The state wrestling tournaments kicked off Friday at two locations for area schools.
One venue provided some hopes for gold medals today, while the other proved to be more of heartache.
At the Class 3-2-1A meet in Hays, four area wrestlers of the 17 entrants made it to Saturday’s title matches, while at the Class 4A meet in Salina, title hopes ended early, with none of the five area entries getting beyond the quarterfinals — four of them are still in the running on the backside of the bracket.
Area wrestlers found Gross Memorial Stadium in Hays very much to their liking, with four athletes vying for a state title today.
Leading the way was the three-man contingent from Scott City, which leads the team competition with 80.5 points ahead of Hoxie’s 60.
Justus McDaniel was the first Beaver into the finals at 126 pounds, doing it in style with three pins, and he was later joined in the finals by teammates Wyatt Hayes and Kaden Wren. Cimarron's Josh Seabolt also made it to his final.
The sophomore McDaniel opened with a pin (:55) of Jason Hecht of Hesston, then took out Russell’s Chandler Schoenberger (5:33) and got to the finals by pinning (1:12) Ethan Ewing of Wellington in the semifinal.
McDaniel will face Jordan Priddy of Silver Lake for the title.
Right after that, Wren took a slightly different route to the finals at 132 pounds.
The sophomore started with a fall (:58) over Derrick Karn of Riverside. He won an 11-2 decision over Chris Goans of Lyons in the quarterfinals, and then won a tough 3-2 decision over senior Josh Lenker of Phillipsburg to reach the finals against Riley Tubbs of Wabaunsee.
Hayes got to his title match at 170 pounds with a 19-2 technical fall over Kory Finley of Colby. The junior won his opening round by a quick fall (:16) and duplicated that in the quarterfinals (1:28).
He will face Gable Howerton (40-1) of Silver Lake in the title match.
Senior Jarret Jurgens’ hopes for a title in his final ended in the semifinals of the 160-pound matchup against Rossville’s Isaiah Luellen. Jurgens, who won his first two rounds by fall (1:48 and 1:57), lost in the first sudden victory round, 12-10 to the defending state champion.
After just his second loss of the year, Jurgens will wrestle Saturday in the consolation semifinals. Teammate Gabe Bowers lost his first round at 285 pounds, but won on the backside to stay alive.
Coach Jon Lippelman was pretty happy with his team’s overall run on Friday.
“Our main amount of points was from our big four, who have been doing it for us all year,” he said. “We got some pretty good draws. The only exception was Jarret’s.”
He described his lone seniors’ semifinal as “well worth the $5 admission … There were a lot of people who truly enjoyed some of the best wrestling we’ve had for quite a while.”
Jurgens scored points in overtime, but he got taken down and reversed by Rossville’s Isaiah Luellen more than he wanted to, Lippelman said.
“It was an exciting match,” he said. “The bad part of that excitement, we come up on the short end.”
McDaniel got a good draw and did good job of controlling his matches, Lippelman said.
Wren had lost to Lenker earlier in the season, but not this time.
“It went like we planned,” Lippelman said.
Hayes got a good draw that led him to a known opponent in Colby’s Finley, which takes him into a final versus Howerton, whom Hayes defeated in a tournament in Abilene, handing the Silver Lake senior his only loss.
All of his wrestlers seem ready for Saturday’s competition, both for the team titles and the individual hardware, he added.
Cimarron’s Seabolt looks to be a two-time state champion, this time up a weight class at 195.
He took out Ryan Junkermeier of Plainville in a 12-3 major decision in the semifinal. The Bluejays senior, undefeated thus far at 32-0, won a tough opening round against Kody Davoren (3-1 decision) and his quarterfinal over Colben Dodson of Cherryvale, 7-1.
Coach Lance Walker saw his senior put on a good performance all day.
“He had a pretty good day,” he said. “He had some pretty tough matches. And actually, the closest match of the day was the one we weren’t worried about the most.”
He was referring to the first round 3-1 decision.
“Josh came out and wrestled a good, safe match. He wasn’t ever in danger or anything. The kid (Davoren) wrestled a defensive match against us,” Walker said.
The next two matches, he added, Seabolt wrestled well, as expected.
Seabolt will take on Tyler Palic of Marion in the finals. Palic won all three of his matches by fall.
But Palic is also one of Seabolt’s wins this season, which ought to give the Ciimarron senior some confidence.
“It was a very close match,” Walker remembered. “Maybe a 5-3 score. He’s a tough kid who had a really good day today.”
But Seabolt has the experience of winning a state title last year, and Walker said he has a good approach to Saturday.
“He’s such an even keel kid,” he said. “He’s always got a good attitude. It’ll be a good match. It will probably come down to a point or two.”
Two other 'Jays won first-round matches but lost in the second. Braiden Lynn won by fall in his first match but lost in sudden victory in his quarterfinal. Dylan Newton won by fall in his opener but lost his second match.
Both wrestlers are alive in the consolation round.
Lakin got two wrestlers to the semifinals, but neither was able to advance.
Johnney Perez (145) won his first two rounds by decision and fall, respectively, before succumbing to Scott Resler (pronounced “wrestler”) of Wathena-Riverside.
Teammate Hadley Panzer (285) went through the first two rounds with decisions (3-1 and 7-2) but fell in his semifinal match against Elliott Strahm of Sabetha, losing in sudden victory, 3-1.
Both Broncs drop back to the consolation semifinals, with teammate Kayden Christiansen working his way through the backside at 152 pounds.
Wichita County’s lone entry, Joaquin Castillo, won his first-round match at 138 pounds by fall, but fell in the second round.
The day was not kind for area wrestlers competing at the state Class 4A In Salina at the Tony’s Pizza Event Center.
Of the five entrants, three won their first rounds, only to be stymied In the quarterfinals, where all three dropped back into consolation.
Holcomb’s Tanner Johnson (170) won his first match by technical fall and Chance Rodriguez (182) pinned his opponent, but both lost in the next round.
Johnson lost by fall to Justin Hand of Tonganoxie and Rodriguez dropped a 9-2 decision to Abilene’s Trey Hoerner.
Juan Carolos Terrazas of Ulysses (138) won his first round by a 14-6 major decision but dropped his quarterfinal to Tonganoxie’s Korbin Riedel (8-2 decision).
Hugoton’s Bradan Slemp lost his first round at 152 pounds but bounced back in consolation with a 6-5 decision over an opponent from Santa Fe Trail. Ulysses’ Juan Urbina lost both of his matches at 132.