By CONOR NICHOLL
Girls Division II - WaKeeney: Hoisington’s Wikum beats Morrison in rematch; part of three flipped results
Hoisington sophomore Tally Wikum first started barrel racing when she was three years old. As she grew older, Wikum stepped aside from volleyball and basketball to solely focus on rodeo.
She and her family has competed in many events, including goat tying, pole bending, barrel racing and roping. Wikum has earned high marks in national competition. In the 2019 National High School Rodeo Association, Wikum tied for fourth and finished 12th in the goat tying competition. She and Denton (Neb.)’s Garrett Novotny achieved strong places in multiple partner events, including third, fifth, seventh and tenth.
Longtime Hoisington wrestling coach Dan Schmidt knew of Wikum’s rodeo skill. He noticed Wikum’s high intelligence, work ethic, drive and dedication. He believed Wikum would make a strong wrestler.
In Schmidt’s P.E. class, Wikum performed well in a wrestling activity. Wrestling wasn’t going to conflict with rodeo, which is generally held in warmer weather. Her parents were OK with wrestling.
“This sport could be good for me,” Wikum said. “Coach Schmidt really did talk me into it.”
Last winter, Wikum joined a bevy of girls that wrestled for the first time in the inaugural KSHSAA sanctioned girls’ wrestling season. A high number of new girls had played other sports, such as basketball, softball, golf and pole vault.
Wikum qualified for the all-classes state tournament and finished 22-8 at 136 pounds. She lost decisions to Burlingame’s Gianna Culbert and Royal Valley’s Maya Ogden, both experienced wrestlers who finished top-3 at the ’19 unsanctioned Kansas state meet.
Wikum learned from Cardinal teammate Bailey Sanders. She finished fourth at 155 with a 25-5 mark. This winter, Wikum bumped to No. 1 at 138 for several weeks in the first season of girls’ Division II (Classes 4-1A wrestling).
“She bought into it, and wow, what a tremendous girl to have on your team,” Schmidt said.
In the last two weeks, Wikum’s performances have encapsulated the continued growth of girls’ wrestling and the unique nature of the 2021 state wrestling postseason.
In all other years, boy wrestlers compete at regionals. The top-4 in each weight class (16 total) then advanced to state. Last season, the girls had 12 advance to state from regionals with the top-four seeds getting a bye.
This season, because of COVID-19 protocol, girls’ Division II and boys’ 3-2-1A and 4A has four rounds of postseason: districts, regionals last weekend, sub-state this weekend and then state.
Division I (5-6A) girls, 5A boys and 5A girls didn’t have districts and started with regionals last weekend. Currently, 16 wrestlers in all classes remain after regionals. They are considered state qualifiers.
However, because of social distancing measures, sub-state will narrow the field from 16 to eight this weekend at sub-state. Instead of the normal two days, the state tournaments will be one day.
In some cases, including with Wikum and Atwood-Rawlins County senior Kaileigh Morrison, they could meet four straight weeks in the postseason. In some other instances, wrestlers could see each other for four playoff matchups – after multiple regular season meetings.
Schmidt said wrestlers start to “narrow the gap,” which happened numerous times at regionals. At least one finals match on the boys’ side was a forfeit because of the constant repetition the two wrestlers have, and will likely continue, to have.
“The thing that I think all of us as coaches worry about is we are going to seeing those kids next weekend, and then the following weekend,” Schmidt said.
At districts, Wikum faced Morrison, and lost 5-2. Morrison was 6-3 after districts.
“This girl is as good as anything we have seen all year long,” Schmidt said.
Hoisington looked at the results between Morrison, who didn’t compete last season, and Wikum. While Morrison had far fewer matches, both had lost to Hoxie’s Marissa Porsch. Neither had fallen to a 138-pound wrestler. Similar to last winter, girl wrestlers had emerged throughout the postseason. Morrison was unranked in the Feb. 2 poll.
“Wow, there are people out there we don’t know anything about,” Schmidt said.
Wikum refocused throughout last week. During the year, she has spent ample time with first-year Hoisington assistant coach Jonathan Ball, a former Cardinal state champion. Jonathan is the second-oldest of the five Ball brothers. They have combined to win eight state wrestling titles. Jonathan’s brother, Christopher, is back in the Hoisington wrestling room, too. They are Fort Hays students.
