Hoisington’s Joshua Ball becomes fourth brother to win a 3-2-1A title
HAYS, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - Hoisington senior 182-pounder Joshua Ball is the fourth oldest of his brothers. The Ball family is long known for elite success in Class 3-2-1A wrestling. Brandon, the oldest, captured four state titles and enjoyed a record-breaking career at Fort Hays State University. Jonathan won a state crown, and Christopher captured three. The trio attended FHSU.
This winter, Jonathan and Christopher elected to take online classes through Fort Hays and return to Hoisington. They served as Cardinal assistant coaches. Additionally, Joshua gave plenty of credit to longtime Hoisington coach Dan Schmidt.
As well, Ball received significant input from two lesser-known individuals. Cardinal senior 170-pounder Cole Steinert (23-6) was Ball’s training partner before he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in the district playoff round earlier this month. In January, Hoisington brought on Jace Morgenstern as an assistant coach. Morgenstern, from Iowa, worked with middle school and high school.
Together, they helped Ball become the fourth sibling to win a state title.
On Saturday, Ball completed a 37-0 season at the Class 3-2-1A state championships at Fort Hays State University’s Gross Memorial Coliseum. Ball earned a 4-0 decision, a fall in 2 minutes and 39 seconds and then defeated Hill City senior Jayce Hamel by fall in 1:49.
“It’s been really cool,” Ball said with a smile. “I am still a little upset that I couldn’t quite keep up with Brandon.”
Ball and Hamel had faced off in last week’s sub-state championship, and Ball won by fall in 1:52. Hamel went 30-4.
“It was fairly similar,” Ball said. “Hamel is a great wrestler for sure, and each time I have really just capitalized on some of his mistakes.”
Similar to sub-state, Ball made a quick move for the pin. Ball called the maneuver “almost muscle memory in a way.” He has picked them up throughout the years and his brothers. Hoisington finished tenth with 35 points. Hoxie easily captured the title with 154 points, and Hill City took second with 84. It likely marked the last match of Joshua’s career. He plans to attend Barton County Community College and not wrestle.
“It definitely plays a big part,” Ball said of his brothers. “They are inside the room with me, and even though sometimes I am not always the best at taking advice from them and stuff, but I know they are all doing it in good sport, and so I appreciate it.”
Earlier this winter, Schmidt gave significant credit to his assistants. Ross Coomes, a former college football player, is also on staff.
“Wow,” Schmidt said. “Man, makes me look like the low guy on the totem pole, and when people are better than you are at it, you are going to be pretty successful in (the) program quickly, and I think we’ve seen it on both the boys and the girls’ side.”
Ball had coach Schmidt’s words in his mind at state.
“Schmidt has definitely been a big part,” Ball said. “He always gives me advice and stuff, and that’s really what was going through my head. … Schmidt has said, ‘This is your last go.’”
Ball had finished sixth, fifth and third at state the three previous years. On Saturday, his younger brother, freshman Josiah, finished 27-6 and took fifth at 113.
(Schmidt) said, ‘Nobody is going to be able to take this from you if you do it,’” Joshua said. “Honestly, that’s what I wanted more than anything.”
For this year, Ball said he had improvement mentally and physical from past seasons.
“Most of it has been mind…my body has been about the same the last couple of years,” Ball said. “Which was a little rough shape.”
In the fall, Joshua and Steinert helped Hoisington to a state runner-up football finish, the best showing in school history. Steinert was the team’s second-leading tackler, while Ball rushed for 632 yards and played on the line. When Steinert hurt his shoulder, Hoisington put his shoulder back in place. Steinert started to wrestle again in the match before he dislocated it a second time.
“Cole is definitely a great guy,” Ball said. “Great athlete. Just like a brother.”
In mid-December, Steinert was ranked fifth in 3-2-1A at 170. Earlier this season, Schmidt believed if everyone stayed healthy, Hoisington had a strong chance to contend for a top-three finish and team plaque.
“Cole Steinert definitely helped me get prepared,” Ball said.
Steinert provided great support throughout the year. After Steinert suffered injury, he loaned Ball his knee pads. Ball wore them the final few weeks of the season, including state. Ball joked with Steinert and said the knee pads were the key difference.
“I always told him that’s what did it for me and helped me win,” Ball said.
Shortly after the championship match, Steinert texted Ball and told him “great job.” After Steinert was hurt, Ball trained with Morgenstern, who had a standout career.
“We are pretty similar skill sets,” Ball said. “So it really worked out well.”
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