3-2-1A preview: HDN area qualifiers
Atwood-Rawlins County Buffaloes
113 — Joey McFee, fresh. (25-14); 120 — Macrae Migchelbrink, soph. (33-3).
Notes — Mighchelbrink qualified as a freshman for the Buffs. He won hiis first match last season at 103 pounds before suffering his first loss to eventual runner-up Ty Nienke of Ellsworth. Migchelbrink was bounced out of the elimination bracket by Atchison County’s Logan Bowen.
152 — Gage Younger, sr., (36-2).
Notes — Younger is the lone qualifier for the Railers this season. The last two seasons, Hunsicker and Younger were the only qualifiers, but both of them placed. In 2010, Dillon Kinderknecht was the only qualifier for the Railers and didn’t place. From 1988-2004, Ellis had at least one state placer in every year but two. Then Ellis didn’t have a state placer from 2005-08. If Younger places this season, it would mark four times in five seasons the Railers have had a state placer.
Hill City Ringnecks
120 — Gage Pfiefer, sr. (27-8).
Notes — Pfiefer is Hill City’s first represtentative at state in two years. The last Ringneck to qualify, Nahan Hanna in 2011, finished sixth for a state medal. Pfeifer finished fourth in the Norton regional and enters state with a No. 6 ranking.
138 — Weston Bainter, sr. (20-16); Calvin Ochs, sr. (39-0); Steven Yergey-Dible, sr. (33-6); Brandon Salmans, sr. (31-3); Kane Washington, sr. (20-2).
Notes — Hoxie might not have the most wrestlers at the Class 3-2-1A state tournament, but the Indian wrestlers who qualified are quality.
All five of Hoxie’s qualifiers are seniors. It might not bode well for the future, but it makes them a contender in 2013.
“We have a real strong senior bunch,” said Hoxie head coach Mike Porsch. “Most of those guys have been consistent performers since their freshmen year on for us in some form or another. It’s a neat accomplishment for us.”
Three-time state finalist Ochs (39-0) headlines Hoxie’s talented senior class, as he hopes to repeat as a state champion and complete his first perfect season. Last season, he was the state champion at 138 pounds, finishing 30-3. He was 36-5 as a sophomore and 29-10 as a freshman in his two state runner-up seasons.
Salmans (31-3), a three-time state qualifier, is ranked No. 2 at 195 pounds. He placed fifth as a junior at 182 pounds, finishing 32-6. All three of Salmans’ losses were to No. 1-ranked senior Harrison Gilliland of Plainville. However, Salmans avenged those losses at the regional when he defeated Gilliland by an 8-0 major decision in the final.
Yergey-Dible (33-6), a three-time state qualifier, is ranked No. 5 at 182 pounds, and he placed fourth as a junior at 160 pounds, going 34-9.
Washington (20-2), a three-time state qualifier, is ranked No. 6 at 220 pounds and will be aiming for his first state placing.
This will be Weston Bainter’s first trip to the state tournament. Bainter (20-16) finished fourth at the Norton regional tournament. He went 4-2 at the regional with both of his losses to Smith Center junior Steven Kriley (19-15).
Hoxie was ranked No. 4 in the most recent KWCA rankings, and the Indians, with an enrollment of 78, were the only Class 1A team to make the top 10.
“It just takes quality,” Porsch said. “You don’t have to have 30 wrestlers on the team if you maintain your quality.”
106 — Caysean Campbell, soph. (26-12); 113 — Ethan Ross, jr. (28-7); 120 — Branson Addington, jr. (26-17); 126 — Alec Hager, jr. (27-7); 132 — John Risewick, sr. (36-3); 138 — Jared Tallent, soph. (30-13); 145 — Cody Ellis, sr. (22-7); 152 — Jared Bohl, sr. (19-19); 220 — Lucas Engel, sr. (21-11).
Notes — The Bluejays have won state titles in 2004-06, ’10 and ’11 in the last decade under coach Bill Johnson. While some of those teams rolled to crowns, Norton could win another championship this winter – but it could come in much closer fashion. The Bluejays and Hoisington are considered among the favorites. Norton qualified nine to state, the most of any area team. The Bluejays finished with just two regional champions in 132-pound Risewick and 145-pound Ellis. The Bluejays had four runner-ups, one third-place finisher and two fourth-place showings at regionals.
