By CONOR NICHOLL
The last January weekend features several major tournaments across Kansas. That included the tradition-laden Rocky Welton in Garden City, and the Washburn Rural competition, the largest girls’ tournament in Kansas history. Plus, the Mid-Continent League competition in WaKeeney-Trego and Baldwin highlighted the weekend.
Goddard wins 64th annual Rocky Welton Invitational; Saunders now competing for Lions
The prestigious Rocky Welton tournament, named after Garden City’s late Hall of Fame coach, is on the short list for Kansas’ best competition. This year featured 32 teams from all over Kansas and Colorado.
Goddard captured the title with 217 points, while Pueblo East (Colo.) was second with 187 points. Newton, which won its own high-profile Tournament of Champions in mid-January, finished third with 166 points. Dodge City took fourth with 153 points. Garden City’s top team took sixth with 139.5 points. Great Bend was eighth with 130.5 points, Valley Center tenth and Hays High 11th.
For Goddard, Levi Glover (27-9) earned fourth at 113. Jayden Miller (28-7) took second at 120. Jacob Goodwin (25-9) earned fourth at 132.
Zachary Wessley (18-6) took second at 145. At 152, Jerrdon Fisher (28-1) captured the championship. Fisher went 5-0 in dominant fashion. He won his first two matches by fall, earned a major decision, a technical fall and a major decision.
Quentin Saunders (10-0) won at 182. He captured four wins by fall in 3:03 our less and delivered a high-profile 7-1 championship match. Saunders beat Vista Ridge’s Max Coddington, who entered 33-0. Saunders was a three-time state champion for Wichita West before he transferred to Goddard. Saunders was not eligible to compete until second semester.
The 195-pound championship was a big matchup between Kaden Glass and Olathe South’s Blake Jouret, who moved to 26-0 with a 3-1 decision. Glass is 27-4.
WAC top performers: Mendez, Barker, Meyers stay undefeated; Lopez and Weber wins; Zimmerman takes second
Dodge City’s Damian Mendez, named the top wrestler at the Newton tournament, continued his great career with a 132-pound championship. Mendez improved to 36-0. After a bye, Mendez had back-to-back technical fall victories, and then delivered a 22-12 major decision victory against Hays High’s Harley Zimmerman, a Western Athletic Conference foe. Zimmerman stands at 31-2.
His teammate, 170-pounder Luke Barker, bumped to 32-1 with a championship. Barker finished 5-0, including three wins by fall, a 5-2 decision and an 18-6 title bout versus Republic County’s Andrew Hubert. RC’s Hubert stands at 33-4.
Host Garden City received a championship from standout 285-pound Sebastian Lopez, a Division I-talent in football and wrestling. Lopez was third at state last winter. Lopez had a first-round bye, then won by fall, twice by decision and earned a 1-0 finals win versus Newton’s Rio Gomez. Gomez is 25-5.
At 220, Hays High senior Gavin Meyers continues his tremendous multi-sport career and improved to 27-0. Meyers had a bye, then won four matches in quick falls: 13 seconds, 1:16, 1:28 and two minutes. Meyers defeated a pair of out state wrestlers in his last two matches that were a combined 41-1.
For 285, Meyers’ teammate, senior Gavin Nutting, suffered his first loss this winter. Nutting is 32-1 and took third. He collected a pair of victories by fall in a combined 1:39. Then, he lost to Newton’s Rio Gomez by fall in 4:13. Nutting picked up wins by fall in 7-1 and by fall in 1:43.
Great Bend had a solid showing. Kaden Spragis came off a big championship at the Bob Kuhn Classic in Hays, took third with a 29-6 record. Spragis finished 5-1 with only a 5-1 loss to Newton’s AB Stokes.
Wyatt Weber (30-3) picked up the 138-pound championship with five wins. He was very dominant in his first three victories in 1:03, 50 seconds and 41 seconds. In the semifinals, Weber won by a 6-3 decision. In the finals, Weber defeated an out of state wrestler by fall in 2:31.
Treaster, Stokes win for Newton
For Newton, a two-time defending state champion Nick Treaster captured the 113-pound championship and moved to 25-2. After a bye, Treaster collected two wins by fall in a collective four-plus minutes. Then, he beat a pair of out of state wrestlers by 7-0 and 6-2 margins.
At 120, AB Stokes continued his impressive season after he transferred back to Newton once his dad took the head football coaching position at Bethel College. AB (12-1) had a bye, then won by fall, major decisions, followed by 5-1 and 5-0 decisions.
Colin Bybee (21-6) finished third at 138, and Clayton Kaufman (22-12) earned fourth at 145. Logan Buchanan (27-7) earned fourth at 220, and Marcel Gonzalez (13-6) took fifth at 285.
