By CONOR NICHOLL
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY BETHANY BOWMAN
1.Depth continues to win girls’ state titles; Chanute delivers 16 pins en route to title
It’s highly rare for a boys’ wrestling team title to come from a school that doesn’t capture an individual championship. Last season, Hoxie, Goddard and Washburn Rural won team crowns with at least two champions and at least one more in a final. Tonganoxie had one titlist, though had seven top-threes.
However, one of the major trends with girls’ wrestling is that depth wins team championships.
This season, Chanute won its first-ever girls’ state wrestling title, and Washburn Rural picked up its third. Class 4-1A was expected to be a narrow team race. Chanute pulled away with a huge run in the backside placing matches. The Blue Comets finished with 88 points. Rossville was second at 73, Baldwin with 70. Santa Fe Trail and defending champion Pratt tied for fourth at 66.
Entering the tournament, Chanute girls coach Nick Nothern told the Blue Comets they could challenge for a top-three placing and team trophy. Chanute was top-3 after the first day. After that, Nothern saw his girls fully believe.
“Hey we can actually do this,” Nothern told SIK.
Entering the placing matches, Baldwin had 65 points, one ahead of Chanute and four in front of Columbus. Chanute won a regional title with a slight edge over Columbus. Chanute was ranked fourth in 4-1A entering state.
“Wrestled really well,” Nothern said.
Chanute had five ranked wrestlers: junior Kadynce Axelson (120), junior Reese Clements (125), senior Grace Thompson (130), senior Brinly Bancroft (155) and freshman Kylie Dillow (170). All won at least two matches.
Axelson took fifth, Clements was third, Bancroft took second and Dillow third at 170. Axelson locked up the title after the fifth/sixth place match. This is the fifth year of Chanute girls’ wrestling. Nothern credited the support of the families and community. Chanute
“Really, really proud of the girls,” Nothern said.
Chanute’s quintet was a combined 17-7. The Blue Comets had a remarkable 15 pins. No other team had more than nine. Last year, Pratt’s dominant state championship team had 12 pins. Two years ago, Baldwin recorded seven en route to a title in the first year of 4-1A.
“Bonus points is what won us the tournament,” Nothern said.
At 170, Dillow pulled a slight upset with a win by fall against Tonganoxie’s Grace Stean in the consolation semifinal. Chanute was ninth last season. Axelson was sixth and Clements fourth. Bancroft went 2-2 at state. Chanute had nine pins at state in ’22 before the major climb this winter.
2.Washburn Rural’s waves of depth leads to title
As well, Washburn Rural captured the girls’ title in 5-6A with 153 points, 12 ahead of Garden City. Dodge City, the defending champion, was third with 109.
WR coach Damon Parker is known for the great depth and culture and being a spearhead for the sport. Garden City’s Carlos Prieto and Dodge City’s Tate Lowe have similar acclaim. The trio has done a great job of building complete rosters when the sport was sanctioned and accumulating depth through high school and the younger ranks.
Since KSHSAA sanctioned girls’ wrestling, the Junior Blues are first, first, second and first at state. Rural had 10 wrestlers. All won at least two matches. Nine placed. None made a final.
However, Rural delivered a field-best 26 pins, five more than Garden City and 10 ahead of Dodge City.
For Washburn Rural, Molly Spader took fifth at 100, Kristen Rezac was third at 105, Annie Gallegos took fourth at 120, Addi Broxterman finished third at 125, Laiken Clark was fifth at 130, Alexis Frederickson took sixth at 135, Madison Davison finished fourth at 145, Ashley Schwarz was fourth at 155, and Sophia Ross was fifth at 235.
Dodge City had no state champions, though seven state placers on its 2022 state title team. This winter, DC had a second from Jessica Rivera, fourth by Ashley Alonso, fifth from Yareli Garcia, third by Ashley Arroyo and fourth by Jolette Almaraz.
Garden City had one state title in an upset-filled bracket at 125 when Maya Tarbet won. The Buffs enjoyed a fourth place from Anahi Cervantes, Alyxia Serrano took sixth, Julissa Rodriguez finished as the 120-pound runner-up, Belle Hernandez earned third, Bethanie Cruz was fourth and Angel Serrano finished sixth.
3.Why do state titles come from so many schools?