“We would have never gotten them, but with COVID, the one blessing with COVID is, is they had to do online schooling, and so they could work out of wherever, and they chose to move back to work out of Hoisington,” Schmidt said.
Wikum has “really appreciated” her teammates and coaches. With Ball, she fixed stance and setup and often worked on hand placement. Plus, Ball emphasized the mind game. At WaKeeney on Saturday, wrestlers took their customary break before the first placing round. Wrestlers ate snacks, looked on their phones or engaged in conversation.
Ball and Wikum spent part of the time working through technique on the edge of one of the mats. They were generally the only ones up practicing. Wikum came back and picked up a 10-8 win against Morrison to capture the regional title. She stands at 25-2, and Morrison is 7-4 entering this week’s sub-state at Ellis.
“We were mentally ready to go three periods, and we knew that it was going to be tough,” Schmidt said.
This Friday, the Ellis 138-pound sub-state bracket also features Mulvane sophomore Kammie Schanz, 13-0 and a defending state runner-up, and Smoky Valley senior Belle Peters, 15-3 and one of the top pole vaulters in state history. Peters has signed with Pittsburg State University for track and elected to try wrestling for the first time.
Overall, Wikum’s championship helped Hoisington finish third at regionals with 80 points. Pratt, ranked No. 1, won with 122 points. Ellis took second at 93, and Oakley fourth at 67. This week, the top-six in the team standings are Pratt, Baldwin, Paola, Oakley, Ellis and Hoisington.
“At the end of the year at this time … you are going to go third periods, and it’s going to be a dogfight,” Schmidt said.
The rematches affected several other weights – and could play a pivotal role in this weekend. At 101, Oakley sophomore Citori Bosserman beat Hoisington freshman Sheena Gocela, 8-2. Bosserman stands at 21-1, and Gocela is 18-6.
Gocela has continued to narrow the gap between her and Bosserman with the possibility of two more matches. In the latest rankings released Tuesday morning, Bosserman is again ranked first and Gocela stands fourth.
“The girl from Oakley, tremendously talented, and at first, we couldn’t stay with her,” Schmidt said. “We were lasting maybe half a period. Then, we got to the second period. … Now we are starting to realize, we can compete with her.”
In the 115 WaKeeney finals, Pratt’s Jadyn Thompson avenged her only loss of the season with a 5-0 finals win versus Lakin junior Isabell Ortiz.
“She just focused on being positive,” Pratt coach Tate Thompson said.
In a highly anticipated 143-pound final, Pratt junior Livia Swift beat Ellis freshman Kaydawn Haag by fall in 4:22. Both wrestlers had a lead in the match. Haag had served Swift her lone loss of the year. This weekend, Ortiz/Thompson and Swift/Haag are again the favorites in Ellis.
At WaKeeney, Swift earned Regional Wrestler of the Year, and Thompson was Regional Coach of the Year. Swift is ranked first, Haag second.
Thompson is ranked second and Ortiz third behind Independence junior Alexis Allen, a defending state champion.
Wellington wins Division II Circle girls regional; Cullens stays undefeated; Ziegler sets up possible matchup with Larned’s Mull at sub-state
Wellington captured the Circle regional with 115 points, while McPherson took second at 84 and Mulvane was third with 76. Schanz stayed perfect with three falls: 2:13, 1:49 and 4:47.
At 109, Wellington’s Anna Cullens (27-0) took first with falls in 32 seconds, 5:38 and 2:48. The finals match came against Abilene’s Skyleigh Pflaster and marked Pflaster’s first loss this winter. Cullens and Pflaster were ranked first and second, respectively, in the latest rankings.
Cullens earned regional wrestler of the year honors, and Wellington coach Mitch McComb was regional coach of the year. All the Circle regional teams will go to Ellis for sub-state.
At Ellis sub-state, Lakin sophomore Josiah Ortiz (21-0) could face off against Cullens in the finals. Ortiz is expected to see Pflaster in the semifinals.
In the latest rankings, Cullens is first, Pflaster second and Ortiz third.
For McPherson, 155-pound junior Holli Giddings improved to 27-1 with a title at 155. She won by fall in 1:50 and 1:07. Giddings is ranked second. She could see Pratt freshman Keimarla Thompson, Jadyn’s sister. Keimarla stands at 23-10. Giddings is second and Thompson third in the rankings.
