Editor's note: This is the sixth in a series of stories highlighting the top 10 local sports stories of 2018.
The word “success” and the name Jon Lippelman will forever be linked in Kansas state wrestling lore. The pairing that started in 1979 ended in March as the Scott City Beavers won their fifth state title in school history (their second in Class 3A), and Lippelman retired with coach of the year honors. With five wrestlers placing in the top three on the medal stand in Hays, it was enough to ride the coach into the sunset in style—and be named the Garden City Telegram’s No. 5 sports story of 2018.
The Beavers, who won a title in 2012, returned to the top spot again in March with 98.5 points, six in front of Hoisington (92.5) and 10 points ahead of Hoxie (88.5).
Qualifying five wrestlers, Scott City got titles from two of them.
Justus McDaniel won the 126-pound weight class in decisive style, winning by fall in all three matches to get to the finals, winning a 9-4 decision over Jordan Priddy of Silver Lake.
Scott City has been the only team to to dislodge the juggernaut in Class 3-2-1A wrestling, Norton High School, which has won all but two state titles between 2010 and now. Scott City previously won titles in Class 4A in 1990, 1994 and 2004. All of the Beavers’ titles came under Lippelman, who retired after 39 years at the helm.
Key Stats and Figures
At 170 pounds, Wyatt Hayes cruised to the finals with two pins and a technical fall. Facing a tough Gable Howerton of Silver Lake (40-2), Hayes held on for a 2-1 decision to win gold.
Sophomore Kaden Wren (32-3) faced Riley Tubbs of Wabaunsee, falling 5-0 in the 132-pound weight class.
Senior Jarret Jurgens finished third with an 8-0 major decision.
Beavers best the field
Editor’s note: The following story, written by Telegram sports writer Kevin Thompson, first appeared in The Telegram’s Feb. 25 edition and is re-published, in part, below.
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.”
Beavers win team champiosnhip, two individual titles
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.”