By CONOR NICHOLL
Devastating loss for Chanute community
Chanute senior Nathan Cunningham unexpectedly passed away. Cunningham was the No. 1-ranked wrestler in Class 4A at 285 pounds. He was also a standout lineman for the Blue Comets. Chanute is ranked first in 4A wrestling. Last year, Cunningham went 19-10 and finished third at 285 pounds in the 4A state meet. Cunningham helped Chanute to an 8-2 record this fall.
“Nate is the type of kid that you want your kid to be like for the fact that he’s not a judgmental kid. He’s goal oriented, makes people laugh, he’s well rounded. He was a member of the band all four years, all-conference in football, to an an all-state wrestler that was ranked #1 in the state. Intelligent kid with a huge heart that he got from his dad. He was a good teammate and really supported the young kids on the team and the coaches. The thing that I would say to everyone with Nate’s success is that he kept showing up. He developed himself into being a heck of a football player and a great wrestler. He’s the highest placed heavyweight we’ve had since the late 80s. He was a great kid and having a great season. He will be missed forever, its really tough. It breaks my heart for his friends.” Chanute head wrestling coach Andy Albright.
Hoxie boys win the 4th annual Dodge City Invitational
In a 14-team Dodge City Invitational, Hoxie beat a bevy of 5/6A schools. Hoxie, which rolled to the 3-2-1A state championship last winter, won with 169.5 points. Hoxie is ranked first in the classification this season. Manhattan was second with 131.5. Garden City was third at 130.5, and Dodge City fourth with 127. All three teams are 6A.
Manhattan is ranked eighth, Garden City is fifth, and Dodge City stands second in 6A.
Goddard, the seven-time state champions, finished fifth with 123.5 points. Emporia took sixth with 117.5 points. Great Bend was seventh with 102.5. All those squads are at least 5A squads.
Goddard is ranked third in 5A, and Great Bend is tenth in 5A.
In the Dec. 28 All Class rankings, 5A Maize is first, Goddard is second, Hoxie third, Washburn Rural fourth and Andale fifth. Maize won the Derby Invitational.
Hoxie had a bevy of dominant performances, including junior Derek Johnson, a two-time defending state champion who reached 100 career victories. At 113, Tate Weimer (19-4) finished fourth. Weimer is ranked first at 113.
At 120, junior Wayne Shepard (15-6) took fifth. At 126, sophomore Carson Ochs took his first loss of the season with a 6-4 championship bracket loss to Garden City’s Ryan Heiman. In the third place match, Ochs beat Dodge City’s Frio Vontress, 3-0. Ochs stands at 20-1.
Shepard is ranked third at 120, and Ochs is first at 126.
At 132, Dayton Bell (18-4) finished third with only a loss to an out-of-state wrestler. Bell is ranked second at 132. Then, Hoxie’s Drew Bell, a defending state title, improved to 21-0 and won at 138. Bell won by fall in 30 seconds, 20 seconds and a technical fall. In the final, he defeated Manhattan’s Easton Taylor, 8-5. Bell is ranked first at 138 in 3-2-1A, and Taylor is ranked first in 6A.
In the all-class rankings, Taylor is ranked second, Great Bend senior Wyatt Weber is third and Bell fifth.
At 145, Duncan Bell (18-5) took ninth. At 152, Drew Bretz (20-1) earned tournament runner-up and had his first loss. In the finals, Pratt’s Keishaune Thompson beat Bretz, 5-3, and improved to 14-1. Bretz is ranked first in 3-2-1A at 152. Thompson is ranked sixth at 152.
Johnson (22-0) rolled with wins by fall, fall, a major decision, a fall and a win by fall in 3:36 versus Dodge City’s Josh Gonzales. Johnson stands first at 160.
At 170, Sam Watkins (20-2) took second. In the finals, Dodge City standout Luke Barker beat Watkins, 19-12, and improved to 20-1. Barker is ranked first at 170 in 6A.
At 195, Donovan Balluch (16-7) and 285-pounder Gavin Schippers (16-5) each took third. Balluch is ranked sixth at 195.
Goddard has big performance from Kaden Glass; without several of its wrestlers
Kaden Glass led the tournament with five pins in a total time of 3 minutes, 42 seconds. He finished 5-0 and improved to 14-2. Glass won his five matches by fall in 1:06, 31 seconds, 27 seconds, 37 seconds and 1:01. Glass is ranked first at 195 in 5A. In the all-class rankings, Glass is ranked second at 195.
At 113, Levi Glover (12-5) took third. Glover is ranked second at 113. Jayden Miller (14-4) won the 120-pound title. Miller finished 5-0, won three matches by fall, earned a major decision victory and beat Great Bend’s Avery Wolf, 9-7, in the championship. Miller is ranked fourth at 120, and Wolf is fifth at 120.
At 145, Zachary Wessley (10-4) finished second. In the finals, Emporia’s Xerarch Tungjaroenkul beat Wessley, 4-2. Tungjaroenkul is ranked first at 5A at 145, and Wessley is third in 5A.
Other top wrestlers
At 106, Junction City’s Ezekiel Witt earned the title with a 12-7 win versus Valley Center’s Jett Schwartz. Witt is ranked first at 6A.
In the 126 final, Garden City’s Ryan Heiman beat Emporia’s Lukas Hainline for the championship. Heiman, a junior, won 6-0 and improved to 13-2.
At 132, Dodge City’s Damian Mendez captured the title against an out-of-state foe in the final. Mendez improved to 22-0 and stands first in 6A.
