Jon Lippelman has seen more than his share of state wrestling tournaments in his long career at Scott City High School.
He has a keen understanding of what it takes to win a state team title, having coached numerous individual state champions along the way.
Lippelman understands that at the Class 3-2-1A tournament, the margin of error can be razor-thin between winning and finishing among the top five. He’s seen both sides of that coin.
On Saturday, at the Goodland regional tournament, the Beavers saw six of their wrestlers qualify for Friday and Saturday’s state meet in Hays.
And in the process, the Beavers upended No. 1-ranked Norton for the team title by five points.
At the state tourney, though, points can be hard to come by, so every match becomes acutely important.
“There are nuances all the way around with the brackets,” Lippelman said. “Everybody it seems has three really tough ones (wrestlers), so it’s a matter of getting through the first couple of rounds and into the medal matches.”
Trying to topple Norton is something akin to reaching the top of a mountain.
Since Lippelman’s Scott City team won the 2012 team crown, Norton has won every title — five in a row and will be among the favorites once again.
It looms as a big battle among the two, along with Smith Center (10 qualifiers), Douglass (eight), Wathena (seven), while Silver Lake, Hoisington and Rossville have six each. Norton secured five qualifiers for the state meet.
The Beavers have four experienced wrestlers in the lineup — Justus McDaniel (126, 26-3), Kaden Wren (132, 29-2), Jarret Jurgens (160, 32-1) and Wyatt Hayes (170, 35-3). McDaniel and Wren are sophomores, Hayes a junior and Jurgens the lone senior.
The two newcomers are sophomore Brandon Roberts (113, 18-18) and freshman Gabriel Bowers (285, 12-7).
“The two new ones are the wild cards for us,” Lippelman said.
“They are the ones that we need to win two, three matches. They were able to beat a couple of guys they lost to earlier in the season. I think the others, if they wrestle the way they can, will each get about 18 to 22 points.”
One thing Lippelman is looking for is to get some help from other top wrestlers from southwest Kansas, including Cimarron’s Josh Seabolt at 195 pounds (182 state champ a year ago) and Lakin’s Hadley Panzer (285), among others.
“We need those guys to knock off some of the guys from Smith Center and other team contenders,” Lippelman said.
In all, Cimarron and Lakin each qualified three wrestlers, while Wichita County will send one.
In addition to Seabolt, Cimarron will have Braiden Lynn at 120 and Dylan Newton at 182 pounds. Lakin’s qualifiers includes Johhney Perez (145), Kayden Christiansen (152) and Panzer (285). Wichita County’s lone entry is Joaquin Castillo (138).