Following his victory, he ran down a pretty long list.
It was almost as if Hoxie High School senior Chris Cox were accepting an academy award and wanted to make sure and not leave anyone out.
After winning the 220-pound state championship at the Class 3-2-1A tournament Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum, the transfer from Oakley High School wanted to make sure and show his gratitude.
“This one is not only for the Hoxie coaches, but for the ones at Oakley too,” the senior said after securing his first state title. He was second last year with the Plainsmen. “Without Dylan Campbell, Levi Younkin, Aaron Racette, I would have never stepped on the podium as a freshman.”
He then went on to talk about his teammates and coaches at Hoxie, showing praise before talking about his 8-6 decision against Goodland senior Luis Ledesma, a really good friend.
“I’m kind of sad actually,” Cox said. “ ‘Lou’ and I have been friends since we were probably 10 years old and wrestle each other all the time.”
Ledesma beat Cox at last week’s Goodland regional, then each worked their way through a tough 220-pound bracket Friday and Saturday. When Ledesma won 7-2 on Friday, Cox knew what was coming after he knocked off St. Francis senior Trayton Doyle in his semifinal match.
“I was hoping I wouldn’t have to see (Ledesma) in the finals because I would really like to see him win one as well,” Cox said. “You talk about a guy that has had many opportunities (and came up short), but just tries his best every time.”
Cox said he just let Ledesma keep shooting after he got the lead. Only a couple wrestlers, he said, have been able to take him down on consecutive tries. One of them was the guy who beat him last year for the 220-pound title, Norton’s Jacob Green.
“I was thinking ‘let him take shots,’ ” Cox said of Ledesma.
Afterward, the two posed for pictures with family and friends, and even set up a posed wrestling stance for a photo opp.
Later, junior Hoxie teammate Dayton Porsch maintained his stranglehold on 3-2-1A with his dominating title at 145 pounds, his third 3-2-1A crown. Porsch pinned previously unbeaten Scott Resler of Wathena-Riverside in 3 minutes, 6 seconds. The title means Porsch (35-0) will have a chance next season to join an elite group of wrestlers with four Kansas state championships.
Hoxie ended up third in the team standings, scoring 88.5 points, just 10 back of team champion Scott City. The Beavers had the title wrapped up before their three title matches. Scott City ended Norton’s streak of five straight 3-2-1A crowns and remains one of only two teams that isn’t Norton to win the 3-2-1A crown since 2004.
SISSON SHOCKS THE BUILDING — An ultimate tiebreaker resulted in the ultimate prize for Phillipsburg sophomore Jacob Sisson. It also gave the Panther 120-pounder a taste of the good life. Sisson picked up a 3-2 victory over top-ranked junior Hunter Reddick of Fredonia and claimed Phillipsburg’s first state championship since Eric Witmer won 106 pounds in 2013.
It might have come as a surprise to many fans, but not to Sisson’s coach, Andy Kenney.
“The last three weeks, Jake’s really fine-tuned everything and put himself in contention,” Kenney said. “He’s a smart, hard-nosed wrestler, I knew he had it in him.”
Sisson was part of a solid weekend for the Panthers that saw all three of their qualifiers reach the semifinals. Senior Josh Lenker fell 3-2 to Scott City’s Kaden Wren on Friday, then ended up in fourth place Saturday after a loss to Norton’s Ryan Johnson. Younger brother Aaron Lenker, a sophomore, finished fourth at 106 pounds, suffering a 9-2 defeat to Colby’s Rathe Aschenbrenner.
“The boys came out really goal-oriented this year,” Kenney said. “(Josh) wanted to finish on the podium, He would have loved to be in the finals, but just didn’t work out that way.
“They wrestled their hearts out.”
Wanna see an excited @Phillipsburg_HS state champ? pic.twitter.com/htztAkI8O3— Nick McQueen (@HDNmcqueen) February 24, 2018
FINNESY WANTS TO GET BACK — If anything, a second-place finish just made Plainville sophomore 160-pounder Jordan Finnesy that much more hungry. He didn’t think he was too far off of taking a state championship this time either, despite the final score. A year after going 1-2 in his first trip, Finnesy claimed the silver medal with a 12-4 loss to defending state champion Isaiah Luellen of Rossville. The loss capped Finnesy’s season at 37-3.
“If he’s better, it’s not by that much,” Finnesy said of the 12-4 score. “He’s tough, real tough and fast. I would have liked to do a little better than I did, but I’ll be back next year.”
Finnesy entered the field ranked No. 4 in the class, and after No. 3 ranked Josh Ball was defeated in the quarterfinals, Finnesy defeated Doniphan West’s Zeb Speer to make the finals. Luellen, the No. 1 ranked defending state champ, knocked off second-ranked Jarret Jurgens of Scott City in Friday’s other semifinal.
“Got a little taste of it for the next couple years,” Finnesy said of the tourney. “I do know I need to get in a little better shape.”
REDMEN HAVE SECONDS — Smith Center High School senior Colton Hutchinson will leave the Redmen wrestling program behind with four state medals. The last two have resulted in losses in the tournament’s final round.
The senior, who plans to play college football, isn’t going to hang his head too long about it after Saturday’s 152-pound 3-0 loss.
For the second straight year, he lost to a Ball from Hoisington, this time losing to top-ranked senior Christopher Ball. Last year it was Jonathan Ball.
“I felt like I could beat him on my feet,” Hutchinson said. “He took me down pretty early and that obviously wasn’t plan. He’s just so good on the mat, and he’s really strong.”
Later, senior Avery Hawkins, the top-ranked 285-pounder, suffered a rough 6-1 sudden victory loss on a late takedown and near-fall. It was just Hawkins’ second loss.
The Redmen ended up fourth in the team standings with 76.5 points in a weekend that started with disappointment as two of its 10 qualifiers were disqualified. Top-ranked 220-pound senior Dalton Kuhn and 120-pound junior Joe Stocker didn’t make weight.
“It’s tough when you have two guys not make it,” Hutchinson said. “They didn’t do it on purpose, obviously, but if we have guys there I think we’re in title contention. I honestly do.”
SEGARRA’S SILVER — Hill City head coach Steve Nickelson knew Ringneck junior Alec Segarra could go head-to-head with just about anyone. He nearly proved it, falling in a sudden-victory 8-6 decision to top-ranked and unbeaten freshman Kendall Beitz of Eureka. The medal was Segarra’s first in two trips to the state tourney.