By KEVIN THOMPSON
SCOTT CITY — Warren Kropp likes to wrestle in front of his home crowd.
In just his second meet of the season after nursing a football injury sustained in the fall, the Scott City senior made the most of his final Scott City Classic, rolling through the 170-pound weight class like a man on a mission.
Kropp ran his season record to 9-0 when he recorded a technical fall (17-2) over Colton Northrup of Wichita County in the championship match.
It was a tougher final than the score indicates.
Up 9-2 in the second period, the two combatants butted heads, opening cuts on both. The match stopped while both respective head coaches played triage medics and wound athletic tape around each wrestler's head.
Less than two minutes later, Kropp scored his win — and soon removed the makeshift bandage for his trip to the awards stand.
"It was a pretty good day, just like it looks," he said. "I knew I was going to have to wrestle some tough matches against some good kids and I did what I needed to do."
What he wound up doing was pinning his first opponent in 41 seconds, recording a 17-0 tech fall in his second match, pinning his third in 1:47 and rolling through the final with just a modicum of pain.
For his second tournament of the year, Kropp said it felt good.
"Getting a little more wind under me, cleaning some things up — just starting wrestling again," he said.
Three years ago he missed the meet after surgery on his shoulder, but last year he was second to a defending state champion. It was a good feeling to get a title in his senior year, with a cut on the scalp to remember it by.
"I have no idea what happened there," Kropp said. "It was his forehead with the back of my head."
For his efforts, Kropp was also named the meet's outstanding wrestler, the 11th time in the tournament's 31-year history for a Beaver earn the honor.
Scott City also got a second place from sophomore Wyatt Kropp at 145 pounds, and a third from Zach Tucker at 106 for the Beavers' only other medals.
Team-wise, the home crowd would have liked to see a higher placing. The Beavers were seventh with 73.5 points, well behind Liberal's 142.5.
The Redskins, who did not have an individual champion, picked up two seconds, four thirds and three fourths to cruise to the win over Wichita County (108 points), St. Francis (101) and Ellis (99).
Wichita County stood in fifth going into the finals, but wins at 113 and 182 pounds and two runners-up propelled them to the silver.
Dylon Niswonger pinned Marcus Nolde for the Indian's first win. Leading 8-2 after the first period, the sophomore needed just 25 seconds into the second to get the gold.
It was Niswonger's third pin in three matches.
"Today was a good day for record-building," he said as he improved his season record to 13-5.
It also solidified his mark at 113 after starting the season at 120 pounds.
"I plan on placing at state this year (at 113)," Niswonger said, improving on his sixth place last year at 106. "I'm feeling pretty confident."
Teammate Bryce Mason went 5-0 in one of the two round-robin classes, recording four falls in doing so, the fastest in 32 seconds.
He sealed his gold medal with a fall at 4:14 in his final match.
Second places went to teammates Tayler Seaton (160) and Northrup (170).
Ulysses finished fifth with 96.5 points and got its only win from Otto Orosco at 220 pounds.
The top seed improved to 17-1 with three pins in three tries, the final at 1:08 against Kyler Zweygardt of St. Francis.
"It was a pretty good day," the senior, who finished second here last year, said. "I had a couple of real tough matches."
Though he qualified for state last year, Orosco acknowledged that he also got beat a lot.
This year is different. The way he wrestled in his final reflects the change in his approach this season.
"I've decided to work angles and take less shots," he said. "I've been taking too many shots lately and it's been messing with me."
The Tigers picked up second-place finishes from Juan Anguiano at 152 and Diego Maravilla at 195.
Holcomb finished eighth with 66 points and got its lone win from Erich Eisenbise. The senior improved to 13-6 with a fall at 2:32 over Wichita County's Seaton at 160.
Leading just 2-0 after a "feeling-out" first period, Eisenbise wasted no time in the second to record the win.
"I took him down, put my legs in half and swished my legs over and pinned him," the junior said in describing the winning move.
In the first period, he described the match as "like dancing" because neither wrestler could get a good shot, but he said he entered the meet with the goal of winning it, and that manifested itself in the pin.
It also was a bit of revenge; in the first meet of the season in Ulysses, Seaton pinned Eisenbise in the first round with a headlock.
It's a confidence builder heading into the next part of the season, Eisenbise said.
Part of that confidence came from his semifinal match. After recording two pins, he needed overtime — one of just such matches in the tournament — over Trey Loftus of Scott City just to reach the final.
The other lone area champion was Cimarron's AJ Cooper. The junior got a 6-1 decision over Maravilla at 195 after recording pins in his first two rounds. Cooper was up 5-1 and 6-1 after the first two periods and rode out the final two minutes for the win. Isaac Stone of Greeley County recorded the fastest pin of the day of just 12 seconds.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.