By BRETT MARSHALL
PRATT — Luke Hayes says he has been helped and inspired by his older brother, Dakota, as wrestlers for Scott City High School.
And it came into play in a big way at the Class 4A regional on Saturday.
The younger Hayes took a page from his older brother, who had won a 5-3 decision over Colton Duhr of Andale in the 145 pound weight class, and captured the 189-pound division with a convincing 5-1 victory over Chase Kreutzer of Pratt.
The two victories, coupled with Francisco Antillon's win at 119, paved the way for the Beavers to advance seven wrestlers to the state tournament in Salina. The Beavers placed fourth in Saturday's team standings with 129.5, just four points behind defending state champion Colby, but well behind champion Andale (185.5) and Valley Center (180.5).
"He's really helped me keep my emotions under control and taught me how to get out of certain holds," Luke Hayes said of his brother Dakota. "I've learned how to do more things this year and it has been a big help."
In his title match with Kreutzer, with whom he split matches with before regionals, Hayes fell behind 1-0 in the second period when Kreutzer was given a penalty point. Early in the third period, Hayes earned a 2-point reversal with 1:32 remaining, then put Kreutzer in a hold that prevented the Greenback from being able to move.
"It's the longest hold I've had," Hayes said. "My arms are really tired, but I was able to deepen my arms and keep him from maneuvering toward my legs."
At 6-foot-4, Hayes had a notable height advantage over the 5-8 Kreutzer. However, Hayes said one strength is offset by another and the two have had intense battles before Saturday's title match. That final hold over the last 90 seconds allowed Hayes to earn three points for a near fall.
"It's exciting to win and to see my brother win as well," Luke Hayes said. "Next week should be a lot of fun."
Dakota Hayes was in a tight match as well at 145. He took a 2-0 lead in the second period with a reversal, then had the same thing happen to him by Duhr to tie the score at 2-2 early in the third period. With 51 seconds to go, Dakota earned an escape, then at the 40-second mark got a takedown to take command at 5-2. He allowed Duhr to escape at six seconds for a point and the clock ran out.
"Last year, I wasn't as good on my takedowns as I've been this year," Dakota Hayes said. "I still need to work on my shots for takedowns, but I'm certainly better than last year."
Dakota Hayes said that his speed and being in constant motion helped him make the moves that set up his takedowns in Saturday's match.
"Just whatever's available I try to take advantage of," he said. "I was able to circle him and then got him down quickly. It's been real important for me to get an early lead and then when choices are being made for being on top or bottom, I know what I need to do."
Scott City senior Francisco Antillon squeaked out a 1-0 decision over Mid-State Activies Association league rival Robbie Hines of Ulysses, who had lost once this season. Antillon scored the lone point with 40 seconds to go in the second period on an escape.
"First time I've beaten him so it's extra special," Antillon said of beating Hines. "He's really good and smart and when he gets down to that knee, he's tough to shoot on."
On his escape, Antillon said he was fortunate to get his feet in a position to slip away from Hines.
"I was able to use a cross-body move and it worked this time," Antillon said. "This is my first win of the season. All of my seconds are because of (Hines). I've wanted to get this and now it's on to the big one next week."
Hugoton's Cody Hill picked up a victory, caputuring the 160-pound title with an impressive 10-5 decision over Torey Taylor of Colby. Hill was up 6-3 after one period, extended it to 8-4 after two periods and then got two more points to put the match away in the final two minutes.
"My shots were working good today and I was able to take him," Hill said. "I could tell that I could get him. He's pretty good on the bottom so I tried to make sure we were in neutral positions to keep him from being able to score two points."
Hill, last year's state runner-up at 140 pounds, has made an adjustment to the 20-pound weight difference.
"I started off the season slow," Hill said. "The weight move means the guys are stronger and I've had to adjust how to use my height advantage in a different way than I did at 140. I'm not as good on top as I was at 140 and so I've got to rely on my feet a lot more. But it's slowly coming around and I think I'm peaking at the right time. I seem to wrestle my best at regionals and state and that's what I'm hoping for next week."
Five area wrestlers finished second, including three from Ulysses (Hines, Razzy Morales at 130 and Josh Rodriguez at 152). Clay Mulligan from Scott City lost for just the second time this season at 103, a 7-3 decision to Dustin Reed of Colby. Derek Schnittker of Hugoton also placed second with a 5-3 setback to Austin Southards of Valley Center. Morales lost 7-1 to unbeaten Tyson Schmidtberger of Russell.
Scott City senior Calvin Erven lost in overtime with Titus Hopper of Valley Center at 215 pounds. Erven, who has signed to play football at Garden City Community College, trailed 2-0 early in the second period, then got an escape just five seconds before the end of the period.
Coming from the down position, he negotiated a reversal to take a lead with 1:25 left in the match before Hopper got a point for an escape just seven seconds later to tie the match at 3-3.
In the first 30 seconds of the overtime, the referee awarded Hopper a takedown as both wrestlers were falling out of bounds. Scott City coach Jon Lippelman protested the call to the tournament officials but the ruling stood.
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In the Class 3-2-1A regional at Hoisington, Lakin led the area contingent of state qualifiers by nabbing two titles — Dalton Davis at 130 and Trevor Kennedy at 119. Holcomb's Levi Koehn earned the other gold medal as he claimed the 160-pound division with a 4-0 decision over Hi-Plains League rival John Shaughnessy of Cimarron. The two did not get to meet in the HPL Classic nine days earlier due to a knee injury which forced Koehn to withdraw prior to his match.
Of the remaining 11 area state qualifiers for Friday and Saturday's state tournament at Hays, six garnered runner-up finishes.
The group included Jose Munoz of Holcomb at 125; Seph Iman of Elkhart(135); Coulter Croft of South Gray (140); David Baca of Lakin (145); Collin Wittig of Wichita County (152) and Shaughnessy.
The lone third-place finisher was Dylan Hawkins of Holcomb at 171 pounds. Fourth-place finishers were Royce Williams of Sublette(152); Keegan Amos of Holcomb(103); Samantha Gonzales of Lakin (112); and Denton Tankersley of Wichita County (119).
For Holcomb, the five qualifiers are the most ever by the school.
"We're very excited with the effort put forth by everyone," Holcomb's first-year coach Ryan Kromer said. "Keegan is the first freshman to ever qualify for the state too and that is really exciting."
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The state wrestling tournaments begin with first round matches on Friday at 10 a.m. at both the Bicentennial Center in Salina for Class 4A and Gross Memorial Coliseum on the Fort Hays State University campus for Class 3-2-1A. Championship quarterfinals are scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. Friday followed by first-round consolation bouts at 3:30 p.m., then championship semifinals at 4:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the schedule will begin at 9 a.m. with consolation cross-bracketing matches, consolation quarterfinals at 10:45 a.m., consolation semifinals at 12:15 p.m., fifth place matches at 1:45 p.m. and consolation finals at 2:30 p.m. The championship matches are slated to begin on a single mat at each site 45 minutes after the conclusion of the consolation finals.
See Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.