113 — Macoy Rains, fresh. (33-10); 132 — Taylor Murphy, soph. (18-13); 160 — Cody Faulkender, sr. (25-11); 170 — Jason Berkgren, sr. (36-3); 195 — Dylan Gassman, soph. (8-2).
Notes — Berkgren is a three-time state qualifier. He, Murphy, and Faulkender all qualified for state last season, while Berkgren was the only one of the three to earn a medal. He finished fourth at 170. Berkgren comes in ranked No. 3 at his weight. Caney Valley’s Derek Bayless, who defeated Berkgren for third, is ranked fourth heading into this year’s field. Oakley finished sixth at the Norton regional.
Oberlin-Decatur Community Red Devils
113 — Troy Juenemann, soph. (30-7); 132 — Dayton Dreher, jr. (34-4); 145 — Chris Anderson, jr. (34-8); 152 — Kade Brown, sr. (26-5); 170 — Rex Diederich, soph. (27-13); 220 — Channing Fortin, sr. (31-5); 285 — Cody Wurm, sr. (24-12).
Notes — Juenemann, Brown, Dreher and Fortin were all state qualifiers a season ago. Brown, ranked No. 5 this season, was considered among the favorites last season, but suffered injury and illess that affected his state tournament and kept him out of a medal position. Dayton Dreher, the son of head coach Joe Dreher, was the Red Devils’ top finisher a season ago, placing third by defeating Norton’s Hager. Dreher enters state ranked No. 2 behind Norton’s Risewick.
Brown’s father was a back-to-back state champion in Oberlin the early 1970s. The Red Devils finished second at the stacked Norton regional, by scoring 145.5 points, nine ahead of Plainville. Coach Dreher, a Plainville graduate and former state champion, was named the Regional Coach of the Year. The Red Devils, ranked sixth as a team, have won 10 team titles, but none since Class 3-2-1A was formed. The last title came in 2-1A in 1977. They finished fifth as a team last season in Hays.
105 — Kyle Witmer, sr. (34-6); 126 — Mason Bannister, jr. (28-18); 132 — Caleb Studley, sr. (35-8); 138 — Michael Dusin, jr. (37-3).
Notes — Studley and Dusin are three-time state qualifiers for the Panthers, both earning state medals in 2012. Dusin finished sixth at 138 pounds last season, while Studley was fourth at 132. Dusin is ranked third behind last year’s 132-pound state champion, Brogan Humphrey of Fredonia, and last year’s sixth-place finisher at 321, Kasey Biddle of Burden-Central. Studley is ranked third at 132, which is top-heavy with area wrestlers in Norton’s Risewick and Oberlin’s Dreher.
145 — Trevor Desair, jr. (31-9); 160 — Dylan Wiesner, jr. (33-6); 170 — Colton Wise, sr. (30-12); 182 — Andrew Malin, sr. (25-9); 195 — Harrison Gilliland, sr. (22-1); 285 — Bradey Chard, sr. (30-1).
Notes — Plainville missed out on a couple of its top wrestlers, but the Cardinals still are sending six wrestlers to state — the third most in Northwest Kansas.
The Cardinals feature two wrestlers who are considered favorites by the KWCA to vie for state titles: seniors Gilliland and Chard.
Gilliland (22-1), a two-time qualifier, was ranked No. 1 at 195 pounds in the most recent KWCA poll, and Chard (30-1), a three-time qualifier, was No. 2 at 285 pounds.
Chard is undefeated in Class 3-2-1A since his only loss was to Hays High senior Vincent Scott on Dec. 13.
Gilliland’s only loss was to Hoxie senior Brandon Salmans (31-3), and it came at the Norton regional when he lost by an 8-0 major decision. In their previous meetings at tournaments, Gilliland won all of them, which included a pin Dec. 1, 2012, a 5-1 decision Jan. 5 and a 6-5 decision Jan. 19. Those three matches are all of Salmans’ losses.
