By CONOR NICHOLL for Sports in Kansas - Cnicholl1@gmail.com
This past weekend featured multiple postponements and cancellations because of poor weather throughout the state, notably in the western, central and southern parts. That caused the cancellation of the 35th annual Derby Invitational, a competition that features Bishop Carroll, Derby, Mill Valley, Aquinas and St. James.
As well, the Burlington tournament is postponed to Jan. 17. Burlington features one of the state’s largest boys’ and girls’ tournaments. The Dick Burns Classic at Bonner Springs was also cancelled, along with the Herington McMillin Invitational, the Louisburg Wildcat Classic, Shawnee Mission South Invitational and Topeka Seaman duals. All boys’ rankings for 5A, 4A and 3-2-1A below as of Jan. 14, the latest polls from the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association. The 6A boys and all-class girls have not been updated from Dec. 31. Records from Track Wrestling unless otherwise noted.
New National Track Wrestling Rankings
Track Wrestling announced its new national rankings Jan. 14. Maize junior Kyle Haas is ranked second nationally, and St. James senior Cade Lautt is seventh. In Kansas, Haas and Lautt were first and second, respectively, in 5A.
Dodge City Invitational features tie
In a rarity, Western Athletic Conference foes Dodge City and Great Bend both finished with 231.5 points in the 11-team Dodge City meet that featured both boys and girls competition. Valley Center was third with 157 points, while Garden City finished fourth with 156, and Gardner-Edgerton took fifth at 155.5. DC is ranked fifth in 6A.
Dodge City/Great Bend top results; Mendez named outstanding wrestler
At 101 girls, Great Bend’s Breckyn Elliott defeated Dodge City’s Jasmin Beltran by fall in 57 seconds. Elliott improved to 14-3, and Beltran is 8-2. Elliott was statistically the most dominant wrestler in the competition.
She, Garden City’s Esmerelda Corado and Ulysses’ Quentin Pauda led with five pins. Elliott had the least total time with 4 minutes, 13 seconds. Elliott ranked second at 101 on Dec. 31.
At 113 boys, Damian Mendez (24-1) took first with four wins by fall and an 8-0 major decision against Pratt’s Devon Weber, who dropped to 18-1. Mendez earned outstanding wrestler of the tournament honors as voted on by the coaches. Mendez is second in the 6A poll at 113, and Weber is still first at 4A 113. Mendez is the defending state champion at 106.
At 145 boys, Garrett Edwards (15-3) earned second place to Great Bend’s Gage Fritz, who won by 11-3 major decision. Fritz improved to 20-0. Fritz went 5-0 with two technical fall victories and a pair of falls before the final. Edwards is third in 6A, and Fritz stayed second in 5A.
At 152 boys, DC’s Luke Barker (22-3) earned three victories by fall, and then collected a 14-2 major decision in the championship.
At 155 girls, Jolette Armarez (4-0) earned her first victories of the year with a 4-2 decision against teammate Ashley Arroyo. Armarez won a 6-4 decision versus Great Bend’s Destiny Lewis.
At 170 boys, Jashon Taylor, a multi-year starter for Dodge City football who was hurt part of the fall, earned the championship. Taylor (8-2) finished 5-0, including a 6-1 and 11-0 decisions in the first two rounds.
After a forfeit, Taylor defeated Great Bend’s Scott Heilman, 9-8, and beat Garden City’s Alex Rodriguez, 5-2, in the championship. Taylor is ranked third at 6A 170. He was fifth at state last year.
At 182 boys, Ryan Parga (19-4) took second. Parga lost by fall in the championship to Pratt’s Iziah Cook. At 195 boys, Josh Bertholf (8-3) earned second when he lost in the final by fall to Gardner-Edgerton’s Gus Davis. Parga is sixth at 6A 182, and Davis third at 6A 195.
Great Bend with multiple champions; a change at 5A 126
For Great Bend, Elliott, Lewis and Fritz were among the standouts. Great Bend remained fourth in 5A. The only change came when Arkansas City and McPherson flip-flopped at fifth and seventh, respectively. Maize and Goddard continue to lead 5A.
Kaden Spragis (16-3) earned second at boys 106. Spragis is again sixth at 106.
In the championship, he fell to Ulysses junior Quentin Pauda by fall. Pauda improved to 13-0 and stayed third at 106 in 4A.
At boys 120, Wyatt Weber (13-7) finished second. Weber is still fifth at 120. Garden City’s Silas Pineda (21-6) had an 8-4 decision.
A key matchup occurred at 126 pounds behind Valley Center’s Alyeus Craig and GB’s Drew Liles.
Craig beat Liles, 7-3. Craig is 18-2, and Liles stands at 18-3. Last week, Craig was sixth and Liles fourth. In one of the few ranking changes, Craig is now fourth and Liles fifth.
