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Marching in to the new month

The 2014-15 wrestling season, at least for Kansas high schools, ended a little after 7 p.m. Saturday. Norton ended up on top again of the Class 3-2-1A statndings, overtaking Hoisington in the consolation semifinals. The championship is the Bluejays’ third in a row, fifth in the last six years, and eighth since 2004 under Bill Johnson. Norton has won 14 championships all-time, the first six between 1959 and 1973 under Hall of Fame coach Jake Durham, the namesake of Norton’s tournament.

The Mid-Continent League produced only one champion, Smith Center’s David Hileman at 126 pounds. Hileman trailed most of his bout vs. Wabaunsee’s Riley Tubbs, but with under a minute to go, he reversed Tubbs to narrow the gap to 8-7, and he scored a three-point near fall. That would have been enough to win the bout, save for a reversal by Tubbs, but Hileman got the shoulders down enough to earn the fall with 40 seconds left. Hileman is Smith Center’s first state champion in four years, and seventh since 2006 under Brock Hutchinson.

The MCL has not exited a state tournament without an individual champion since 1977, the year before Norton and Smith Center joined the league. The Redmen and Bluejays have won team championships during that time as well, as have Phillipsburg, Plainville and Stockton.

This year’s tournament was free of trouble. And for once, it started and ended on time. I was very relieved to leave Gross Memorial Coliseum, but this time, I could look back and say there weren’t problems like in past years.

I spent Sunday being lazy. And there was no afternoon nap, even though my mother cooked lasagna. Usually her Italian food, while delicious, puts me to sleep. Not yesterday for some reason.

It’s now time for sub-state basketball. First up is Russell’s girls game at home vs. Norton at 6 p.m. This is the first time in 12 years Norton will play a basketball game in the Amos Morris Gymnasium. The last time, the Lady Broncos defeated the Bluejays in 2003. I’ve got a lot of friends from Norton coming down. For once, they’re making the 117-mile drive, not me.

Tomorrow I’m riding to Scott City with Russell athletic director Sean Spoonts. The game is at 6, so I should be home by 10:30, which should give me time to get some work done and be on time for my appointment in Hays Wednesday at 8 a.m. with Crista Geyer. That will be fun.

After Wednesday, it’s up in the air. Depends on who’s left as to where I go Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Wrestling’s last hurrah

The final day of the 2014-15 Kansas high school wrestling season is upon us. By 8 p.m. tonight, 56 state champions across the four divisions will be crowned, and four teams will have large new trophies to add to their collections. For most wrestlers at the smaller schools, track and field or golf is next. Some will move on to baseball at the larger schools. And some might well just not do anything until it’s time for summer conditioning for football.

Norton fell to third in the team standings at the end of the first night of the Class 3-2-1A tournament, but the Bluejays, who are going for their third consecutive title, fifth in the last six years and eighth since 2004, are only 11.5 points behind Hoisington for the top spot. The big problem for Norton is that it only has one finalist, 106-pounder Ryan Johnson, while Hoisington and Rossville have three finalists apiece.

Johnson is one of four finalists from the Mid-Continent League. The others are Ellis’ Bryce Younger (113), Smith Center’s David Hileman (126) and Phillipsburg’s Lucas Jacobs (220). Jacobs is the Panthers only wrestler in the state tournament, making Phillipsburg one of four schools with only one wrestler at the state tournament who is in a final. The others are Hoxie’s Tristan Porsch (132), Greeley County’s Caleb Austin (138) and Troy’s Tristan Speer (195). Speer will be defending his 195-pound title tonight against Oberlin’s Rex Diederich.

Russell’s bid for its first state champion since 1969 will have to wait another year. Dalton Brand lost a 6-4 heartbreaker in the 182-pound semifinal to Rossville’s Isaac Luellen. Sadly, Luellen will not have the best competition for the title bout.

