By BRETT MARSHALL
Even though he's only been coaching the Ulysses Tigers for four seasons, Joe Gonzales always has had high expectations of his wrestling team.
So when his team earned five spots at Friday's Class 4A state meet in Salina, Gonzales will once again have high expectations.
Senior Robbie Hines (32-2) at 125 pounds and junior Jason Perez (31-2) at 103 pounds are the two Tigers who garnered gold medals at the Maize South regional on Saturday.
"We've definitely got some tough matches, but I think we've got a chance to have several kids on the podium on Saturday," Gonzales said Wednesday.
The state tournament begins at 10 a.m. with first round matches at Salina's Bicentennial Center.
"Jason's biggest area of improvement has been in his confidence," Gonzales said of his junior lightweight.
For Hines, it will be his final appearance at state, where he struggled a year ago.
"The key for Robbie is the right mental attitude," Gonzales said. "He had a tough time at state last year, but we expect him to do a lot better."
Meanwhile, in Hays, the Class 3-2-1A state meet begins Friday.
Scott City will be paced by juniors Clay Mulligan (28-2) at 112 and Luke Hayes (35-4) at 215. Alex Kough (21-4) at 119, Warren Kropp (13-9) at 140, Dalton Paul (17-6) at 145 and Michael McEachern (26-13) at 285 pounds round out the Beavers' team.
Cimarron has a legitimate gold medalist candidate in 285-pound senior Tyler White, who is 28-1.
Lakin's Dalton Davis will seek to move up after a runnerup finish in 2010 in the 135-pound division.
A year ago, he lost in the finals to Smith Center's Colt Rogers. Rogers had never lost a Kansas match.tler in four years of competition. Davis, a senior, is 27-2 and finished second at the regional in Goodland on Saturday. His sophomore teammate, Trevor Kennedy (27-7), is competing at 125 pounds after a runner-up finish at Goodland.
Wichita County's Joe Salinas (16-11) is competing at 130 pounds, and South Gray's Coulter Croft (26-4) is entered at 152 pounds.