The state wrestling tournaments finished up Saturday, the same day as the winter Olympics. And for some area grapplers, the medal matches were Olympic worthy.
At the Class 3-2-1A meet in Hays, Scott City won the team championship behind titles from Wyatt Hayes and Justus McDaniel, and Cimarron's Josh Seabolt capped an undefeated senior year with his second straight title.
Beavers win team champiosnhip, two individual titles
At Gross Memorial Stadium in Hays, Scott City, which brought six wrestlers, took advantage of qualifying three wrestlers for the finals to claim the team title, their first since 2012.
The Beavers sealed the title when the 170-pound Hayes got a 2-1 decision over Gable Howerton of Silver Lake, the state’s runner-up at 160 pounds a year ago. Hayes rallied from a 1-0 deficit heading into the final period.
The Beavers finished with 98.5 points, edging Hoisington by two points and Hoxie by 12.
Besides the title in 2012 in Class 3A, the Beavers also won state titles in Class 4A in 1990, 1994 and 2004.
Sporting jeans, a coat, tie and Beavers ball cap, Coach Jon Lippelman , in his 39th year with Scott City, was named the meet’s coach of the year, but it’s the team to which he gives all the credit.
“Pretty amazing,” he said. “They came through like troopers.”
Hayes, who finished fourth in Class 4A a year ago as a sophomore, found himself in a scoreless tie after the opening period, but Howerton picked up an escape after starting the second in the down position.
Hayes chose the down position in the final period, and Howerton nearly got a take down to open the final frame. With one minute to go, Hayes started down again, and this time he secured a reversal with 35 seconds left and rode out the rest of the match.
With arms raised in triumph, Hayes rushed over to hug Lippelman, then jumped into assistant coach and brother Dakota Hayes’ arms.
McDaniel got into Saturday’s 126-pound final with three pins on Friday. The sophomore faced senior Jordan Priddy of Silver Lake in the finals, the defending champion and four-time state qualifier.
But McDaniel didn’t seem to know his opponent’s pedigree as he worked to a definitive 9-4 decision.
McDaniel scored on a take down in the second period to go up 2-0. After Priddy tied it a 2-2, McDaniel countered late to go up 5-2.
In the third, Priddy got McDaniel down but the Beaver escaped for a 6-2 lead. Priddy’s takedown with 47 seconds to go closed the score to 6-4, but McDaniel finished with an escape and a late takedown for the win.
Kaden Wren, at 132 pounds, lost a 5-0 decision in the finals to Riley Tubbs of Wabaunsee, a four-time qualifier and two-time runner-up.
Tubbs picked up a takedown with just 10 seconds left in the first period, and it stayed 2-0 through the second.
Tubbs got an escape early in the third, and then he used a fireman’s carry to get another takedown, this time with 1:28 remaining.
In his final high school match, Scott City senior Jarret Jurgens won by major decision (8-0) over Zeb Speer of Highland-Doniphan West to place third.
Jurgens, the second seed who lost for only the second time all season in Friday’s semifinal in sudden victory to Rossville’s Isaiah Luellen, finished the season 36-2.
Getting points everywhere possible helped the Beavers claim their fifth state title, Lippelman said.
To have Jurgens come back from that disappointment to take third was huge.
“Then we win two of the championships out of the three and they were able to put (the team title) out of reach for them,” Lippelman said. “They did a great job.”
With the title matches starting in the middle weight classes, Hayes’ win took the pressure off the sophomores relating to the team title.
“They didn’t have to wait on pins and needles any more,” Lippelman said, laughing. “Wyatt got it all clinched up early.”
Seabolt claims second title
Cimarron’s Seabolt, who won the title at 182 pounds a year ago (Cimarron’s first in program history) became a two-time state champion, this time up a weight class at 195.
The senior took out Tyler Palic for the second time this season, defeating the Marion wrestler 5-2 to finish undefeated.
Seabolt (33-0) and Palic (25-5) were scoreless after a “feel out” opening period, and Palic got the quick escape to open the second from the down position.
That’s where things stood going into the third. With Seabolt starting off down, the Bluejay tried to roll out for an escape, but the pair went off the mat instead.
On the restart, Seabolt got a quick escape to tie the match with 1:35 to go. He got a quick counter for a takedown at 1:05 to go up 3-1.
After a restart, Seabolt, from the up position, grabbed Palic’s leg and rode his back, whistled for a potentially dangerous move that led to another restart with 32 seconds to go.
Palic got an escape with 26 seconds to wrestle, but rather than ride out the rest of the match, Seabolt pulled an unexpected takedown to go up 5-2, then gave up an inconsequential reversal at the end to win 5-4.
The Cimarron senior raised both index fingers to the sky, then calmly walked to the Marion corner to shake hands before celebrating his second state title with his coach, Lance Walker.
“He’s just so focused,” Walker said. “He doesn’t make many mistakes. I knew when he got up (3-1) by that takedown, there was a very good chance we were going to win it. He wrestled a really, really smart match.”
Walker said Palic was every bit of a challenge that Seabolt could expect, and that’s how the match played out.
“He pinned everyone on his side of the bracket, and sure we beat him by a couple points (earlier in the season), but he’s wrestling better now than he was then,” Walker said. “We were a little nervous going in, but Josh handled it well.”
Seabolt was typically patient but aggressive when needed.
“You don’t want to make a mistake at this level,” Walker said. “He’s usually pretty aggressive, but against these better kids, if you do make a tiny mistake, they take advantage of it. Then you’re in trouble.”
Seabolt finishes his high school career with 126 wins against 12 losses. He did not place as a freshman but finished fifth at 182 pounds as a sophomore.
“It’s a pretty good way to end (his career),” Walker said. “And it was a pretty fun ride as a coach, too. I’m not going to lie.”
Dylan Newton of Cimarron finished fourth at 182 pounds. He lost a 6-2 decision to Mikey Waggoner of Riley County.
Lakin had two wrestlers lose in Friday’s semifinals, setting them up for high finishes Saturday. Sophomore Hadley Panzer finished third at 285 pounds, winning by fall (3:44) over Jaden Eslinger of Anthony-Harper/Chaparral.
Senior Johnney Perez, a four-time state qualifier, lost a 5-2 decision to Spencer Heise of Osborne and finished fourth.
Wichita County’s lone entry, Joaquin Castillo, won his first-round match at 138 pounds by fall, but fell in the second round.
Saturday, he lost his first consolation round by fall (4:00) to Matt Weilert of Fredonia.
Holcomb’s Rodriguez claims third
At the Class 4A state meet in Salina at the Tony’s Pizza Event Center, Chance Rodriguez of Holcomb picked up the only medal of the area, a third-place finish.
Rodriguez won by decision over Joey Ewalt of LaCygne-Prairie View by the slimmest of margins, a 1-0 decision.
Ewalt finished the season at 45-5, but Rodriguez (37-4) was up to the challenge in his final high school match.
Teammate Tanner Johnson won his first consolation round match by a technical fall (15-0) over Britton MacLaughlin of Arkansas City but then lost by fall (3:43) to Dakotah Whiteley of Abilene.