GWAC meet worth the wait
By KEVIN THOMPSON
HOLCOMB — The GWAC league wrestling meet was delayed a week, but it was worth the wait for the Colby Eagles.
Fourth in the state 4A rankings, the Eagles swept the five dual matches on Saturday at the Holcomb elementary school gyms, capturing five individual titles along the way.
Colby defeated runner-up Hugoton, 43-30, in round two of the round-robin meet.
Hugoton, which finished 4-1, took two individual titles, Zane Littell at 126 pounds (5-0) and Colten Lissolo at 220 (5-0).
Scott City finished third (3-2), Goodland fourth (2-3), Ulysses fifth (1-4) and Holcomb sixth (0-5).
This Great West Activities Conference meet featured three ranked teams in the state and 19 ranked individuals.
"We had Colby on the ropes just now," Eagles' coach Brent Mahan said following the second-round loss. "It was pretty tight."
Scott City, ranked second in 3A, easily handled the top-ranked Goodland Cowboys, 51-21, in the fourth round but lost to Hugoton in the final round, 36-33.
But the Beavers won two titles with Clay Mulligan at 132 (5-0) and Luke Hayes at 285 (5-0). Mulligan is ranked third in the state and Hayes second.
Alex Kough, ranked first at 120 in 3A, lost his only match to Colby's Dustin Reed, the top-ranked wrestler in 4A.
Scott City coach John Lippelmann likes the chances of those three wrestlers going into regionals, as well as some dark horses who have a good chance of advancing.
Ulysses, not fielding a full team and going just 1-4 in the duals, took away three titles. Jason Perez, currently ranked third in 4A, won at 113 (5-0), Razzy Morales, ranked fifth at 152 (5-0) and Armando Sandoval, ranked fourth at 182 (5-0).
Holcomb, while not winning a dual, had two runner-up finishers in Keegan Amos at 113 and Jose Munoz at 138.
Amos' second place came attached to a 6-3 win over Scott City's James Jurgens, the fourth-ranked wrestler in the state.
"That was big," Holcomb coach Don Long said. "That was huge. We talked all week about never giving up anything. Anytime you get a chance, keep scrambling. That's what he did. He just battled, and he battled strongly."
Lippelmann complimented Amos on his win. He qualified for state last year, so he was no slouch. He said it should make Jurgens hungrier to avenge that loss at the regional.
He was probably the number-one seed at regionals but now Amos (15-4) is in the catbird seat there.
Munoz went 4-1, losing only to Konner Kriss of Colby, the No.-1 wrestler in 4A.
Morales' top finish came at the expense of a familiar opponent in Hugoton's Patrick Weaver, against whom Morales is now 4-2 this year. Weaver is currently ranked sixth in the state.
The tournament was moved back a week due to weather, and most coaches had mixed feelings about such a major meet coming so close to the 3-2-1A regionals beginning Friday in Lakin, and the 4A regional for area teams in Mulvane.
"This was tough competition, and you never know — injuries can happen in this kind of meet because the kids are going so hard," Long said. "That's what I worry about this close to regionals because even a small injury might keep you out."
But he also thinks this was a good tune-up for regionals, especially because he liked how hard his team wrestled Saturday.
"This tournament being pushed back a week doesn't leave much healing," he said. "But we're on our game."
Mahan was planning on giving more time off to his wrestlers this week to heal and rest, but a dual on Thursday with Ulysses and this meet threw that off.
"But it'll work out. We beat Liberal and Ulysses in a dual (along with 4-1 on Saturday), so we're not limping in," he said. "We're still rolling in. We look really good."
Ulysses coach Joe Gonzales would also have liked the extra time off, especially going into a tough Mulvane regional.
"But I'm looking to having a good show," he said. "I'm looking forward to the kids wrestling well. With four or five open weight classes, Gonzales said he hopes to slip in a couple more qualifiers in addition to the three who won titles Saturday.
"We'll be ready to go," he said. "And ready or not, it's here."
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