Holt claims third state title

PARK CITY — Jacob Holt wasn’t going to let another Koelzer get the best of him.

The Garden City High School senior capped off his stellar high school wrestling career following his 2-1 tiebreaker win over Olathe South’s Dallas Koelzer on Saturday during the 138-pound championship match of the Class 6A wrestling tournament.

“I had people doubting me and saying that I wasn’t going to be a three-timer,” Holt said on Saturday. “But with everything that has happened this season, it’s really good to come out on top with this victory.”

Holt’s championship began with an uneventful first period where neither Holt nor Koelzer scored. In the second period, Koelzer scored with an escape. In the third period, Holt chose bottom and also scored with an escape.

“Well the plan really was for us as coaches, we really didn’t want to go on the bottom with this kid,” Prieto said. “We wanted to dominate on our feet. The kid was tougher than we thought.”

The match went into extra periods in break the 1-1 tie. Holt scored again off another escape, to make the match 2-1, but in the last 11 seconds of the final period, Koelzer threw a headlock which placed Holt on his back, but it was on the out-of-bounds line. Olathe South’s coaching staff rushed toward the scoring table, shouting, “that’s two!”, referencing the two take-down points they thought Koelzer should have been given. But after a brief discussion, the officials stuck to their call that the attempted takedown was out-of-bounds.

“Fortunately it went our way,” Prieto said of Holt’s match. “People can say it wasn’t two (points) or it was two (points). Whatever, I don’t think it was. Plus he had an illegal headlock, but that’s not for me to say. He ended up winning the match, so I’m extremely happy for Jake.”

It was two years ago during Holt’s sophomore season where he lost in a 4-2 sudden victory to Dallas’ older brother, Jace, in the 126-pound title bout.

“That was probably really satisfying for Jake,” Prieto said of Holt wrestling another Koelzer and coming out on top.

Holt now joins the elite company of only two other wrestlers — Michael Prieto and Tevin Briscoe — to have three individual state titles. He also joins Steve Mesa, Tim Polson and Michael Prieto as one of four wrestlers in GCHS history to appear in the state finals all four years of their wrestling careers, Prieto said.

Both Holt and Prieto said Holt’s senior seasons been nothing short of eventful.

“I’ll be honest with you. About a month and a half ago, I didn’t think we were going to have Jake. His heart wasn’t into it … But he got that fire back,” Prieto said. “… You never would have thought that he didn’t want to wrestle anymore. He’s a great leader in the room and I couldn’t be more pleased for him.”

Holt finished this season with a 31-2 record.

GCHS had a total of seven medalists, including Holt. Steven Sellers (132), Josh Janas (152), Jared Arellano (160), and Alex Rodriguez (170) each took home third place.

Sellers had a 6-2 decision over Topeka-Washburn Rural’s Bowan Murray while Janas pulled a 3-1 sudden victory win over Nathan Bowen of Haysville-Campus. Arellano’s win came from a 9-4 decision over Dodge City’s Marcelino Otero and Rodriguez pinned Wichita West’s Samuel Rushin at the 1:57 mark to win.

Erick Dominguez placed fourth after his 3-2 loss to Austin Keal of Mill Valley. Ryan Heiman, a freshman placed fifth place after defeating Gardner Edgerton’s Alonzo Borjas with a 9-4 decision.

At 220, Matt Smith lost in overtime to Topeka’s Tre Thomas to end his season and at 285, Isaiah Barrett did not make it to Day 2 of the state tournament after suffering two losses on Friday.

“We started out well behind today. We were in eighth place at one point and the kids battled back. We were talking as a coaching staff — this is what Garden City wrestling is known for, coming back on the back side,” Prieto said. “For everything that’s happened this season, I couldn’t be more proud of the kids. I’m really really pleased with our effort … This is an awesome way to end the season for us this year.”

Of the nine state qualifiers, Prieto will return five — Heiman, Sellers, Dominguez, Janas, and Barrett — next season.

As a team, GCHS placed fourth with 124.5 points. Mill Valley took home the team title with 161.5 points while Washburn Rural took second with 148 points and Dodge City placed third with 132 points.

Prieto hopes the biggest takeaway his wrestlers get from this year’s state tournament is to never be satisfied.

“We got a lot of work to do to climb back to the top of the podium,” Prieto said. “Hopefully, they’re hungry. It’s a positive way to end the season and hopefully the kids build from this.”