Wrestling state championships are finally upon us and while the snow may have already caused some delays, wrestling champions will be crowned this weekend.
Wrestling is widely considered the ultimate in sport. It’s entering the ring with another human and showing that someone will be controlled until they physically cannot move anymore.
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An interesting move in the 113 and 120-pound weight class came with Wichita Northwest’s Michael Lindlar wrestling at the Hutchinson regional tournament in the 120-pound weight class. He has wrestled in the 113 weight all season, but has lost to Wichita Heights’ Sean DeShazer three times this season, so that might have something to do with the decision to go up in weight. Lindlar is currently the No. 2-ranked wrestler in 120 and DeShazer has been No. 1 in 113 all season. Linldar is the defending state champion in 113.
In 106 last season it was DeShazer and Manhattan’s Jase Stone duked it out for a state championship and DeShazer came out on top. This year, DeShazer has been No. 1 in 113 and Stone No. 3. With Lindlar moving up to 120, Stone is now in prime position to make the finals, where it will likely be a rematch of last season’s championship bout. Manhattan is currently the second-best team in 6A.
Garden City is the top team in 6A and has been for the vast majority of the season. The Buffaloes dominated the Hutchinson regional tournament and likely will walk away with a state title on Saturday at Hartman Arena.
The Buffaloes currently have five wrestlers ranked in the top three in their respective weight classes, and qualified all but one wrestler for the state tournament. Garden City’s defending state champion in 132 AJ Hurtado has moved up to 138 this season and has gone back-and-forth with Dodge City’s Dane Edwards for the top spot in the class.
The two were slated to meet in the finals of the Hutchinson regional tournament, but Edwards took a default as to not take any risks in injuring himself for the state tournament. He is still the top-ranked wrestler in the state and Hurtado is No. 2.
Derby has climbed the ranks all season and has positioned itself as a serious championship contender at No. 3. Ben Becker has been the top-ranked wrestler in 152 for most of the season and after a loss in last season’s state championship to Gardner-Edgerton’s Dustin Williams, he is looking for redemption. Williams is now the top dog in 160, so Becker won’t have to worry about him.
Topeka’s Will Geary has been the wrestler to beat in 285 all season, and after a state championship last season, Geary looks to finish the season on a good note.
The goal for Ark City at last week’s regional tournament in Andover Central wasn’t qualify as many as possible for state, but to win as many regional titles as possible. That has set the tone for the Bulldogs and their quest to win a second-straight state championship. Ark City qualified every wrestler for state.
Going into the state tournament, Ark City has nine wrestlers in the top six of their respective weight classes. Wyatt Villers finished fourth at last year’s state tournament in 138 and is now looking for redemption. He has been No. 1 in 152 the majority of the year. Cody Eastman has had a solid season will look to finish on a good note as well.
It wouldn’t be 5A without Andover Central’s Zac Gentzler. He has wrestled yet another fantastic season and shows no sign of slowing down. The Oklahoma State-commit is looking for his fourth consecutive state championship. He won two 103 titles and last year won the 113 title. He is going for the 120 championship this year.
Kapaun’s Parker Howell has held steady in the top six in 113 this season, and took third in 106 last season. Top-ranked PJ Cheney of KC Turner finished fourth in the weight class last season, but has been No. 1 for most of the season in 113.
Hays’ Preston Weigel has held the top spot in 195 for the entire season, just ahead of Newton Dillon Archer. The Newton star has wrestled a splendid season and will likely meet Weigel, the defending 170 champion in the finals. It will be fun to see if Weigel’s huge difference in weight will affect his performance in the tournament.
Shawnee Mission South’s Reis Humphrey took third at last season’s state tournament and is hungry for a championship. Standing in his way, though, will likely be Ark City’s Cody Eastman. The two have been the top two wrestlers in the state for most of the season.
Ark City’s Logan Terrill is looking to assert his dominance in 106, as St. James’ Stephen Tujague took over the top spot in the weight class earlier this season. Terrill promptly regained the No. 1 spot the next week.
Leavenworth’s Nathan Butler won the heavyweight title in 6A last season and is looking to do it again in 5A.
Many of the wrestlers at the top of their weight classes have been there all season long. There have been a few changes here and there, but for the most part, guys have held their spots.
The team rankings are a different story. The 4A teams have moved around since day one; specially El Dorado. The Wildcats started the season No. 4, then midway through the season they nearly fell out of the top 10, but have clawed back to a No. 3-ranking heading into the state tournament. El Dorado beat perennial power Andale in its regional tournament at Augusta.
In front of El Dorado is Bonner Springs at No. 1 and Colby at No. 2. Bonner Springs has four wrestlers in the top six of their respective weight classes. But 4A is a tough class, as Andale is hungry for a second-straight state championship and El Dorado wants its first in school history.
Augusta’s Jake Goldenstein is looking for redemption after a second-place state finish in 106 last season. Goldenstein has run the table this season, and has held the top spot in 106 the entire year. He will have his fair share of challenges, as the three guys under him have a combined record of 96-7.
Andale’s Levi Eck is looking for his second-straight state championship in 182. Standing in his way is Prairie View’s Jake Bradley, who is ranked No. 2 in 4A.
Eck’s teammate Tyler Mies was a state runner-up last season and has held the top ranking in 120 all season, and Eck has expressed it would mean more to him for his teammates to win than himself. Mies will likely face Abilene’s Junior Morgan and Holton’s Hunter Price.
Once Winfield’s Josh Horn took the top spot in 285, he didn’t let it go. The heavyweight earned the No. 1 ranking about midway through the season and is looking to capitalize on his position.
After a huge win at its home regional, Norton comfortably moved into the No. 1 spot in 3-2-1A. The regional included teams such as now-No. 2 Plainville, No. 6 Oberlin and No. 8 Scott City. Norton ran away with last season’s state championship.
Marysville’s Chris Deters holds the No. 1 seed in 106 despite four more losses than Ellsworth’s Ty Nienke. None of that matters, though, as it will likely be decided on the mat in the finals.
Fredonia’s Brogan Humphrey will likely face either Kasey Biddle of Central Burden or Shane Winters of Sterling. Humphrey is undefeated this season at 41-0, and after a convincing win at the Newton Tournament of Champions, it is imagined he feels fairly confident heading into the state championship. He is the defending state champion.
Norton’s John Risewick has held the top spot in 132 all season and defeated the No. 2 wrestler, Oberlin’s Dayton Dreher, at last weekend’s regional tournament.
Chase County’s Trey Francka has also held the top ranking in 113 all season and will likely be challenged by Marysville’s Josh Goepfert. Both wrestlers are undefeated.