There is no shortage of tournament experience for Jordan Finnesy.
Just a freshman for the Plainville High School wrestling team, Finnesy has been wrestling for as long as he can remember — and he’s had a great deal of success.
As a member of the Cardinals’ high school program under coach Corey Dobson, though, Finnesy will enter the biggest tournament of his young career. He’ll do so with the intent of extending his first prep season one more week.
If that happens, he’ll come out of arguably the toughest weight class (145 pounds) in what has become known as one of the toughest Class 3-2-1A regional wrestling tournaments.
This year’s version of the two-day event gets started Friday in WaKeeney, hosted by Trego Community High School. The top four in each weight class advance to the 3-2-1A state finale next week at Fort Hays State University’s Gross Memorial Coliseum.
“It’s pretty exciting, but it’s just like any other tournament,” said Finnesy, who takes a No. 5 state ranking into the regional, but is one of four ranked wrestlers who will compete in the field, possibly leaving little room for error for the state hopefuls.
“Always expect to finish high in tournament. If it doesn’t happen, it doesn’t happen, but you’ve got to go in with confidence in yourself,” Finnesy said.
The Cardinal freshman has used that mantra to compile a 27-9 record in his first year, climbing in and out of the rankings at 145 on different occasions through the season.
“He’s had a lot of success going through kids wrestling, he’s just a tremendous kid,” said Plainville coach Corey Dobson. “He’s just a great kid who really works hard all the time. I knew he had (this season) in him.”
Finnesy will be part of a bracket this weekend that features No. 1 ranked senior Tristan Porsch, Hoxie, No. 4 ranked Colton Hutchinson, a junior from Smith Center, and No. 6 ranked Cole Sramek, a senior from Atwood-Rawlins County.
In all at WaKeeney, there are 34 ranked wrestlers, plus three of the top five ranked teams in 3-2-1A: No. 1 Norton, the four-time defending 3-2-1A state champion, No. 4 Smith Center and No. 5 Hoxie. The 145-pound class is the only bracket, however, to feature four ranked wrestlers, while six others feature three ranked guys.
“I just have to really wrestle my match every match, and do what I do best — be aggressive on my feet,” said Finnesy, who added a loss to No. 4 ranked Hutchinson might have been his best match this season, one he’d like to get back from the Smith Center junior if given the chance this weekend. The two went into a tiebreaker, won 10-7 by Hutchinson at the Western Kansas TOC in Ellis. It also sealed the MCL title for Hutchinson.
“He doesn’t have any upsets or anything on his record,” Dobson said of Finnesy. “All of his matches are to darn tough kids. Just the way it goes with rankings.”
The freshman has worked alongside Plainville junior Noah Hansen, a returning state qualifier ranked No. 5 at 152 pounds, a bracket that looks to include Norton’s No. 2 ranked senior Trenton Wright and Russell’s No. 3 ranked senior Austin Dale.
“The weight classes I feel we are the toughest at, it seems like the regional is toughest at,” Dobson said. “I also tell the kids that you are the reason why that weight class is tough. Hopefully that’s a good mindset they can take with in there.”
Hoxie, ranked No. 5 in 3-2-1A and has been higher this season, heads into the regional with just one senior in Tristan Porsch. Porsch was a state champion as a freshman and sophomore, then was defeated in the title match a year ago. Porsch hasn’t wrestled much this winter after having surgery this summer, but came back for the Beloit tournament Jan. 20, and wrestled in the Phillipsburg tournament Feb. 4.
“We’ve got a young team,” Indian head coach Mike Porsch said. “The freshmen and sophomores have been wrestling pretty tough. We’ll see what we can get done.”
Despite not competing a full season, Tristan Porsch is ranked No. 1, as is his younger brother, Dayton, the 132-pound sophomore. Also for Hoxie, sophomore Taye Washington is ranked No. 2 at 285 pounds. Washington was ranked No. 1 up until the Phillipsburg tournament when Norton junior Collyn Auker knocked him off, won the tourney, and jumped into the top spot.
“Three of those guys are ranked (at 285),” Coach Porsch said, adding that Smith Center junior Avery Hawkins could make a fourth. “Probably should be four.”
Norton enters the regional as the team favorite. The defending champs, though the Bluejays haven’t been ranked No. 1 the entire season, have three guys ranked No. 1 in their weight class with junior Ryan Johnson at 120, senior Jacob Green at 220 and Auker. The Bluejays have an additional four ranked guys entering the regional.
While Green owns the top ranking at 220, it didn’t come until his victory over No. 2 ranked Chris Cox, Oakley. Cox had defeated Green just a week prior on a pin in an OT decision that went into the eighth minute. Cox and Green each have one loss — to each other. Smith Center junior Dalton Kuhn is ranked No. 3 in the class. He is one of five ranked guys for the No. 4 Redmen. Senior David Hileman, ranked No. 1 at 138, looks to be a favorite at that weight, along with No. 6 ranked senior Tucker Rhoades, TMP-Marian.
Ellis High School features junior Bryce Younger, the two-time 3-2-1A runner-up, who is ranked No. 3 at 126, and senior Dalton Hensley, ranked No. 5 at 160, a weight class that also features No. 2 ranked senior Kelton Suchy, Russell, and No. 6 ranked Auston Holzmeister, Oakley.
Phillipsburg will enter the regional with three ranked wrestlers. The brother duo of senior Mark Coomes (ranked No. 5 at 170) and junior Kirk Coomes (No. 3 at 195) look to get to state. The Panthers’ lone returning state qualifier is junior Josh Lenker, ranked No. 5 at 132 pounds.
“This regional I feel it’s the toughest in the state. We’re going to have to be ready to go,” Dobson said.