Defending 3A champ Scott City, area grapplers prep for state
By BRETT MARSHALL
While Scott City will be taking fewer wrestlers to Hays for the Class 3-2-1A state tournament, where the Beavers are the defending champions, Ulysses will be the top area school with individual qualifiers, advancing seven to the Class 4A meet to be held at the Salina Bicentennial Center.
Due to weather complications, all state tournament starts on Friday were pushed back by two hours, with all scheduled to start at noon.
Scott City qualified four wrestlers for the small-school state tournament at Gross Memorial Coliseum, including senior Alex Kough, the 126-pounder who won his regional at Norton on Saturday, and the state’s No. 2-ranked grappler in that classification. Kough won the prestigious Rocky Welton Invitational in Garden City in late January, and will be among the favorites in Hays.
Other Beavers who qualified from the regional include James Jurgens at 120 pounds, Warren Kropp at 160 pounds and Michael McEachern at 285 pounds. Kough enters the state tournament with a 26-4 record, Jurgens is 26-5, Kropp 29-5 and McEachern 29-8.
For Ulysses coach Joe Gonzales, seven of his Tigers earned their way to Salina through regional qualifying at Augusta on Saturday.
That group includes Luis Mendoza at 126 pounds, JoAngel Cortez at 138 pounds, Bryce Rodriguez at 145 pounds, Armando Sandoval at 182 pounds, Diego Maravilla at 195 pounds, Otto Orosco at 220 pounds and Stephen Degallado at 285 pounds.
Sandoval brings a 30-9 record to the state tourney while Orosco is 27-7. Cortez has the next best mark at 31-11.
Hugoton will send three wrestlers to the 4A state meet, including 145-pounder Patrick Weaver (29-4), 152-pounder Lawson Fiss (30-7) and 195-pounder Bradley Campbell (17-7).
Other area teams to qualify individuals for the 3-2-1A state meet are Cimarron, Sublette, Holcomb, Lakin, Wichita County and South Gray.
Cimarron’s Bluejays will be represented by Tanner Smith (23-7) at 160 pounds, Aidan Shaughnessy (23-12) at 170 pounds, AJ Cooper (18-6) at 182 pounds and Austin Flores (18-10) at 220 pounds.
Sublette will send three wrestlers to Hays, including Wyatt Brown (17-10) at 113 pounds, Andy Davis (16-10) at 120 pounds and Laramie Lumley (20-6) at 285 pounds.
Two Lakin grapplers will represent the Broncs. Those are Dalton Gonzales (24-8) at 160 pounds and David Baca (18-9) at 170 pounds.
Holcomb’s Keegan Amos will be among the favorites at 132 pounds when he takes his 22-4 record to the 3-2-1A meet. Amos won the Garden Plain regional on Saturday. He will be joined by teammate Misael Bandares (21-10) at 138 pounds.
Wichita County is sending two wrestlers, as well. They are Dylon Nighswonger (25-8) at 106 pounds and Brice Mason (24-15) at 195 pounds. South Gray’s Rebels also qualified two from the regional in Caleb Watts (21-11) at 195 pounds and Zach Crick (22-11) at 285 pounds.
Second round championship matches and semifinals will continue later on Friday. Consolation cross-bracketing will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, with championship matches tentatively scheduled for 4:30 p.m.