Swift, Thompsons lead Pratt to 4-1A state title
SALINA, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - The final day of the wrestling season was all about the sisters Thursday. Out of 12 state championship matches at the Class 4-1A Championships in Salina, five featured sets of sisters from Pratt and Lakin. Three of those sisters won, including Pratt senior Ava Thompson. Teammate Livia Swift made history with her third state title, all helping the top-ranked Greenbacks win the team championship over Hoisington.
“It was amazing,” Swift said of her team’s ride this season. “Emmaline (Primrose) was such a blessing for our family, not just for wrestling. She’s a great person. She just added another needed element to this team and was someone who pushed me.
“Jadyn and Keimarla (Thompson), they’ll be back next year. I know this will motivate them a lot. They wrestled some pretty tough girls.”
In the young girls’ side of wrestling in Kansas, Swift entered the 143-pound championship opposite Circle junior Katelyn Scmidt. The top-ranked Swift controlled the match to win 6-1, capping a 36-2 final season and becoming the first girl in Kansas to win three state titles.
“I knew she’d be coming for me real hard because I beat her two times in a row,” Swift said. “It’s hard to beat a good wrestler three times. I knew she was coming for it. But I remember the whole time that was my last high school match and I wasn’t going to let anyone take it away from me.”
Three Thompson sisters from Pratt all made it to the finals in their respective brackets. Senior Ava Thompson, wrestling at 191, was the only one to win. She capped a perfect 36-0 season by handing Abilene senior Lyndsey Buechman her first loss in a 6-3 battle.
The other Thompsons drew some stout competition. Perhaps the most anticipated match of the tournament came at 132 pounds where Pratt sophomore Keimarla Thompson put her perfect record on the line against reigning champion Hope Blake of Mission Valley.
Blake entered the finals with a perfect record: she ended all her matches this season with first-period pins, including a win against Great Bend’s Breanna Ridgeway - her only loss in two years.
Thompson became the first wrestler this season to make it to the second period against Blake. In a high-scoring match, Blake was able to take advantage of an injury and pin Thompson late in the second period.
Finally for the Thompsons, junior Jadyn belted out the national anthem prior to the finals. A few matches later, she was in the circle against unbeaten Kendra Hurla of Rossville. Hurla blanked Thompson 3-0 for the title. Thompson ends her season at 37-2.
The other sister story came in the lightweight divisions. Lakin senior Isabell Ortiz entered as a reigning state champion with just one loss on the season. She won a 4-0 decision against Colby’s third-ranked sophomore Kathie Chavez to claim her second title with a 34-1 record. Her one loss came against Wichita North’s Rodah Bengi, who completed a perfect 40-0 season for the Class 6-5A title.
“It put a target on my back,” Ortiz said of last year’s title. “I felt really nervous, even in my semifinal match against (second-ranked Breanna Ross of Erie) that I considered to be my championship match. Even in the championship I knew I was going against a good wrestler and had to go out there and give it my all.”
In the match before Isabell won, little sister Josiah Ortiz put her perfect record on the line in search of a first state championship. Ranked No. 1 all season, the junior Ortiz defeated second-ranked freshman Leiannah Landreth of Mulvane 5-2 for the crown.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Josiah said. “It’s been a goal of mine since the start of the year. Since I didn’t accomplish it last year, I wanted to come here and take care of business and finish it.”
“It’s a big blessing to be able to cherish this moment with my sister,” Isabell said. “I knew she could go undefeated and win it all. She struggles to believe in herself but I believed in her the whole way.”
The Ortiz girls have dominated the lightweight divisions all season, and now big sister’s bragging rights are cut in half.
“There was a lot of pressure there, too, especially with us both being No. 1 and wanting to win state titles,” said Josiah. “To be able to do it is very exciting.”
Another big match came at 138 pounds with top-ranked Marissa Porsch in a rematch against Hoisington junior Tally Wikum. The pedigreed Porsch handed Wikum her only loss of the season at regionals and bested Wikum 10-1 Thursday to claim her first state title.
In the heavyweight bracket, top-ranked MacKayla Miller of Scott City was able to pin sixth-ranked Averie Burns of Wellington midway through the second period. The junior Miller wins her title with a 23-1 record.
In other action, fourth-ranked Holly Thatcher, a freshman from Oskaloosa, won a tough 101-pound bracket. She beat second-ranked MJ Huff of Wellsville in the finals to finish the season at 28-1. Junior teammate Allison King entered the 155-pound bracket ranked No. 1 and capped a 29-1 season with the title.
Clay Center freshman Gabby Koppes capped a perfect 30-0 season with a first-period pin for the title at 126 pounds.
Top-ranked Grace Johns suffered a leg injury in her title match at 170 pounds. Fifth-ranked Kylee Eastwood of Prairie View was there to pounce for the pin and the title.
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