Other winners; Top wins by fall
No Kansas wrestler had more than four wins by fall. However, multiple Kansans tallied four pins. The group has Hays High’s Meyers, Great Bend’s Weber, Goddard’s Steven Hall, Republic County’s Garrett Siemsen, Newton’s Marcel Gonzalez, Goddard’s Saunders, Andale’s Cody Engelbrecht, Leoti’s Chandler Seaton, Garden City’s Brayden Hill, Liberal’s Irving Mendez and Valley Center’s Elijah Hunt
At 126, Olathe North’s Cael Alderman captured the championship with a 3-2 win. Alderman, a junior, improved to 40-6.
At 160, Valley Center’s Easton Boone earned the title. A junior, Boone improved to 27-5. He won by fall in 3:30.
Washburn girls host major tournament
Washburn Rural, the two-time defending champion, hosted a massive girls’ tournament Saturday with 32 teams. It marked the largest girls’ wrestling competition in Kansas history. This was an absolutely stacked field that featured Rural, and multiple undefeated defending state champions including Lawrence Free State’s Madyson Gray and Bonner Springs’ Olivia Stean.
Rural rolled to the title with 293 points. Burlington took second with 175.5 points, and Columbus took third with 175.
In the 5-6A team rankings, Wichita North is first, Washburn Rural second and Dodge City third.
Olathe Northwest earned fourth with 144.5, Gardner-Edgerton and Olathe North finished fifth at 143.5. Spring Hill took seventh with 108 points.
For Rural, Kristen Rezac (27-5) finished second at 101. She went 4-1 and lost to Burlington’s M.J. Huff in the final by fall in 2:49. Huff is 29-1. Huff is ranked second in 4-1A.
Rezac is ranked sixth at 101.
At 120, Addison Broxterman (32-2) took second. Blue Valley Southwest’s Hannah Glynn improved to 20-3 with a major decision win versus Broxterman. Glynn is ranked first in 5-6A, and Broxterman is ranked second.
Alexis Frederickson (32-4) finished first at 132. He went 5-0 with wins by fall in 2:57, 3:26, 1:03, 3:03 and 1:09.
At 155, standout Jaliah Johnson (31-1) finished 5-0 with all of her wins by fall. Johnson defeated Olathe Northwest’s Chloe Harris by fall in 4:13. Johnson is ranked second.
Four wrestlers had five pins: Bonner Springs’ Olivia Stean, Huff, and Rural’s duo of Johnson and Frederickson. Stean had her five wins in 4:16. The other three had a total time of 10:08 or more.
Five wrestlers scored 50 team points: Stean, Huff, Johnson, Frederickson and Olathe East’s Akaiya Tinsley. Two wrestlers had 49 points: Blue Valley Southwest’s Hannah Glynn and Olathe South’s Nicole Redmond. Free State’s Madyson Gray and Columbus junior Addison Saparito delivered 48.5 points. Redmond also won a championship at Baldwin before she wrestled at Washburn.
Saparito won at 109 and improved to 18-1. She earned a 4-0 decision against Burlington senior Eowynn Reynard. Saporito is ranked third at 109.
At 115, Olathe North freshman Kaylan Hitchcock took first, while Gardner-Edgerton senior Lilly Kepler took second. Hitchcock improved to 28-3.
138 and 170 matchup of two undefeated wrestlers
The 138-pound final featured Free State’s Gray and Hoxie senior Marissa Porsch. Gray had won back-to-back state championships and had pinned every wrestler in the last two winters. Gray beat Porsch, 4-0. Gray moved to 26-0, and Porsch is 27-1.
Porsch is ranked first in 4-1A, while Gray is first in 5-6A.
At 143, Leavenworth junior Hannah Jackson captured the championship with a 22-3 mark.
At 170, Stean continued her dominating season in a matchup of two sophomores. Stean improved to 32-0 with a win by fall in 53 seconds. Chapman sophomore Grace Johns dropped to 15-1.
At 235, Olathe West junior Makayla Rivera continued her perfect season, moved to 16-0 and won the championship by fall in 46 seconds.
Hoxie rolls in the Mid-Continent League tournament; multiple high-profile matchups
The MCL is the best 3-2-1A wrestling conference and will likely put at three teams in the top- five at state. Defending champion and overwhelming favorite Hoxie. The Indians dominated with 204 points. Phillipsburg was second with 120 points. Hill City earned third with 102.5 points.
In the 3-2-1A rankings, the MCL has five of the top-six teams: No. 1 Hoxie, No. 2 Plainville, No. 4 Norton, No. 5 Hill City and No. 6 Russell.
