The competition at the top of the City League has been intense all year. Wichita Northwest had the edge in the duals, with Bishop Carroll coming in second, and Kapaun finishing third. So in the league tournament, a Kapaun win with 186 points, Carroll finishing second with 163.5 points, and Northwest finishing third with 120.5, means all three schools are 2013-2014 GWAL champions with 16 total points on the year.
“We needed things to fall pretty much like they did,” said Kapaun head coach Tim Dryden. “It couldn’t have fell any better for us. We thought all along we had a quality team that could do it.”
“Kapaun and Carroll had a great tournament,” said Northwest head coach Eric Prichard. “I’m a little disappointed, but it is what it is. We beat Kapaun by 1, and Carroll by 3, so we are all pretty even. I guess today proved it.”
“This year we have three teams that are pretty head-to-head equal,” said Carroll head coach Mark Stovall. “You know, I’d like to see that every year. It just makes the league better.”
Wichita West had a resurgent year and proved its worth in the discussion about the league’s best early in the finals.
Kicking off the finals at 106 pounds, Idris Elias got the ball rolling for the Pioneers. The West grappler had a commanding lead over Kapaun’s Andrew Egan when Elias put an exclamation point on the win pinning Egan with 15 seconds left in the match.
The Pioneers kept it going at 113. Jonathan Fonseca held a 12-8 lead over Kapaun’s Braden O’Donnell after two periods. O’Donnell got a reversal in the third to cut into the lead, but Fonseca held off the comeback attempt to win 12-10.
After losing in the first two matches of the finals, tournament winner Kapaun picked up an individual champion at 120 pounds. Parker Howell used a 2-point near fall in the second period to get a 3-1 win over rival Sam Roy from Carroll.
The Golden Eagles lost at 120 pounds, but got to the top of the podium at 126 pounds with an impressive performance by Bryant Suellentrop. Suellentrop took East’s Thomas Burton down seemingly at will in an 8-3 decision.
At 132 pounds, four of the five wrestlers were a combined 115-14. One of those wrestlers was wild-card Sean Deshazer from Heights, wrestling up from the 126 pound tournament he will wrestle next week at regionals. But despite the level of competition and a weight disadvantage, Deshazer still can’t be stopped.
Deshazer broke up a 1-1 tie against Kapaun’s Patrick Burrus, taking him down with a minute left in the match. Burrus escaped and made a valiant effort to try to get a takedown to win, but Deshazer held him off for a 3-2 win.
“I haven’t had a lot of competition this week,” said Deshazer. “So that’s what I did it for, competition. I know if I can win 132, against some of the top seeded guys, I can definitely win 126.”
Heights was back on the mat at 138 with Armond McCray taking on Carroll’s JP Sponsel. Sponsel got an escape in the third to tie the match at 2-2 to end regulation. In overtime, Sponsel had enough left in the tank to take McCray down for a 4-2 overtime win.
Wichita East got in on the action at 145 pounds. Ernest Caldwell dominated the closing seconds of the first two rounds to get a 9-2 win over Carroll’s Luke Sponsel. Caldwell took Sponsel down and got him straight into a 3-point near fall in the closing seconds of the first round, and got a takedown in the final seconds of the second period as well.
Height’s Forlanda Parker went to work against Kapaun’s Branden Williams, with Parker getting a 4-0 win at 152. Parker got a takedown in the first for the only necessary points to win, and picked up a couple of penalty points along the way as well.
West was a perfect two-for-two to open the finals, and had a third wrestler on a finals mat with Kalin Collins at 160. Collins faced tough competition in Northwest’s Saul Ortiz, but the West wrestler had a 5-1 lead when Ortiz had to bow out due to injury in the second period.
Northwest picked up some quick revenge at 170 pounds. The Grizzlies sent Micquille Robinson out to face West’s Jesse Oliver in a marathon bout. Tied at 1-1 at the end of regulation, Robinson escaped in overtime, but gave up a penalty point for fleeing the mat to keep the score tied at 2-2. In the next overtime period, Robinson made up for it with an escape to end the match on sudden death 3-2.
At 182 pounds, Carroll’s Tommy Marquez took on Kapaun’s Tom Hand. Marquez proved to be too much to handle and beat Hand 10-5.
North’s Caleb Franklin and Kapaun’s Ethan Harp locked up in a tough battle at 195 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Franklin escaped and took Harp down in the second. And with .3 seconds left, Franklin was able to turn Harp and end it with a pin.
Carroll kept the pins rolling at 220 pounds. Nick Nolting picked up a win for the Golden Eagles pinning East’s Carlos Brown in the middle of the bout.
At 285, closing out the show, Northwest’s Jordan Bell saw his advantage in the second period and got a takedown that sealed a 2-1 win over East’s Teryn Brown.