HHS' Sedbrook motivated for 5A regional
By KLINT SPILLER
For Hays High School senior Jake Sedbrook, his time is now.
Sedbrook has wrestled varsity since his freshman year, but for one reason or another, he's never completed a full season on that level. Partly as a result, he never has made it to the Class 5A state tournament -- a place Hays High has sent a wealth of wrestlers in recent years.
He had a good chance last season as a junior, but after losing in the Bob Kuhn Prairie Senior Classic, he broke his hand punching a locker in frustration, ending his season a month before the regional.
"Everyone was pretty upset with me," Sedbrook admitted. "It wasn't the best choice."
Sedbrook said he regrets the way he ended his junior season and wants to make up for it.
"I kind of let these guys down, and I let myself down," he said. "It's definitely motivation."
If Sedbrook, 24-10 this season, ever has had a shot of qualifying, it is this year.
Hays High's Class 5A regional tournament has just one ranked wrestlers at his 145-pound weight class, and that's Salina Central freshman Dalton Peters.
"It should be close," Sedbrook said. "I think we are all about the same skill level. It will just be up to whoever wants it more, and it'll come down to that."
Sedbrook is one of many Indians hoping to make it out of Saturday's Great Bend regional. The top four placers in each weight class qualify for the state tournament the next weekend at Park City.
Hays High has two ranked wrestlers of its own: 195-pound junior Preston Weigel, 35-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class 5A, and 170-pound senior Kyler Meyers, 32-6 and ranked No. 4.
Weigel might be the state favorite, but he'll likely get a state championship-caliber match in his regional with Newton senior Dillon Archer.
Archer, ranked No. 2 in Class 5A, is the defending state champion at 195 pounds, but Weigel, the defending state champion at 170 pounds, moved up a couple weight classes this season and already has defeated Archer by a 2-0 decision in the championship match Jan. 26 at the Rocky Welton Invitational in Garden City.
"I was told by the Newton coach that Archer is coming after us this time," said Hays High head coach John Hafliger. "I don't know whether that means he was holding back last time or what. I'm anxious to see that match coming up here."
Meyers should get a challenge from a Newton wrestler as well. Newton sophomore Jared Langley is ranked one spot above him and defeated Meyers by a 3-1 decision in the third-place match at the Rocky Welton Invitational.
Hays High junior Vincent Scott might not be ranked, but he also has a good shot of making it out of the regional.
This is Scott's first year on varsity, but he has done well, compiling a 28-8 record despite being undersized in the 285-pound weight class. However, there are two ranked wrestlers in his weight class: Valley Center senior Zac Sander (No. 2) and Newton senior Garret Lee (No. 6).
Hays High 152-pound senior Leroy Franco has qualified every year for the Indians but has never placed. This season, he battled some shoulder and neck problems and didn't wrestle again until the Feb. 7 double dual at Great Bend.
However, Franco, 18-9, did extremely well in his debut following his injuries, upsetting Liberal senior Trenton Wilson. Hafliger said it might be a sign Franco is back.
"Leroy had a mindset early in the year where he worked hard, worked hard, worked hard, and then he kind of wavered a little bit there where he got some losses and struggled a little bit," Hafliger said. "But man, in the last two weeks, he has been on a mission again. It's good to see that spark and that fire back in him going into the postseason."
The goal in the past has been for Hays High to qualify as many as possible for the state meet. The Indians changed that mindset heading into this season.
It's not just their goal to get there. They want to place at state, but to do that, it starts Saturday.
Hays High is sending 13 wrestlers to the regional, leaving 113 pounds open with freshman Ross Hattan wrestling 120 pounds, but Hafliger said it's not outside the realm of possibility to send the same amount of wrestlers they sent last season: nine.
"We are hitting our peak right when we want to be doing it," Hafliger said.