Norton’s Gavin Lively was disqualified from the quarterfinals after he was called for an illegal slam against Kody Collins of Doniphan West. Collins could not continue after the injury period ended, and since Livley’s slam was determined to have caused Collins’ injury, Collins was declared the victor.

It wasn’t the first time I’ve witnessed this.

At the 1999 Louisiana Division I state tournament, Kris Louvierre from Lafayette was called for a slam in the 125-pound championship bout. Louvierre was ahead on points, but since his opponent from Brother Martin, Richard Dixon, could not continue, the Crusader was awarded the state championship. The six points Brother Martin earned (four from the win, two more for the DQ) was enough to push the Crusaders five points past Jesuit for Brother Martin’s first state championship since 1987. It would be the first of five in a row for my alma mater.

Tomorrow will be a day to catch up on paperwork before sub-state basketball starts Monday. Russell’s girls are slated to host Norton at 6 p.m., and the boys go to Scott City Tuesday at 6. This will be a hectic week, because I have an appointment Wednesday morning at 8 with Crista Geyer in Hays, and then there will be sub-state games Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Butt the March break is in sight.

Almost halfway home

We are into the semifinals at the Class 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament, which means the first day is almost over. I only have two more matches to worry about, and then I can get back to Russell after I stop for some things before leaving Hays. 

Tomorrow figures to be torture, both in the arena and on the road. It should not be a problem getting to Hays, but getting back might be impossible. I hope not, but I’m expectingt the worst. 

Just think–after tomorrow night, I don’t have to worry about this for another year. 

One round down, many to go

The first round of the 2015 Kansas State High School Activities Association Class 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament is on the books. One hundred twelve bouts were wrestled (14 weight classes, 8 bouts per weight class), and for 112 young men, their dreams of a state championship are over.

The championship quarterfinals are set for 2 p.m. The 56 winners of these matches will assure themselves of taking home a medal. The losers will have to win their first two bouts tomorrow to get onto the podium.

Norton is off to a good start in quest of its fifth state championship in the past six years. The Bluejays went 8-2 in the first round and lead the team standings with 28 points. Hoisington is second at 22.5, followed by Rossville with 19, Marion with 17 and Silver Lake with 14.

The Bluejays just received a large ovation as their eight wrestlers for the quarterfinals emerged onto the mats to warm up. We’re down to under 12 minutes to go before wrestling resumes.

113 pounders through one round

Results from the 113-pound first round at the 3-2-1A state wrestling tournament:

Austin Constable, Minneapolis d. John Kuhn, Trego 7-2

Michael Marsh, Silver Lake won by major decision over Dallas Parker, West Elk 15-5

Bryce Younger, Ellis pinned Caden Emmot, Beloit 1:07

Jarrett Johnson, Marion d. Justin Skerce, Council Grove 4-3

Bryce Gfeller, Rossville pinned Colton Byram, Jayhawk Linn 3:24

Tanner Cassity, Hoisington pinned Alex Depperschmidt, Sublette 2:55

Gavin Burgess, Fredonia d. Seth Harrell, Sabetha 5-4

Skylar Johnson, Norton pinned Oscar Jaime, Lyons :50

Little guys done

The 106-pound weight class is finished with its first round. Here are the results:

Zane Stnaton, Caney Valley pinned Zeb Turner, SE Saline 2:30

Estin Slack, Oakley d. Holden Butler, Council Grove 4-2 OT

Blayne Harris, Beloit pinned Jonathan Bownes, Jayhawk Linn :13

Zachary Tucker, Scott City won by major decision over Dylan Leckner, Wellsville 10-2

Jordan Priddy, Silver Lake d. Kel Grafel, Oberlin 4-2

Ashteen Dodson, Douglass pinned Cordon Rowley, Lyons 4:45

Ryan Johnson, Norton pinned Karl Scholz, Atchison County 1:10

Maximilian Gerlach, Marion d. Jacen Spargg, Halstead 5-3