At 170, Council Grove sophomore Jolie Ziegler, a defending state champion, moved to 8-1. She is ranked second and earned a 2-1 decision versus Abilene’s Lyndsey Buechman in the championship.
Two years ago, Larned's Ava Mull went undefeated and won an unofficial girls’ state title at McPherson. Last year, Mull was the favorite all year, though was disqualified at regionals. Ziegler cruised to the title. This winter, Mull stands at 25-0 and could face Ziegler in the Ellis sub-state. Ziegler, Mull, Buchman and Douglass’ Jewella Cokeley (17-2) are ranked second, third, fourth and fifth. They are all in the Ellis sub-state.
Division II East: Baldwin and Fort Scott continues to be front-runners; Paola dominant with its elite wrestlers; Knecht/Allen a combined 108-0 in the last two years
At the Rossville regional, Baldwin nearly doubled up the field, and Kit Harris earned regional coach of the year. Baldwin won with 165 points and Silver Lake took second with 84. Tonganoxie was third with 61. For Baldwin, Brianna Mitchell (19-14) captured the 101 title.
In a key matchup at 138, Royal Valley senior Maya Ogden, who is ranked second behind Schanz, stayed perfect at 19-0. She beat Baldwin’s Audrey Darnell, 7-0. Darnell is 24-5.
At 143, Baldwin’s Emma Grossoehme, a Baker University signee, improved to 31-4 and captured two first-period wins by fall. At 170, Baldwin freshman Hayleigh Wempe, the lone wrestler to beat Ziegler this season, improved to 28-4 with a title. She is ranked No. 1. Darnell is sixth, and Grossoehme fifth.
Fort Scott wins Burlington regional
At Burlington, Fort Scott won an expected close contest. FS finished with 125 points, Columbus had 113 and Paola delivered 108.
Key lower weight matches occurred at 101 and 109. At 101, Burlington’s M.J. Huff won, 5-4, in the finals against Fort Scott’s Nicole Montojo. Huff stands at 23-3 and is ranked second.
Fort Scott sophomore Ryelee Cagle (14-5) beat Columbus sophomore Addison Saporito by fall in 3:04. Cagle still remains behind Saporito in the rankings. She is fifth and Saporito stands fourth. Cagle was Fort Scott’s lone regional titlist.
Paola had its dominance with 120-pounder junior Kailyn Younger, 126-pound senior Jordyn Knecht, and 191-pounder Americus Harris. Knecht is a defending state champion, ranked No. 1 and 30-0 this winter. She is 60-0 against girls the last two seasons after she missed her sophomore season with injury. Younger, a defending state runner-up, is 22-1. Harris stands at 12-7.
Knecht was regional wrestler of the year, and Columbus’ Marcus Bowman collected regional coach honors.
Younger won her three matches by fall in 47 seconds, 38 seconds and 1:33. Knecht was as dominant with wins in 24 seconds, 18 seconds and 2:43. Harris picked up wins by fall in 1:30, 1:05 and 4:53.
At 132, Marina Johnson (27-4) won a regional title with falls in 1:11 and 1:05. Harris remains unranked in the Feb. 16 poll, and Johnson moved into the fourth slot this week.
Paola has just the four wrestlers left, but especially with Knecht and Younger, the Panthers should be a team title contender.
D2 East sub-state at Anderson County – Allen, Rose, Knecht, King all undefeated
The Eastern Division II teams will be at Anderson County on Friday. Saporito and Cagle could meet up again. At 115, Independence senior Alexis Allen (18-0) remains ranked No. 1. Allen is 48-0 in the last two seasons.
At 120, a possible sub-state matchup would be second-ranked Rossville freshman Kendra Hurla (18-1) against Paola’s Younger.
The 132-pound bracket could be highly intriguing, though Marysville senior Elise Rose should be the favorite. Rose, who spends part of her year wrestling against boys, stands 10-0 versus girls. Rose earned regional wrestler of the year.
She is a nationally ranked wrestler. Silver Lake senior Ellington Hogle, a standout who has signed to play softball at Washburn, is 31-3 and ranked fourth. She and Rose are in the same half of the bracket. Hogle lost by fall to Mission Valley freshman Hope Blake.
Overall, Rose is ranked first, Blake third, Hogle fourth and Johnson sixth.
The bottom half features Paola’s Johnson. Rose is Marysville’s only girl wrestler and won her three regional matches by forfeit, a fall in 3:46 and a fall in 4:46.
