ABILENE, Kan.—The Colby High School wrestling team traveled into Abilene for the Class 4A state regional wrestling tournament as the highest ranked team in the 15-team field being ranked No. 2 in the state, according to the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association’s latest poll.
The Eagles made those standings stand up as they roared from behind on Saturday and built up a total of 196 points, easily outdistancing Holton, who was unranked by had the lead after the opening day of the two-day tournament. Holton finished in second place with 177.5 points while Smoky Valley, which was the only other of the 15 teams ranked in the latest KWCA poll at No. 10, finished third with 142 points. Goodland finished in fourth with 135 points and Abilene rounded out the top five with 120.5 points.
The Eagles tied with Goodland and Holton in the state qualifier category with nine each.
All 15 of the teams competing in the tournament qualified at least one individual for next week’s Class 4A state tournament which will begin on Friday at Salina’s Bicentennial Center.
Smoky Valley and Abilene tied for third and fourth in the state qualifier category with five individuals each while Concordia and Royal Valley qualified four each, McPherson qualified three individuals and Rock Creek earned two individuals at next week’s state tournament.
Wamego, Chapman, Clay Center, Larned, Topeka Hayden and Highland Park had one state qualifier each.
What helped the Eagles outdistance Holton and Goodland in the regional team standings was the number of regional champions Colby earned.
Being a regional champion will also come up large at next week’s state tournament. There are four regional tournaments in the 4A classification and at next week’s state tournament, in the opening round a regional champion is matched up against a fourth-place finisher from another of the three regional tournaments.
Second-place regional finishers are thus paired up against regional third-place winners in the opening round of the state tournament.
The Eagles had three regional champions in the Abilene Regional as David Mainus (106), Dustin Reed (126) and Zell Bieberle (285) all won their respective regional championship matches at Abilene Saturday night.
Holton won two individual championships from Lucas Lovvorn (138) and Lane Lassiter (145) while Goodland only had one regional championship victory, which came from Colton Cooper (182).
Smoky Valley had two regional champions in Spencer Bird (160) and Trevor Whittaker (170) as did Abilene, which won titles from Zane Baugh (113) and Junior Morgan (120).
Concordia also earned two regional championships from Skyler Hittle (195) and Kyle Marks (220). Other regional champions were Wamego’s Kyle Wilson (132) and Royal Valley’s Tanner Ogden (152).