By CONOR NICHOLL
The Pittsburg girls’ wrestling team finished a solid eighth out of 18 teams at the Blue Valley West Class 5-6A regional last weekend. The Purple Dragons qualified four wrestlers for the 5-6A state tournament that is held Feb. 22-23 at Park City’s Hartman Arena.
Olathe Northwest won the regional with 145 points. Pittsburg took eighth with 83.
Last year, Pittsburg scored just 23 points at the regional and qualified just one wrestler for state. No wrestler won 20 matches for Pittsburg girls in ’21-22.
Pittsburg was much improved this year.
At 100, freshman Juliana Tice (19-11) earned runner-up. She had a bye and picked up a fall in 27 seconds before the championship match. At 110, sophomore Isys Galindo (20-9) finished third. She went 3-1, including a tiebreaker victory in the third place match.
For 115, freshman Kya Galindo (26-8) finished second. She had a bye and two wins by fall, in 3:19 and 1:26. In the championship, Galindo lost to Olathe Northwest’s Emmy Keller, 9-8.
At 130, junior Kellissa Wells (28-11) earned fourth. She won her first and lost her second match. Then, Wells won three straight, including an 8-6 victory in the consolation semifinals that clinched her state qualification. Wells went 4-2 overall and lost both matches to Gardner-Edgerton’s Ellie Rhea.
Three other Pittsburg wrestlers did not qualify for state, though delivered at least 20 wins: freshman Alyssa Heydenrych (22-13 at 120), junior Maddie Burdick (27-7 at 145), and sophomore Shelby Payne (21-12 at 155).
Burdick was 15-11 last season. She was the only Purple Dragon to qualify for state last year when she took fourth at the regional. Payne had a plus-17 win improvement from last winter.