This is partially because Team Kansas – which has the elite wrestlers from each class – generally has no more than one from any school.
Last summer, at the Junior National Duals, Team Kansas featured: Goodard’s Ashlynn Goodwin, Oskaloosa’s Allison King, Minneapolis’ Grace Johns, Olathe West’s Makayla Rivera, Derby’s Amara Ehsa, Hays High’s Sarah Zimmerman and Mulvane’s Leinnah Landreth.
On Thursday, Goodwin (41-1) won a 5-6A title at 150. Rivera (32-2) was state runner-up at 190 in 5-6A. Ehsa collected her second straight state title. King went 31-1 for her second consecutive 4-1A crown at 155. Johns (36-2) won at 170 in 4-1A.
Zimmerman went 31-1 and earned the 110-pound championship in 5-6A. Landreth took a 1-0 loss to eventual 115-pound champion Josiah Ortiz in the semifinals and finished third.
As well, defending/former state champions went a combined 52-2 in Day 1. In 4-1A, eight of the nine wrestlers who had won a state crown at some point in their careers captured a championship Thursday.
Ortiz, Rossville’s 120-pounder Kendra Hurla (three-time champion), Clay Center 125-pound sophomore Gabi Koppes (undefeated in high school), Mulvane’s 145-pounder Kammie Schanz (two undefeated seasons) all won another title.
Additionally, Oskaloosa’s Holly Thacher (105) and King (155), Buhler’s Emilie Schweizer (191) and Scott City’s MacKayla Miller (235) all defended titles.
Two wrestlers won state titles after transferring. Winfield junior Sheena Gocela went 33-0 at 100 after she was a former state runner-up at Hoisington. Johns was a former state runner-up at Chapman before she moved to Minneapolis.
Class 5-6A had similar dominance with defending/returning state champions.
Olathe South junior Nicole Redmond finished 48-1 at 130 and won her third straight state title. Goodwin captured another crown. Manhattan sophomore Sage Rosario capped her second straight undefeated season. Bonner Springs junior Olivia Stean dominated with her third straight title and improved to 105-3 in her career. Leavenworth’s Hannah Jackson won at 235.
4.State records and superlatives
Olathe North 120-pound sophomore Kaylan Hitchcock, a state runner-up as a freshman, won her first state title. She set the Kansas girls’ record for single season wins with a 51-1 mark. She defeated Garden City freshman Julissa Rodriguez with an 8-0 championship victory.
At 170, Stean went 39-0. She won her four matches by fall in 47 seconds, 22 seconds, 1:21 and 1:33. In the last two state tournaments, Stean is 8-0 with no match going longer than 93 seconds.
Washburn Rural’s Addi Broxterman (125) and Pratt’s Jadyn Thompson completed historic careers and were truly trailblazers for the sport. Both finished third. Broxterman went 45-4. Thompson took 37-2 at 130. The duo each collected 140 career victories, which is the all-time record.
Thompson finished fifth, third, second and third in four years at state. Broxterman was second, second and third the last three seasons.
Each won at least one team title and had at least one team runner-up.
The Next Level Training Academy is located in Hoxie and has enjoyed great success on the boys’ side. NLTA, which includes athletes from a wide geographical swath, has done well training the girls, too. The girls featured five placers: Colby’s Amanda Jaeger (first), Russell’s Jaden Ney (second), Oakley’s Citori Bosserman (third), Plainville’s Caxton Smyth (fifth) and Quinter’s Cali Wagoner (fifth).
The following wrestlers finished undefeated:
Manhattan sophomore Sage Rosario: 35-0 at 155…44-0 in Kansas career
Bonner Springs junior Olivia Stean: 39-0 at 170…105-3 in Kansas career
Wichita West’s Dru Johnson: 24-0 at 190…68-2 in Kansas career
Leavenworth’s Hannah Jackson: 38-0 at 235…114-12 in career
Winfield’s Sheena Gocela: 33-0 at 100
Clay Center’s Gabi Koppes: 32-0 at 125..62-0 in Kansas career
Mulvane’s Kammie Schanz: 41-0 at 145…123-8 in career
Buhler’s Emilie Schweizer: 32-0 at 191…63-3 in career
Scott City’s MacKayla Miller: 30-0 at 235…53-1 last two seasons