Panther sophomore Breanna Ridgeway, one of the state’s top wrestlers for all classes, asserted herself with a big tournament. She improved to 13-0, including her first two matches by falls in 29 and 23 seconds. In the final, Ridgeway beat Garden City’s Anjelina Serrano by fall in 3:27. Serrano is 15-4. Ridgeway and Serrano are first and fourth, respectively, at 130.
Carsyn Schooler (16-3) won at boys 132, including a 15-3 major decision to Pratt’s Koda Dipman. Schooler is still first at 132 5A.
At girls 136, Lexi Deines (11-5) won the title with three matches by fall in 33, 28 and 25 seconds.
At 152 boys, George Weber (10-2) took second to Barker. Weber remains unranked.
At 155 girls, Briana Perez (12-5) and lost only to Dodge City’s Jolette Armarez.
Alex Randolph (19-2) won at 160 boys. He finished 5-0 with his first four matches by fall. In the final, Randolph defeated Gardner-Edgerton’s A.J. Rodriguez, 11-4. Randolph is still fourth at 160 in 5A.
At 170 girls, Maria Gonzalez (8-4) won with three matches by fall, all in 3:27 or less. At 235 girls, Kyeal Mogbo (11-4) earned two victories, both in the first period.
Valley Center with two champions
Along with Alyeus Craig at 126, Tony Caldwell improved to 19-0 at 285. After a first-round bye, Caldwell won his first two matches by fall in a combined 2 minutes, 16 seconds. He won his last two matches, 7-0 and 2-0. In the final, he defeated Ulysses’ Ayston Perez, who suffered his first loss of the year with a 14-1 mark. In the semifinals, Caldwell defeated Dodge City’s Cody Terrell. Caldwell is still first at 5A 285.
Pratt’s Thompson, GC’s Corado and Avila win on girls’ side; Holt stays dominant for boys
At 109 girls, Pratt’s Jadyn Thompson defeated Garden City’s Chloe Sullivan by fall in 5:05. Thompson improved to 14-2, and Sullivan is 14-5. Thompson is fourth at 109 rankings.
At 116 girls, Garden City’s Esmerlda Corado (16-5) went 5-0 with her pins, the first four in 1:17 or less. In her last match, Corado defeated Pratt’s Payton Woody by fall in 3:48. Woody is 13-5.
At 123 girls, Destiny Avila (8-1) won the title with an 8-7 decision, a forfeit and two falls in 29 seconds and 2:28. In the finals, she defeated her teammate, Sara Chapa.
At 138 boys, Garden City’s Jacob Holt (16-1) stayed dominant with a 5-0 mark. He won the first two matches by fall, a technical fall, and back-to-back major decisions. VC’s Quentin Kirk improved to 18-3. Holt is ranked first in 145.
Kapaun rolls at Augusta
KMC scored 224 points, 80 ahead of the competition, at the 52nd annual Augusta Invitational. At 106, Bubba Wright (18-0) took first with a dominant run. He won by fall, then two straight technical fall victories, another win by fall, and 4-0 decision versus Maize South’s Ian Demoss capped the tournament. Demoss is 20-2. Wright and Demoss remained first and third in 5A 106, respectively.
At 132, Joe Walter (13-6) took second with a loss to Rose Hill’s Keegan Beavers. Walter tied for second with four falls and had just 3 minutes, 53 of total mat time in the pins. Walter stayed sixth at 132 in 5A.
At 145, Brecken Phipps (16-3) took first, though had several close matches. Discounting a forfeit win, Walter has wins by 11-4, 5-4, 4-3 and 8-3. At 160, Ayden Jimenez (15-4) earned a 9-3 decision versus Columbus’ Sylas Stone.
At 170, freshman Nathan Fury took second, is 16-1 and suffered his first loss of the winter. He stayed fourth in 5A.
Fury lost, 5-0, to Rose Hill’s David Leck in the championship. Leck is 13-1 and totaled four wins in the victory. Leck dropped a spot from fourth to fifth in the latest 4A rankings.
Charlie Frisch (8-2) was first at 182 and had to face his teammate, Reed Adelhardt, in the finals. Frisch won 6-3, and Adelhardt dropped to 7-5. Frisch is sixth at 182 again.
Wellington duo stays perfect
Wellington’s Kanden Young is 19-0 at 195, and Kenny Fehrman is 19-0 at 220. Young had a bye, then won by fall in 15 and 36 seconds. He delivered a 5-0 victory in the semifinals, and 12-6 in the championship. Ferhman was the only wrestler to have five falls in the tournament. He won his matches in 2:21, 1:21, 1:00, 1:38 and 3:31.
Young has moved into the rankings at fifth at 195 in 4A, and Fehrman is again third at 220 4A.
Slight changes in 4A team rankings
In the Dec. 31 rankings, the top-10 read Andale, Chanute, Marysville, Scott City, K.C. Piper, Winfield, Holton, Ulysses, Pratt and Clay Center. The top-seven was the same for Jan. 14, except Tonganoxie replaced Ulysses at eighth.
