Worth the wait
By BRETT MARSHALL
Scott City 126-pound wrestler Alex Kough had said Friday night that he was trying to make up for lost opportunities at the 2013 Rocky Welton Invitational.
So when he took the mat on Saturay at the New Garden for his championship match against Quenton Harrison of Newton, he wanted to make sure his final appearance at the prestigious tournament would be one for his scrapbook memories.
And he made good on that as he dominated Harrison by a 9-3 decision to cement himself as one of the favorites heading to next month's Class 3-2-1A state tournament in Hays. He has now upped his season record to 18-3, and pocketed a big basket of confidence.
He did it by jumping out to a 4-1 first period lead and then expanding it to 9-2 in the second. From there, it was a matter of staying focused and not making any mistakes as he kept Harrison at bay from gaining any momentum.
"Getting the first takedown was a big confidence builder," Kough said. "This is something I've always wanted to win. If you can win here, you've got a good chance at winning state."
Kough had competed as a freshman, but then an injury in 2011 and illness in 2012 sidelined him. Now healthy, Kough is excited for the remaining month of his senior season.
"Once I was able to take him down, then I just wanted to try and ride him out," Kough said. "I knew I had to be smart, and really not knowing much about him, just tried to wrestle a little differently. That first takedown just seemed to boost my senses."
Kough said he had worked diligently in the offseason and summer months to be better on his feet, and that work has paid off.
"I've also gotten a lot stronger, and just overall, am a better wrestler," Kough said. "This has been a goal of mine since I was a freshman, so this is really nice to finally win it."
Meanwhile, Hugoton had two finalists and both of them were handed defeats.
Patrick Weaver at 145 pounds lost a 6-0 decision to top-seeded Cody Eastman of Arkansas City while teammate Lawson Fiss, at 152 pounds, was pinned just 58 seconds into his match with Wyatt Villers, also of Ark City.
For Weaver, a state medalist a year ago, the loss serves to remind him of those small details that he needs to work on and improve as he eyes his final month of high school wrestling.
"He rode me for like four minutes, it seemed," Weaver said of Eastman. "He's easily the best kid I've seen this year. I was moving and nothing was working. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the tournament. To make the finals was one of my goals and this gives me a good gauge of where I'm at heading into state."
Fiss, on the other hand, was overmatched against Villers, who quickly got a takedown and a near-fall for a 5-0 lead before putting Fiss down with the pin.
"We don't see that good of wrestlers very often," Fiss said of Villers. "He baited me a little, and then got me down. I was losing air due to the tight hold and there wasn't much I could do against him."
Fiss said he, too, would leave with positives drawn from his four previous wins.
"A lot of good wins here and that felt really good," Fiss said. "I just need to get better on my feet, that's for sure."
Ulysses had a pair of medalists in third-place finisher Armando Sandoval at 182 pounds. His win came via injury default after advancing to the consolation final with a 13-2 major decision over Anthony Abbott of Canon City, Colo. JoAngel Cortez earned a fifth-place finish for the Tigers when he decisioned Melvin Gutierrez of Fairview, Colo., 9-6.
Notes: Western Athletic Conference teams won two individual titles on Saturday when Dodge City's Dane Edwards captured the 138-pound division with a 9-0 major decision over Jesse Nieto of Cleveland, N.M. and Hays High's Preston Weigel took a 2-0 decision over Newton's Dillon Archer at 195 pounds in a battle of the two top-ranked wrestlers in their division. Weigel is now unbeaten at 34-0.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.