Even 20 minutes after his match, Jacob Sisson still wasn’t quite sure exactly what happened.
The Phillipsburg High School sophomore 120-pounder thought he was down and out in his Class 3-2-1A state championship semifinal match against Beloit senior Blayne Harris.
“I was just kind of in the moment, a desperate situation, just hit the first thing that came to my head,” the Panther sophomore said.
And it worked. Sisson scored a takedown with 44 seconds left, then earned back points to capture an 8-5 decision and advance to Saturday’s state championship match at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
“I think it was just the will to compete,” Sisson said. “I just wanted to go out there and do the best I could.”
Now he’ll get a shot to face Fredonia junior Hunter Reddick, the top-ranked wrestler in the weight class.
“It’s kind of overwhelming,” the sophomore said. “Still trying to figure out what really happened.”
Sisson had suffered two losses earlier this season to the Beloit senior, but he got him when it counted.
Sisson was one of three semifinal appearances for the Panthers in a solid day as senior Josh Lenker and sophomore Aaron Lenker suffered semifinal defeats. Aaron Lenker fell to top-ranked and unbeaten Kendall Beitz of Eureka at 106 pounds, while Josh Lenker suffered a 3-2 decision at the hands of Scott City sophomore Kaden Wren.
GOOD DAY FOR PLAINVILLE — Cardinal head wrestling coach Ryan Becker knew Ryan Junkermeier might have been flying under the radar a little bit.
On Friday, the junior showed why in the 195-pound bracket. Junkermeier was one of four unranked wrestlers to make his way into Friday night’s semifinals, and was one of two Cardinals to compete in the final matches Friday night.
Junkermeier ultimately fell 12-3 to defending champion Josh Seabolt of Cimarron, but made a name for himself among the ranks.
“We just wanted to peak at the right time,” Becker said. “He’s been a real bright spot. Hopefully he can get back on the back side.”
His teammate, sophomore Jordan Finnesy, won’t have to. A year after he went 1-2 in his first state appearance, the Plainville sophomore will go for a state championship. Finnesy, ranked No. 4 at 160 pounds, defeated No. 5 ranked Zeb Speer of Doniphan West, 7-2, and will get a chance to face defending state champion Isaiah Luellen, Rossville, in Saturday’s 160-pound title match.
“We’re not just there, we’re trying to win it,” Becker said of Saturday’s match. “We’re not settling for second place. He hasn’t all season.”
Finnesy carries a 37-2 mark into Saturday’s match, while Luellen is 22-0.
Plainville senior Noah Hansen finished just short of the semifinal round at 170 pounds. Hansen had a late lead, but was taken down by Silver Lake senior Gable Howerton, the No. 2 ranked wrestler at 170. Hansen ended up falling on a reversal in overtime, ending his Friday.
SMITH CENTER DUO SHINES — The day didn’t start off so well for the Redmen, but it ended with two wrestlers making the finals. At the start of the day, standout and top-ranked Dalton Kuhn was disqualified as he didn’t make weight, along with 120-pound teammate Joe Stocker. The forfeits took Smith Center’s qualifiers from 10 to eight.
At the end of the night, though, seniors Colton Hutchinson and Avery Hawkins had their hands raised. Hutchinson (43-3), ranked No. 2 at 152 pounds, pinned Rock Hills junior Zane Colson to reach the final, where he will battle No. 1 ranked Hoisington senior Christopher Ball. Hawkins (45-1), the No. 1 ranked 285-pounder, pinned Marion senior Jarret McLinden to each the title bout, where he will face Sabetha junior Elliott Strahm.
PORSCH STILL UNBEATEN — Hoxie junior Dayton Porsch hasn’t lost a match since his freshman season, and he looked the part of the dominant wrestler Friday. Porsch pinned his way to the 145-pound title match, where he will face Riverside senior Scott Resler in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup at 145. Porsch is 34-0, and Resler 45-0. Porsch will be joined in the title round by senior teammate Chris Cox, who will make his second straight title appearance at 220 pounds after finishing second a year ago with Oakley. Cox (30-5) will face Goodland senior Luis Ledesma (40-3) for the title.
JOHNSON SUFFERS DEFEAT — Defending 120-pound state champion and senior Ryan Johnson of Norton went up against one of the best the state has to offer. In a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup at 132 pounds, Johnson suffered a 9-6 decision to Wabaunsee senior Riley Tubbs. The loss dropped Johnson to 34-4, while Tubbs moved to 44-3. It was a match Tubbs had circled all season long.
“I knew he would be one of the toughest kids I faced all year. He’s one heckuva competitor,” Tubbs said.
Johnson was one of two Bluejays in semifinal matches as senior Tevin Petrie dropped a 5-2 decision to Minneapolis junior Tyson Villalpando.
SCOTT CITY LEADS THE WAY — One of the favorites to capture a title, the Beavers had the early lead. Scott City has 80.5 points, while Hoxie sits second with 62 and Hoisington third with 57.5. Smith Center is fourth with 53.5. Five-time defending champ Norton finished Day 1 with 28 points and sits tied for 17th.