By CONOR NICHOLL
Special to The Telegram
HAYS --Lakin junior Dalton Davis knows what to expect when he opposes Norton junior Billy Broeckelman. The two have faced off five times in their careers, including twice at the Class 3-2-1A state championship.
"Same match every time," Davis said. "It is always going to be tough."
In 2008, Davis beat Broeckelman 6-5 to win the state championship at 112 pounds. Two years later, the pair met up in the 130-pound championship semifinals Friday. Davis, down 2-0 early, rallied to win 7-6 and move into the title match. Davis (28-4) will face Smith Center senior Colt Rogers in the championship today. Rogers, 39-0 this season and 147-3 in his career, has won three straight titles and has never lost to a Kansas wrestler.
"I have wanted him forever," Davis said. "I got him now. I am not backing down — at all."
Norton, the No. 1 team all year and the favorite to win its fourth championship since 2004, had a tournament-leading 142.5 points, 79 points better than runner-up Smith Center, the three-time defending champions. Norton, which qualified a tournament-best 10 wrestlers, put eight into the championship semifinals and six in the finals. Lakin has 18.5 points, good for 15th place.
Davis, who improved to 87-10 in his career and 3-2 against Broeckelman, had thought about returning to the state title match for two years.
"I have been craving it ever since I won my first one," he said.
As a sophomore, Davis finished fifth at 119 pounds after a 6-5 loss in the second round.
This winter, Davis returned to the championship after winning his first two matches by a 16-1 technical fall and a pin in 3 minutes, 10 seconds.
Broeckelman picked up a 6-5 lead with 38 seconds left in the second, before Davis tied the match 10 seconds later. In the third period, Davis picked up a one-point escape and held off Broeckelman for the 7-6 win.