Take a moment and consider. There are 97 teams divided across four regions in Class 3-2-1 A wrestling. And yet, five of the top six and six of the top ten schools in the latest KWCA rankings were among the 23 field team field at the Norton Regional.
The host Blue Jays put themselves in perfect position to win the Regional championship by placing six wrestlers in Saturday night's championship rounds. And then as the day progressed through cross bracketing and the consolation semis, three more Norton wrestlers punched tickets to state. The nine total state qualifiers was more than enough to help the Jays secure the regional title by 42 and a half points over second place Decatur Community.
"Nine wrestlers out of this regional is a huge accomplishment," said Norton head coach Bill Johnson. "I'm so proud of the way they wrestled, that's more kids then I thought we would qualify out of here."
Plainville, which came into the weekend as the number one ranked team in Class 3-2-1 A finished third. Hoxie and defending state champions Scott Community rounded out the top five int he team standings.
Many of of the Top ranked Cardinals best wrestlers struggled over the weekend, but none more so than three time state qualifier Trevor Axelson, the number four ranked wrestler at 126 pounds failed to qualify to this years tournament. falling in Friday's championship semis and again in the consolation semifinals.
Also previously unbeaten Harrison Gilliland, the number one ranked wrestler at 195 pounds, pretty much got dominated in the championship round, falling to Brandon Salmons of Hoxie 8-0.
Meanwhile the hosts, from Norton, who came into the weekend ranked number three, seized their opportunity, grabbing three individual championships.
"It seems like every time we host a regional tournament it's extremely tough, but I don't complain about it because it's a factor out of our control. We just want to come here and wrestle as well as we can. And I think our schedule prepares us really well for this tournament," said Johnson.
Hoxie grabbed the most individual titles of the day, with the Indians taking four first place trophies.
The Bluejays won back to back state championships in 2010 and 2011. But Coach Johnson is really to take this big win as a sign that the title might return to Norton in 2013, yet.
"I try not to think about that. We want to go down wrestle the best that we can. If out kids perform extremely well, whether we win lose or draw I am really happy with them."