At 220, Garden City’s Brayden Hill, a standout freshman, improved to 19-5 with a win by fall in 5 minutes, 5 seconds. At 285, Pratt finished 1-2 with Jesus Ornelas and Drake Van Scoyoc. Hoxie’s Gavin Schippers finished third. All three wrestlers went 1-1 against each other. Schippers, a sophomore, improved to 16-5 with a 5-2 win versus Pratt’s Jesus Ornelas. That marked Ornelas’ first loss, which dropped him to 9-1.
Van Scoyoc beat Schippers by sudden victory. Van Scoyoc, a junior, bumped to 17-2. Then, Ornelas defeated Van Scoyoc by fall in 1:07. Van Scoyoc is ranked third in 4A at 285.
Great Bend’s 120-pounder Avery Wolf took second and improved to 15-2. At 138, Wyatt Weber (14-2) finished third with only a loss to Easton Taylor. At 182, Matthew Johnson (12-5) took second with only an out-of-state loss. Johnson finished 3-1 with a pair of first period falls and a 1-0 decision. At 220, Keyven Schroeder (10-2) finished third with just an out-of-state loss.
Tournament runner-up Manhattan had several top finishers. Logan Logerman (13-11) took third at 120. At 145, Blaisen Bammes (22-3) finished third. At 152, Tucker Brunner (14-11) and 160-pound Isaac Sinks (17-8) each finished fourth.
At 195, Jaxon Vikander (17-7) took second, along with Talique Houston (20-4) at 220.
Host Norton girls win the J.R. Durham Invitational; Russell’s two-sport athlete Tionna Napue with dominant season
The J.R. Durham often has multiple out-of-state schools. The top-two boys’ squads were Nebraska schools. Scott City finished third with 138 points. Norton was fifth with 67.5 points, second-best among Kansas teams. For the girls, the top-nine teams were all Kansas squads, Norton finished first with 62 points, Colby is second with 46, Russell third with 45, and Ellis fourth at 42.
Scott City boys are ranked ninth in 4A.
For Scott City, 106-pounder Waylon Ricker (13-2) finished second. Ayden Presson (13-6) took third at 120. At 126, Collin McDaniel (18-0) earned the championship. McDaniel finished 3-0 and won by fall in 2:30, 1:34 and 1:06. He is ranked second in 4A at 126 pounds.
At 145, Zach Rohrbough (16-0) took first. He went 4-0 with falls in 35 seconds and 41 seconds. Rohrbough is ranked third at 145. Then, he won by 5-2 and 10-0 margins. At 182, Kale Wheeler (19-1) took first. He dominated with wins by fall in 31 seconds, 1:03, 39 seconds and a 13-7 victory.
Wheeler is ranked fifth at 182 in 4A.
Two-time defending champion Kolton Field of Norton improved to 15-0. He won all three of his matches by technical fall. Other champions included Oakley’s Carter Krier at 113. Krier, a freshman, included to 19-0. Field is first at 132, and Krier second at 113.
At 138, Smith Center’s Bentley Montgomery (8-0) beat Oberlin sophomore Lukas Zodrow in the final. Montgomery is ranked sixth at 138.
On the girls’ side for Norton, Natalie Simmons (8-4) finished third at 109. Sabrina Todd (11-2) took second at 115. At 191, Kenya Goss (7-0) won a championship. Goss had four wins by fall with 3:46 or less.
Goss and Russell’s Tionna Napue tied for girls’ lead with four wins by fall. Oakley’s Citori Bosserman, a defending state champion, had three pins in a collective 2:13.
None of the Norton wrestlers, Napue or Bosserman are ranked.
Scott City’s Kate Wheeler, Colby’s Tessa Hill, Phillipsburg’s Isabella Keesee and Scott City’s Ashlyn Pazdernik were among those with three wins by fall.
Both Russell girls won title. At 126/132, Jaden Ney (13-3) won the championship. She won by fall in 1:34, a 12-2 major decision and a fall in 1:43.
Napue, who is also playing basketball, is 16-0. She went 4-0 and won her matches by fall in 18 seconds, 3:58, 1:50 and 4:23.
For Ellis, Kaydawn Haag, a defending state runner-up, won at 138/143, and moved to 14-3. She won by major decision, along with wins by fall in 1:24 and 24 seconds. Haag is ranked fourth at 138.
Maize wins at Derby; four wrestlers with four wins by fall
In the 37th annual Derby Invitational, Maize won with 163.5 points, slightly ahead of St. Thomas Aquinas at 149.5. Washburn Rural took third at 130. For Maize, Keton Patterson (24-3) was first at 132. At 145, 152, and 160, Camden Padgett, Cody Hughbanks and Jayden Ford all finished second and improved to 19-6, 13-6 and 18-6 records, respectively.
Patterson is ranked third at 132. Padgett is ranked second at 145. Ford is ranked fourth at 160.
At 170, Connor Padgett (21-3) and Ayden Flores (11-2 at 182) both won titles. At 195, Ronan Wunsch (21-5) took second at 195. Padgett, a junior, is ranked first at 170. Flores is ranked first at 182. Wunsch is ranked sixth at 195.
Four wrestlers had four wins by fall. Lawrence Free State’s Tai Newhouse, a Tulsa football commit, had four pins in a collective 2:40. Washburn Rural’s Easton Broxterman had a combined 4:48. Winfield’s Kody Breen, and De Soto’s Chayce Chadwick had four wins in a combined 11:18 and 12:06.