The big matchup came at 160 when Hoxie’s Derek Johnson defeated Hill City’s Aiden Amrein. Both competed at the Beloit tournament last week. Johnson and Amrein were both undefeated, though took a loss. In 3-2-1A, Johnson, Amrein and Uniontown’s Bryce Eck are considered the top 160-pound favorites.
In the pair’s first matchup this season, Johnson won 4-2. A two-time defending state champion, Johnson improved to 30-1. Amrein dropped to 29-2.
Also for Hoxie, Oakley’s Carter Krier beat Tate Weimer for the 113-pound final. Krier improved to 29-1, while Weimer dropped to 27-6. Krier won by a 13-5 decision.
This was a slight upset with Weimer ranked first, and Krier second.
The 120-pound bracket featured a round robin and featured three wrestlers in the top-5 in 3-2-1A: Philipsburg’s Kaden Sisson, Ellis’ Mason Younger and Wayne Shepard. Sisson was first, Younger second and Shepard third.
This will cause a reshuffle in the rankings. Shepard is ranked third, Younger fifth and Sisson, a freshman, sixth.
At 126, Carson Ochs (27-3) won the title. Ochs won all three of his matches by first-period fall. He is ranked first.
At 132, Norton’s Kolton Field beat Hoxie’s Dayton Bell in the championship. Field is a two-time state champion. Field improved to 27-2, and Bell is 26-7. Field is ranked first, and Bell third.
At 138, Drew Bell (29-0) continued his undefeated season, including a 5-0 win versus Smith Center’s Bentley Montgomery in the final. He is ranked first, and Montgomery fourth.
At 152, Drew Bretz (30-2) took first with three victories, two by technical fall and a first-period fall. He is ranked first.
Sam Watkins picked up the 170-pound championship and improved to 30-3. Watkins had two victories by fall and delivered a 6-4 decision. A freshman, Watkins is ranked first.
Gavin Schippers (26-8) delivered the 285-pound championship. Schippers went 4-0 with two wins by fall, a 5-2 decision and a sudden victory win versus Norton freshman Corbin Puga. Schippers is ranked third, and Puga fifth.
Hoxie had the top-four point-getters: Drew Bretz delivered 25, followed by 24 from Carson Ochs, Sam Watkins and Gavin Schippers.
Three boys and two girl wrestlers led with three pins: Smith Center’s Jason Desbien, Hoxie’s Carson Ochs, Phillipsburg’s Hunter Sisson, and on the girls’ side: Ellianna Velardes and Plainville’s Caxton Smyth.
At 106, Phillipsburg’s Theo Keesee won the title in a round robin format.
Another key bracket came at 182. Plainville’s Ben Hansen beat Ellis’ Mason Gottschalk, 4-0. Hansen, a senior, improved to 19-1. Gottschalk, a senior, stands at 18-3. All four MCL wrestlers in the 182-pound weight class had won 76 percent of its matches this winter.
Hansen is ranked second in 3-2-1A.
At 195, Russell senior Tyler Moresco improved to 17-1 with a championship by fall in 1:57. Plainville junior Kyle Werner took third and stands at 25-4. Moresco is ranked first, and Werner third.
At 220, Phillipsburg senior Brock Buresh collected a championship win by sudden victory and moved to 20-5.
On the girls’ side, Oakley’s Citori Bosserman, a defending state champion, improved to 22-3 and won the 109-pound girls’ title. Stockton freshman Ashlyn Hahn won at 115 and moved to 25-4.
Russell freshman Tionna Napue improved to 31-1 and won at 120. Russell freshman Jaden Ney move to 24-3 with a 132-pound title.
Hoxie’s Marissa Porsch improved to 26-0 at 138. At 143, Ellis’ Kaydawn Haag is 21-4.
Around the state
In the 21st annual Baldwin tournament, Buhler’s Sam Elliott earned Most Outstanding Wrestler. Elliott is a two-time state wrestling champion, Top 11 pick in football and Buhler’s all-time leading rusher. Tonganoxie’s Grayson Sonntag (No. 1 4A 138) had the most falls in the least time. Tonganoxie rolled to the team title.
On the girls’ side, Rossville’s Kendra Hurla was the most outstanding wrestler. Baldwin’s Madi Hargett (235) had the most falls in the least time. Several girls’ teams competed at both Baldwin and Washburn Rural. Baldwin won the girls’ title with 172 points, 32 more than Holton. Baldwin is the defending 4-1A state champion.
Great Bend’s Bre Ridgeway has 105 career falls. Ridgeway is a defending state champion.
Paola girls won the title at its own tournament.
Lakin’s Isabel Ortiz and Pratt’s Livia Swift both reached 100 career wins. Ortiz won state last year, and Swift is a two-time defending state champion.