Highlighted by strong team showings from Norton and Hoxie, Friday was a huge day for Northwest Kansas area wrestling in the Class 3-2-1A state tournament at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Norton and Hoxie each placed three into the finals and were vying to take the team title on Saturday as of press time.
Norton’s Darius Shields reached the 106-pound finals with a 15-second pin of Hill City’s Carter Underhill. He was set to meet No. 1-seeded D.J. Knox from Goodland in the final.
At 120 pounds, Norton’s Kolton Field started the day with an upset of top-seeded Tom VanValkenburg and made the finals with a 13-3 major decision over Hoxie’s Drew Bretz. Smith Center’s Colton Shoemaker won the other semifinal with a 9-4 decision over Russell’s Stephan Baldwin.
Phillipsburg’s Jacob Sisson made the state finals for the third straight year, edging Oakley’s Tyler Schoenberger with a 3-1 decision in the 126-pound semifinal. Sisson, a state champion as a sophomore, was set to meet Hoxie’s Drew Bell in the final. Bell pinned Jayhawk Linn’s Brody White in the semis.
Hoxie’s Derek Johnson punched his ticket to the 132-pound finals with a 5-3 decision over Russell’s Jacob Windholz. Johnson was set to meet a returning state champion, Kai Allen from Silver Lake, in the final.
Another All-Area final was set up at 138 pounds. Returning state champion Dylan Weimer from Hoxie was set to meet Oakley’s Eric Cain on Saturday. Weimer earned a 6-2 decision over Larned’s Braydon Lemuz in the semis, while Cain beat Goodland’s Mason Hernandez by a 7-6 decision.
Norton’s Cole Amlong reached the 170-pound finals for the second straight year. He earned a 10-5 semifinal victory over Plainville’s Kyle Werner and was set to meet Cimarron’s Tate Seabolt on Saturday.
Plainville’s Jordan Finnesy was aiming after back-to-back state championship after pulling out an 8-7 decision over Beloit’s Brennan Walker in the semis at 182 pounds. Finnesy was set to meet Doniphan West’s Nathaniel Howerton in the final.
Sylvan-Lucas’ Tra Barrientes made the 285-pound final after beating Beloit’s Creighton Johnson 10-5 in the semis. He was set to meet Republic County’s Eyann Zimmerman on Saturday.