At 155, Oskaloosa sophomore Allison King stands at 16-0 and could face Ottawa senior Darby Weidl, who has been ranked No. 1 all season. Weidl, a defending state runner-up, is 20-2. King is ranked fifth.
At 191, Harris could have an opportunity to match up with the top-ranked wrestler: Tonganoxie sophomore Holly Colvert (12-2).
Division I: Big jumps for Dodge City and Wichita North on the west; Host Dodge City wins own regional
Last year, Washburn Rural edged Great Bend for the all-classes inaugural state championship. They were well ahead of the rest of the field. This winter, the split occurred with Division I and II. After regionals, Washburn Rural remains ranked first, followed by Dodge City, Great Bend, Wichita North and Shawnee Heights.
The four Division I regionals were held at Dodge City, Wichita South, Emporia and Spring Hill. At DC, Western Athletic Conference teams finished in the top four. Dodge City won with 179, Garden City took second at 162, Great Bend third with 117 and Hays High fourth with 67.
Dodge City has made huge improvements from last season when Autumn Perez was the lone state qualifier. She finished sixth at 143 with a 13-9 mark.
This year, all of DC’s wrestlers qualified for state. Dodge City coach Tate Lowe was regional wrestling coach honoree, and Wichita West’s Ryasia McDougle was regional wrestler of the year.
Garden City had 11 wrestlers and Hays High 10. All but one of Garden City’s wrestlers qualified and Hays High qualified four.
At 101, Dodge City’s Stephanie Ortega (10-11) placed fourth. Alyssa Nichols (13-8) was third at 109. Emily Alonzo (10-12) was fourth at 115.
At 120, Ariana DeLaRosa (14-1) captured the championship. Monica Abrea took third at 126, and Leslie Garcia was fourth at 132.
At 138, Dayanara Garcia won the regional crown and improved to 22-5. In a highlighted match at 143, Perez lost, 3-2, to Goddard’s Ashlynn Goodwin in the finals. Goodwin stands at 18-1, and Perez is 16-3.
At 155, Ashley Arroyo (18-1) picked up a pair of first-period wins for the championship. At 170, Jolette Almaraz (12-2) won the title. Ashley Martinez (5-2) finished third at 191. Sindy Guiterez was third at 235.
For Dodge City, Nichols is ranked fifth, DeLaRosa fifth, Perez second behind Goodwin, Arroyo third, and Alamarez fourth.
For Garden City, Anjelina Serrano, one of the state’s most experienced wrestlers, improved to 14-3 with a title at 132. Serrano won by fall and then earned a sudden victory against Hutchinson’s Meritza Jimenez in the final. Lilly Moore went 3-0 and captured the crown at 191. Moore is wrestling up a weight and earned GC’s Wrestler of the Week award. Serrano is ranked second, and Moore sixth.
Hays High’s Sarah Zimmerman continued to dominate at 109 and improved to 23-3. Zimmerman won her two matches by fall in 58 seconds and a minute. Zimmerman was HHS’ lone state qualifier last winter and took sixth at 109 with a 24-10 mark. Last year at state, Zimmerman beat Columbus’ Saporito and Burlington’s M.J. Huff, and lost to Wellington’s Cullens, Lakin’s Isabell Ortiz and Pratt’s Jadyn Thompson – all wrestlers in the Division II mix this season.
Zimmerman is ranked third at 109.
Great Bend picked up its two regional titlists with Breckyn Elliott (16-3) at 101, and Breanna Ridgeway (30-0) at 126. Elliott won her matches by 6-2 and 11-4 decisions, and Ridgeway won by fall in 33 seconds and 5:05. Elliott continues to rank No. 1 at 101, and Ridgeway is first at 126.
Wichita North wins regional crown
Wichita North had two state qualifiers last season in Kassidy Khamvongsa at 116, and Angelina Gallegos at 191. They went 0-4 at state.
This year, North has four ranked wrestlers and won five individual titles at the Wichita Southeast regional. North won the regional with 185 points, and South was second at 111.
Sophomore Larissa Garcia stands fifth at 101, senior Dialeen French is second at 109, sophomore Rodah Benji is second at 115, and sophomore Diana Colchado is fourth at 126.
Benji was regional wrestler of the year, and Wichita North coach Quinton Burgess was regional coach of the year.
