Colby, Goodland make long trip to Abilene today
By NICK McQUEEN
The Class 4A high school regional wrestling tournament in Abilene today and Saturday covers approximately 350 miles of northwest and North Central Kansas.
Teams like Colby and Goodland, both area teams competing, haven't had too many opportunities to see many of the teams competing, but it hasn't shaken the confidence of a Colby squad looking to earn another state trophy this season.
Colby, ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, is the only ranked team competing in the regional. The top four individuals in each weight class advance to next week's state championships at the Salina Bicentennial Center.
"It's going to be a good two days of wrestling," said Colby seventh-year coach Matt Sims. "We have to believe in oursevles. We have a tough squad, and we're just going go out and put our best effort on the mat.
"... Get as many guys through to the state tournament as we can."
Colby, which was a narrow runner-up at the state tournament a season ago, boasts six ranked wrestlers, including two-time state champion Dustin Reed. The senior is 40-0 and ranked No. 1 at 126 pounds. He was second in state as a freshman and won the last two seasons.
The Eagles were ranked No. 1 most of the season by the KWCA, but dropped to No. 2 in the final rankings before the regional.
"Being the No. 1 team has been kind of fun," said Reed. "Last year, we fell just short of the state title. For me being a two-time champion, never winning that team title kind of sucks."
Junior David Mainus (30-3) is ranked No. 3 at 106 pounds, senior Macen Shull (31-9) No. 4 at 138 pounds, junior Andrew Taylor (32-4) No. 5 at 170, senior Beau Brown (26-9) No. 4 at 182, and senior Zell Bieberle (31-5) No. 2 at 285.
"It's a tough (regional)," Sims said. "It's hard to put a guage on this one, because it's a long drive to Abilene. Six hours probably separate the entire region.
"Hard to put a guage on it when you don't see a lot of these guys -- in some cases."
The regional includes host Abilene, Chapman, Clay Center, Colby, Concordia, Goodland, Holton, Hoyt-Royal Valley, Larned, Lindsbory-Smoky Valley, McPherson, St. George-Rock Creek, Topeka-Hayden, Topeka-Highland Park and Wamego.
"There are some tough teams, but if everyone shows up to wrestle and we wrestle like we should, we should qualify a good number of kids," Reed said.
Goodland up to 4A
After several seasons in Class 3-2-1A, the Cowboys made the jump back up to 4A for this season. Junior Tyler Gastineau has been ranked No. 1 at 195 pounds most of the season. He enters the tourney with a 29-6 record. Junior Colton Cooper is 27-13 at 182 pounds, and is ranked No. 5. The Cowboys have just one senior, Josh Whisnant, who is 24-14 at 160 pounds. Goodland takes four freshmen, two sophomores and five juniors.