Norton's Gavin Sproul, Kolton Field capture titles
During Norton's run to a team state championship last year, it pained Gavin Sproul not to be one of the Bluejays' state placers.
Sproul won his first match a year ago but then lost his next two bouts, exiting the tournament without a medal.
"It motivated me a lot. Losing wasn't a good feeling," Sproul said. "It was sad watching all my friends place and get medals and me not getting one."
The senior turned that disappointment into euphoria, wrapping up his career with a 220-pound state title in the Class 3-2-1A state tournament on Saturday at Gross Memorial Coliseum.
After earning a 9-3 decision over Marysville's Jack Lott in the final, Sproul was overcome with emotion as he hugged his coaches.
"It's an amazing moment, looking at my parents, looking at the crowd jumping up and down, my coaches," Sproul said. "It's a feeling that I won't ever forget."
Sproul opened the tournament with a pin of Douglass' Joe Martin and then picked up an 8-0 decision over Phillipsburg's Brock Buresh to set up the final with Lott, who entered No. 1 with Sproul ranked second.
"My coaches knew he was going to be a big boy," Sproul said. "They told me to play a little passive, protect my legs, watch the throws. I just tried to do what they told me to do and it worked out."
Sproul is headed to Fort Hays State to play football, joining his first cousins and former Bluejay standouts Hayden and Judson Wiltfong.
He finished the season with a 36-2 record after going 26-16 as a junior.
Field earns second title
After a breakthrough run to a state championship in 2020, Kolton Field wasn't going to catch anyone by surprise this year.
Still, Field said he didn't feel added pressure as he went for a second straight title.
"I didn't feel like I was defending anything," Field said. "I pretended like it was a new goal. Just another win."
The poised Field beat Hoxie's Dayton Bell in the 126 final for the third time in three weeks after also facing him in the regional and sub-state finals. He controlled the match and then found an opening to get the pin in the third period.
"Bell's been sitting out on me, and I can't scrunch him down. He kept getting on out," Field said. "Just this Thursday (Norton assistant) coach (Shane) Miller was like, 'Well, what if you just reach under the arm and when you rolled through, swing your arm across and catch him.'
"He must've thought I was letting him up or something because he wasn't expecting it, and I got it."
Field earned a 17-1 technical fall over Sabetha's Colin Menold in his state opener. He then grinded out a 1-0 decision over Riley County's J.R, Thelwell in the semifinal.
Field finished 34-2 on the season.
"I just had to keep to the game plan like last year," he said. "I just had to control every match and score points."
Hill City takes second
Hill City was runner-up for the team title, compiling 84 points to team-champion Hoxie's 154.
Jayce Hamel was runner-up at 182 pounds for the Ringnecks, losing to Hoisington's Joshua Ball by fall in the final.
Hill City got third-place finishes from Carter Underhill (106), Kaleb Atkins (113), Aidan Hockman (132) and Aiden Amrein (152).
Plainville's Logan Normandin took third at 120 while Ben Hansen was fourth at 170 for the Cardinals.
Other third-place area finishers included Oberlin's Gavon Uehlin (182) and Atwood-Rawlins County's Cyrus Green (195).