Hoxie repeats as 3-2-1A wrestling champions
HAYS, Kan. (Catch it Kansas) - It’s not just that Hoxie repeated as wrestling champions this year. It’s the manner in which the Indians are doing it. Last season Hoxie scored 154 points at state, 70 more points than second-place Hill City. This year’s Indian squad, with six state finalists and three individual state champions, went even better with 186 points. Douglass finished second with 89 points, and Plainville placed third with 84 points.
The Indians are putting up the points in spite of their Class 1A status. By comparison, prior to last year, Class 3A schools had won the 3-2-1A title but no team scored higher than 131.5 points (Norton in 2011).
“We have just a great group of kids,” said Hoxie coach Mike Porsch. “We have the big junior class and (senior Drew Bell). And we left some guys at home who also put time in and are just dedicated to getting better. They work hard during the season and they work hard after the season.”
Hoxie was able to put an exclamation point on the season in the final match of the year. Senior Drew Bell entered the 138-pound finale looking for his third state championship. He needed just 29 seconds to pin Wichita County’s third-ranked sophomore Wyatt Gardner. Bell ends his final season at 40-1.
“That’s Drew Bell in a nutshell,” Porsch said. “He’s ready to pin them as fast as he can. I was happy for him.”
The Indians dominated the lightweight brackets. At 113-pounds, returning state runner-up Tate Weimer entered the finals as an underdog against top-ranked Carter Krier, a freshman from Oakley. Krier led most of the way before Weimer got the pin in the third.
“It was there,” Weimer said. “It’s just one of those things. It’s just another match. If I win it’s crazy. So I just knew I had to pin him there.”
Hoxie’s other championship came at 160 pounds with another two-time champion looking for a third. Junior Derek Johnson reached the finals with just one loss on the season. He snuck by Hill City sophomore Aiden Amrein, ranked No. 3, in a 5-3 decision to cap his year at 40-1.
Hoxie junior Dayton Bell made the finals at 132 pounds. There he ran into Norton senior Kolton Field, already a two-time state champion. Field was able to hang on for a 3-1 win to cap a 36-2 season with his third title.
Hoxie also had tough luck at 126 pounds. There top-ranked sophomore Carson Ochs led for most of the match against Larned’s fifth-ranked senior Dillen Hook. Hook picked up reversal points in the final 30 seconds of the match to win the title with a 38-5 record this season.
Indian freshman Sam Watkins found himself in the 170-pound championship match against second-ranked Garrett Urban of Norton. Urban picked up the 6-3 decision against the top-ranked freshman to win the title with a 35-10 record.
As the powerhouse 1A school at the tournament, Hoxie tied Sabetha with the most state qualifiers with 10 apiece. Six of those 10 made the state finals, and Drew Beitz placed third at 152 pounds.
“I hope we generate some interest,” Porsch said of his team’s back-to-back titles. “We went through some ups and downs with enrollments and everything. I hope it just inspires and elevates every program. If we’re working hard and the basketball teams are working hard and having success, it just makes the whole community better.”
Elsewhere around the brackets Saturday in Hays, Douglass senior Joe Martin pulled off the upset to win the 285-pound bracket. Coming into the finals undersized, Martin also had to contend with top-ranked Jacob Carver, a junior from Rossville. Martin was able to escape from the bottom and pin Carver in the second period. Martin, ranked No. 5, ends his season at 25-12 as a champion.
“Honestly I thought I was going to get thrown around because I’m only 246 pounds this morning,” Martin said. “I bet he’s pushing every bit of 285. It wasn’t like I expected, but anybody can be anybody around here.”
Kingman’s Colby Schreiner entered the 145-pound finals as a three-time state placer. He overcame a dislocated finger to knock off top-ranked freshman Kreyo Koop of West Elk. Southeast of Saline senior Matt Rodriguez wrapped up a decorated career by pinning Plainville senior Ben Hansen for the 182 crown.
The 152-pound finale was one of the most exciting on the day. Republic County senior Jonathan Dyke, ranked No. 3, beat top-ranked Beitz of Hoxie to reach the finals. There he trailed for much of the way against Trego senior Tanner Sells, ranked No. 5. Dyke made it to overtime where he picked up takedown points in the final seconds to win 3-1.
At 106 pounds, Minneapolis sophomore Chase Johnson defeated top-ranked Drayton Kennedy of Erie 6-2 to finish a near-perfect season at 33-1. At 120 pounds, top-ranked Corbin White, a senior from Jayhawk Linn, defeated Ellis sophomore Mason Younger in the finals.
Beloit senior Brennan Walker, ranked No. 1 at 195 pounds, pinned Douglass sophomore Wade Moran to wrap up a near-perfect season at 21-1.
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