Wiesner (33-6), a two-time state qualifier, jumped to No. 2 in the rankings after his impressive run at the Class 3-2-1A regional. He won his first two matches by pin and technical fall before upsetting Scott City junior Warren Kropp in the semifinals by a 2-0 decision. He lost to No. 1-ranked Calvin Ochs of Hoxie in the finals by a 15-6 major decision, but his 3-1 finish moved him up from No. 4 in the rankings.
Desair (31-9), ranked No. 6 at 145 pounds, leapt into the rankings after finishing third at the Norton regional tournament. It’s his first trip to the state tournament.
Senior Andrew Malin (25-9), a two-time state qualifier, was ranked No. 4 prior to the Norton regional but dropped out of the 182-pound rankings after finishing fourth. He went 2-2 with pins against unranked wrestlers, but fell to Saint Francis senior Zach Gienger (24-5), now ranked No. 5, and Smith Center senior Kyler Atwood (35-3), now ranked No. 6.
Wise (30-12) will make his first trip to state after finishing fourth at 170 pounds at the Norton regional.
Senior Trevor Axelson, a three-time qualifier and ranked No. 5 at 126 pounds prior to the regional, and freshman Gunner Kerns, ranked No. 6 at 106 prior to the regional, failed to qualify, but Plainville head coach Corey Dobson said his squad still has a shot at competing for the state title.
“Hopefully, these six that we’ve got can strap it on and pick up the gap that’s left and hopefully good things will come for us,” he said.
152 — Regis Weiss, sr. (37-5); 220 — Andrew Ocampaugh, sr. (36-7).
Notes — Last season was Russell’s first in 3-2-1A after spending several seasons in the 4A ranks, and the Broncos had four qualfiers. This season, Weiss returns to Gross Coliseum with just five losses and a regional championship from Norton on his resume. Weiss, ranked No. 2 behind Halstead’s Alex Thibault, defeated Ellis’ Gage Younger in the regional by an 8-4 decision. Russell has not had a state placer since Tyson Schmidtberger finished third in Class 4A at 135 pounds in 2010.
Smith Center Redmen
106 — Cale Rogers, fresh. (29-11); 126 — Clint Rogers, jr. (31-10); 138 — Steven Kriley, jr. (19-15); 182 — Kyler Atwood, sr. (35-3).
Notes — For the first time, two Rogers brothers will compete together at the state meet. Colt Rogers won four straight state championships. After he graduated, Clint Rogers has earned two straight state medals, a fifth-place showing last year and a fourth place finish as a freshman. Cale Rogers, a freshman, took fourth at the Norton regional at 106 pounds. Atwood, the brother of former state champion Matt Atwood, finished third last season at 182 pounds.
St. Francis Indians
182 — Zach Gienger, sr. (24-5).
Notes — Last season was Gienger’s first state qualification. He was one of four Indian qualifiers in 2012, and finished second at the Norton regional to qualify behind Hoxie’s Steven Yergey-Dible. Gienger is ranked fifth.
285 — Fritz Berger, jr. (26-12).
Notes — The lone qualifier a season ago, Berger was the first representative for Sylvan since 2006. Berger went 0-2 in the tournament after matching up with eventual undefeated state champion Luke Hayes of Scott City in the first round. Berger was third at the Norton regional after defeating Scott City’s new 285-pounder Michael McEachem.
WaKeeney-Trego Golden Eagles
145 — Brandon Schoenthaler, jr. (16-15); Cameron Staples, sr. (26-7).
Notes — WaKeeney-Trego hadn’t qualified a wrestler from its own school since 2006, but qualified two this season under Jeremy Samson, in his first year as head coach after he served as the assistant for several years. Staples was expected to make it after he fell one match short as a freshman and sophomore and missed all of last season because of an eye injury. Schoenthaler qualified in upset fashion. He won his first match in 32 seconds. Then he defeated Plainville junior Trevor Desair, the No. 1 seed, 9-8, in the second round. After a loss, Schoenthaler earned state qualification with a 6-3 victory. Desair came back to beat Schoenthaler 8-6 in the third place match.