Dickinson County has three high schools, Abilene, Chapman, Solomon, Hope and Herington. Only Abilene, Chapman and Herington have wrestling teams.
With the 54-18 dual victory, the Cowboys won the Dickinson County championship, but the Cowboys also sealed up second place in the NCKL. Marysville, which went 5-0 in NCKL duals this season, won the NCKL title. Abilene finished with a 4-1 NCKL record, Chapman finished with a 1-4 NCKL dual record this season.
"You can’t ever be disappointed, totally, with a win," Abilene coach James Stout said. "We did not wrestle as well as we could have in some places. But it is a chance for us to learn and rebound and come back for regionals, maybe hitting on all cylinders."
The Cowboys opened the dual with a 12-0 lead, although it didn’t show on the scoreboard. Abilene filled all 14 weight classes while the Fighting Irish were open at 152, where Jacob Hagedorn picked up a default win for Abilene and Chapman was also open at 195 where the Cowboys’ Alex Madacs picked up the 6-point forfeit win.
Once the varsity matches began, Abilene left little doubt as to the team outcome for the night. The Cowboys won the first seven matches, including three straight pints from Junior Morgan (120), Caysen Smith (126) and Seth Strauss (132) to build a 32-0 lead.
"We are not there yet," Stout said of his team being polished and ready for postseason action. "We are not polished yet, we still have plenty to work on."
Chapman had its first open weight at 152, which made the score 38-0 Abilene. Abilene’s Nick Ward scored another pin at 160, pushing the lead to 44-0 before the Fighting Irish scored their first of three pins.
Chapman scored pins from Zack Witt (170), Dustin Lister (220) and Jason Zook (285) which were sandwiched around a 14-5 major decision by Abilene’s Blaise Lehman (182) and Chapman’s other open weight at 195.
Both teams are now off until the regional tournament, which begins Friday, Feb. 15. Both Abilene and Chapman will compete in the regional which Abilene will host.
"Sometimes that is good and sometimes that is bad," Stout said of hosting the regional tournament. "We just hope that we handle it well and don’t get caught up in the distractions of having it at home."
The Cowboys have been ranked among the top 10 in Class 4A by the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association at times this year, but Abilene is not currently ranked in the top 10 and Stout is anxious to see how his team will do once it is all said and done.
"I guess we will know in two weeks," Stout said. "There are moments that I think we are right up in there and then there are moments when I see some of the youth being sophomore heavy. If we can polish up on things in the next two weeks I think we can surprise some people. But if we can’t get by a few of those obstacles then we are still young."