Andover Central has junior 136-pounder Xara Bacci and senior 155-pounder Jaquelyn Tschochl. They are both ranked second. Last year, Bacci was the state runner-up at 136. Both won regional titles with a combined 3-0 mark, all by fall.
Goodard’s Goodwin part of key bracket at D1 West sub-state
The Division I West sub-state will occur at Wichita North.
At 115, Wichita West senior Ryasia McDougle (21-0) is undefeated.
At 120, Dodge City’s DeLaRosa could face Salina Central senior Kate Jennings (22-1).
At 143, Goddard’s Goodwin could face Wichita South junior Deliliah Sherbin, or get a rematch against Dodge City’s Perez. Goodwin has made a big jump from last year when she was fourth at the regional and finished 16-4.
Division I East Side: Washburn Rural wins regional over Emporia, Shawnee Heights – Stean shines out
At the Emporia regional, Washburn Rural won with 211 points, and Damon Parker was regional coach of the year. Emporia took second at 168, and Shawnee Heights finished third at 151. For WR, Addison Broxterman (18-5) took first at 120 with three wins by fall in 2:24 or less. She is ranked second.
At 155, Rebekah Smith (15-1) won the title with two wins by fall in a combined 1:54. Smith is ranked first.
At 170, Jaliah Johnson lost in the semifinals to Bonner Springs freshman Olivia Stean by fall in 5:39. Then, Johnson won her next two matches by fall in a combined 2:04 to capture the title. Stean is ranked first, Johnson third. Stean pinned the state’s top-two girls and vaulted up in the rankings.
At 191, Dajia Anderson (24-4), a defending state champion, improved to 24-4. She had a late takedown and beat Shawnee Heights’ Maranda Bell, 4-2, in the finals. Bell is 26-3. Anderson is ranked first, Bell second.
Free State’s Gray named Regional Wrestler of the Year at Emporia; undefeated wrestlers stay perfect
Highly-ranked wrestlers continued strong seasons, especially Lawrence Free State junior Madyson Gray. She earned Emporia regional wrestler of the year with a dominant showing that included a win by fall in a minute for the 132-pound final. Gray, a defending state champion, improved to 11-0. Gray is 45-0 against girls in the last two seasons. Gray is ranked first.
As well, K.C. Piper senior Sara Lake, also a defending state champion, improved to 19-0 with a 138-pound championship. Lake stands at 46-0 versus girls the last two years. Lake is ranked first.
Basehor-Linwood senior Cadence Christenson remained perfect at 15-0 with a 143-pound title. At 235, Emporia’s Megan Olson (15-0) captured the title. They are ranked third and fourth, respectively.
KC-Turner sophomore Arianna Ortiz (12-1) won by fall in 1:31 in the 101-pound championship match. Ortiz is ranked second. At 109, Basehor-Linwood senior Olivia O’Donnell (19-2) captured the title with a win by fall in 5:56. O’Donnell is ranked fifth.
Olathe West wins Spring Hill regional; Key Division I sub-state matchups; unbeaten Lake versus Davis possible
At the Spring Hill regional, Olathe West edged Gardner-Edgerton, 116-109.5 for the title. Olathe West had one titlist when Makayla Rivera (21-0) stayed perfect at 285. The 101 bracket had just two wrestlers, though Olathe East senior Erin Wetterstrom remained undefeated at 15-0. She is ranked fourth.
A key matchup occurred at 120 when Olathe South freshman Nicole Redmond beat Gardner-Edgerton sophomore Lily Kepler, 14-2. Redmond stands at 17-2, and Kepler is 22-4. Redmond vaulted to No. 1, and Kepler is third.
Redmond and Blue Valley Southwest’s Hannah Glynn were co-Regional Wrestlers of the Year, and G-E coach Tyler Cordt was Regional Coach of the Year.
G-E sophomore Shelby Davis (27-0) won the 138-pound title, and her teammate, sophomore Dakota Konzem captured the 143 crown at 14-0. They are ranked third and fourth, respectively.
The sub-state bracket could feature Turner’s Ortiz against Wetterstrom in the 101 final. A big matchup could occur at 138 when Lake and G-E’s Davis could face off.
At 143, Basehor-Linwood’s Christianson and G-E’s Konzem could have a matchup of undefeated wrestlers.
Anderson and Bell could have another match at sub-state.
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