0 technical fall at the 3:55 mark. In his quarterfinal match, Prieto pinned Caleb Nelson of Newton at 1:07 and then demolished the No. 2-ranked Class 6A wrestler, Jacob Bonham of Gardner-Edgerton, with a 16-1 technical fall at the 5:01 mark.
"I think it's safe to say that Michael made a statement in the semifinal match," said coach Prieto of his sophomore son, who claimed the 2013 6A state title at 106 pounds and currently sports a 29-1 record. "He continues to work hard and improve."
Adler, a senior, also was impressive in his four wins on Friday. He pinned Kiel Orrison of Hutchinson at 4:36, earned a hard-fought decision over Isaiah Kamps of Maize South (3-2) before claiming a 6-0 decision over Garrett Haskins of Wichita Heights in the quarterfinal round. In his semifinal match, he earned a 7-4 decision over Dylan Beckner of Wichita Northwest.
Reyes, also a senior, dominated in his four matches. He won an 11-2 major decision over Clayton Folk of Holton; pinned Kyle Jackson of Wichita Northwest at 1:40 before taking an 11-2 major decision over Chris Dugan of Bishop Carroll in the quarterfinals. In his semifinal bout, he blanked Jake Gramke of Mill Valley by a 7-0 count.
"Sammy has really stepped it up for us this year," coach Prieto said of his 195-pounder, who is now 27-3 this season. "He's been a big part of our consistent group all season."
Three other Buffs lost in the quarterfinals — 138-pounder Tevin Briscoe falling to unbeaten Andrew Rojas of Grand Island in a 12-2 major decision. Rojas is the top-ranked wrestler in Nebraska.
"Just a bad break in the seedings and really unfortunate that they were in the same quarter of the bracket," coach Prieto said of Briscoe.
Also reaching the quarters, but coming up short, were freshman Jesse Nunez at 152 pounds, who had earned two wins by decision before dropping a technical fall match to Kendall Biddle of Arkansas City in the quarterfinals. Aaron Lozano also reached the quarterfinal round, winning one match via a pin (Ty Goss of McPherson at 3:18) before dropping a 6-0 decision to Lex Plummer of Hutchinson.
"We've got to have the boys come through and wrestle well on the back side of the bracket," coach Prieto said of today's schedule. "We're in position, but we've got to have everybody doing well. The kids gave a great effort, and that's what we expect of them on Saturday."
Tournament of Champions
1. Grand Island, Neb., 124.5; 2. Garden City, 114.5; 3. Manhattan, 105.0; 4. Arkansas City, 103.0; 5. Mill Valley, 88.5; 6. Newton, 88.0; 7. Maize High, 78.0; 8. Holton, 75.0; 9. Gardner-Edgerton, 67.0; 10. Blue Valley Southwest, 66.0; 11. Colby and Derby, 63.5; 13. Bishop Carroll, 61.0; 14. Norton, 59.0; 15. Wichita Northwest, 45.5; 16. Leavenowrth, 43.5; 17. Lawrence High, 41.0; 18. Hutchinson, 40.0; 19. Fredonia, 39.0; 20. Wichita Heights, 37.5; 21. Andover Central, 36.0; 22. Emporia, 33.5; 23. Maize South, 31.5; 24. Dodge City, 26.5; 25. McPherson, 19.5; 26. Wichita East, 12.0; 27. Salina South, 11.0.
Garden City Results
106—Efrain Sanchez (3-0, in finals): won maj. dec. over Hernandez, Grand Island, Neb., 14-6; won dec. over Campbell, Norton, 4-3; won dec. over Scott, Mill Valley, 4-2.
113—Michael Prieto (3-0, in finals): won by tech fall over Taylor, Manhttan, 16-0 (3:55); pinned Nelson, Newton, 1:07; won by tech fall over Bonham, Gardner-Edgerton, 16-1 (5:01).
120—Mark Perez (1-1, consolation): lost maj. dec. to Wallace, Manhattan, 9-0; won dec. over McLaughlin, Blue Valley Southwest, 8-3.
126—Thomas Marquez (0-2): lost maj. dec. to Pelfrey, Blue Valley Southwest, 14-3; lost maj. dec. to Sullentrop, Bishopp Carroll, 11-0.
138—Tevin Briscoe (1-1): won by tech fall over Nuno, Maize High, 18-2 (5:59); lost to Rojas, Grand Island, Neb., maj. dec. 12-2.
145—Chris Adler (4-0, in finals): pinned Orrison, Hutchinson, 4:36; dec. over Kamps, Maize South, 3-2; dec. Haskins, Wichita Heights, 6-0; dec. over Beckner, Wichita Northwest, 7-4.
152—Jesse Nunez (2-1): won by dec. over Fortune, Grand Island, Neb., 9-5; won by dec. over McNabb, Salina South, 4-2; lost to Biddle, Arkansas City, tech fall, 17-0 (4:46).
160—Trenton Chiddix (0-2): lost by pin to Unruh, McPherson, 3:08; lost by dec. to Servis, Dodge City, 11-6.
170—Josh Reyes (0-2): lost by maj. dec. to Jose Santillon, Derby, 14-5; lost to Schoonover, Andover Central, pin, 5:24.
182—Tye Hahn (1-1): won maj. dec. over Menke, Andover Central, 17-5; lost to Langley, Newton, by pin, 1:18.
195—Sammy Reyes (4-0, in finals): won maj. dec. over Folk, Holton, 11-2; pinned Jackson, Wichita Northwest, 1:40; won maj. dec. over Dugan, Bishop Carroll, 11-2; won dec. over Gramke, Mill Valley, 7-0.
220—Benny Hernandez (1-1): lost by pin to Reis, Grand Island, Neb., 1:07; won maj. dec. over Cox, Derby, 10-2.
285—Aaron Lozano (1-1): won by pin over Goss, McPherson, 3:18; lost to Plummer, Hutchinson by dec., 6-0.