Hoisington cruises at 47th Ellsworth Wrestling tournament; Hamel with big win against Ball; Pedigo dominant again
The Cardinals won 188.5 points, 37 ahead of Hill City. Hesston was third with 91 points. The Cardinals received a championship at 152 from Cole Steinert. He improved to 14-3 with a fall in 4:44. At 182, Joshua Ball (8-1), who had been out with injury, took second at 182. In the championship, Hill City’s Jayce Hamel won 13-4 versus Ball.
On Dec. 30, Ball was third and Hamel fourth. The two flip-flopped for Jan. 14.
Hamel is 18-1, Ball 8-1. At 195, Pedigo, a two-time defending state champion and North Dakota football signing, is 17-0.
Pedigo went 5-0 with five dominant falls in 21, 49 seconds, 1:16, 32 and 24 seconds. Pedigo and Ellsworth’s Brendan Tripp were the only ones in the field to have five pins. Pedigo had a total time of 3:22, and Tripp was at 5:27. Tripp (12-2) took first at 220. Pedigo is first again, and Tripp remains unranked.
At 220, Cole Gilliland (10-1) took his first loss of the winter.
In the finals, Tripp won by fall in 2:37 versus Gilliland. At 285, Cade Boxberger (12-4) was second. In the finals, Lincoln’s Tra Barrienties (17-1) won by fall in 1:17 and stayed third at 285.
Girls at Norton’s J.R. Durham for the first time; Lakin girls make big jump
The longtime Norton J.R. Durham Invitational had a girls’ tournament with the first time, along with the boys. Hoxie won the 17-team field with 187 points, while Norton was second with 163. Beloit was fourth at 126.
On Dec. 30, Hoxie, Beloit and Norton were 1-2-3. In the latest poll, Norton and Beloit switched places. Also on Dec. 30, Goodland, Hoisington, Phillipsburg, Rossville, Republic County, Oberlin and Riverside held spots fourth through tenth.
The new poll has Phillipsburg, Rossville, Goodland, Hoisington, Republic County, Oberlin and Riverside.
Norton’s 138-pounder Nick Mandl had four pins – the most among Kansas wrestlers – with a pin time of 9:44. Mandl (8-2) earned third because of a quarterfinal loss to Brecken Loftin of Cozad (Neb.).
Hoxie had championships with Dayton Bell (16-3 at 113), Drew Bell (18-1 at 126), Derek Johnson (21-0 at 132), and Aidan Baalman (21-1 at 152). The quartet all had the same rankings as last week: Dayton fourth, Drew third, Johnson third and Baalman second.
As well, Marissa Porsch won the 123-136 weight class. Porsch is sixth at 136.
Lakin’s Isabelle Ortiz won the 110-123 championship. Ortiz is second at 109.
At 130-143, WaKeeney-Trego’s Sydney Boyle captured the crown, while Hoxie’s Ashlyn Kaus took second. Boyle is ranked third at 143. At 155-191, WaKeeney-Trego’s Kaley Logue took first.
At 182, Hoxie’s Donovan Balluch (10-9) won by fall against Brandon Vacura (10-4) in 2:57. Vacura was ranked fifth at 182 and fell out of the poll.
At 220, Norton’s Judson Wiltfong (11-1) earned a bye, and then three falls with 1:05, 19 seconds and 3:03. He continues to rank fourth at 220.
Ellis does well at Nebraska
Ellis traveled to Franklin, Nebraska over the weekend where they took first as a team. They had seven wrestlers go into the finals and four take home gold. Konnor Pfeifer is one of the top wrestlers in the state at 160 lbs and was ranked third at the Holiday Break.
Wren stays perfect for Scott City
SC’s Kaden Wren (15-0) won at 138, including a 5-1 decision versus Hoxie’s Dylan Weimer in the final. Weimer is 7-1 and stayed first at 138 in 3-2-1A, and Wren is still first at 138 in 4A.
At 152, Noah Kliesen (12-1) earned a championship, including a win versus Hoxie’s Aidan Baalman in the semifinals, and by fall in 5:26 in the final versus Weld (Col.)’s Kolton Robertson.
Beloit’s Johnson stays perfect
At 285, Beloit’s Creighton Johnson had a bye and then won four straight to move to 13-0. Johnson beat Scott City’s Gabe Bowers, 5-1, in the semifinals. In the finals, Johnson beat McCook (Neb.)’s Reid Steinbeck by fall in 1:09. Johnson is still first at 3-2-1A 285.
Tate Kandel won at 145 and moved to 12-1. Brennan Walker finished second at 182 and is 12-1. Braden Burks (12-1) took third at 195. All three wrestlers remained the same in the rankings: Kandel fourth, Walker first and Burks third.