PARK CITY, Kan. - Entering Saturday's first place matches, the team leaderboard read Manhattan 193, Derby 192. Derby had four chances to add to it, Manhattan three among the final 14 matches. And deciding the winner came down to the final match of the day.
Behind wins from Crew Squires and Triston Wills, Derby took a 200-197 lead with just the 220 pound bout to go. Bubba Wilson was the lone winner from Manhattan, with Christian Schlepp hoping to add to it and win the state title for the Indians.
But Mill Valley's Ethan Kremer was too much for Schlepp, getting a late takedown to increase his lead to 5-1, too late for Schlepp to add to it, and the Derby faithful knew it. The green pocket of fans exploded, knowing their Panthers had won their first title in 32 years on the back of Kremer, 200-197 the final tally.
For the Panthers, Squires took first at 152 pounds, a 5-2 decision over Campus' Luke Bowen to finish his career with his first title. Then at 182, Triston Wills did as he has all season long, taking a 9-3 win over Washburn Rural's Gavin Carter, the second straight title for the Oklahoma State commit.
Wilson gave Manhattan a brief lead with a win over Wichita South's Malachi Karibo at 160 before Wills secured it for good for Derby. For Wilson, it was his 150th career victory and second straight championship.
A pair of WAC schools lead the way with three individual titles each. Starting with Garden City, Refugio Chairez got the matches started with a second round pin of Lawrence's Ejae Jewsome. Silas Pineda followed that up with a 3-1 win by decision over Kale McCracken of Campus, handing the Colt senior his first loss of the season for the win. Pineda won the title on the heels of a fourth place finish at regionals. Then at 132, Jacob Holt earned an 8-3 decision over Derby's Cason Lindsey, getting his second state title after winning as a freshman.
Their rival, Dodge City, matched the Buffaloes with 3 individual titles as well. At 106, Damian Mendez beat Dylan Sheler of Campus with a 5-3 decision to win a championship as a freshman. Couy Weil gave the Red Demons a second victory, a 6-2 decision to hand Caden Howard of Olathe Northwest just his second loss of the year. The senior gets his first title, improving from 4th a year ago. Garrett Edwards made it three with a win in the tie-break over Nathan Bowen from Campus. It's the junior's first time medaling at the state level.
Mendez wasn't the lone freshman to take home a title. On the heels of upsetting top ranked Cade Lindsey of Derby Friday night, Quentin Saunders from Wichita West had no issues in defeating Quincy Saddler of Manhattan, a 10-0 major decision win. The 170-pounder suffered his first loss of the season a week prior to Lindsey at Regionals, but now has a chance to go 4/4 in his high school career at the state championships.
FINAL TEAM RANKINGS
1. Derby - 200
2. Manhattan - 197
3. Garden City - 149.5
4. Washburn Rural - 133
5. Campus - 125
6. Dodge City - 118.5
7. Mill Valley - 89
8. Free State - 74.5
9. Olathe North - 73
10. Olathe South - 67
11. Blue Valley - 62
12. Blue Valley West - 53
13. Wichita West - 43
14. Olathe Northwest - 38
15. Lawrence - 37.5
16. Shawnee Mission Northwest - 35
17. Junction City - 31.5
18. Wichita South - 27
19. Leavenworth - 26
20. Hutchinson - 20
106: Damian Mendez (Dodge City) def. Dylan Sheler (Campus)
113: Silas Pineda (Garden City) def. Kale McCracken (Campus)
120: Couy Weil (Dodge City) def. Caden Howard (Olathe Northwest)
126: Keegan Slyter (Olathe North) def. Bryce Wells (Derby)
132: Jacob Holt (Garden City) def. Cason Lindsey (Derby)
138: Garrett Edwards (Dodge City) def. Nathan Bowe (Campus)
145: Elijah Jacobs (Free State) def. Zach Schram (Blue Valley West)
152: Crew Squires (Derby) def. Luke Bowen (Campus)
160: Bubba Wilson (Manhattan) def. Malachi Karibo (Wichita South)
170: Quentin Saunders (Wichita West) def. Quincy Saddler (Manhattan)
182: Triston Wills (Derby) def. Gavin Carter (Washburn Rural)
195: Preston Williams (Washubrn Rural) def. Brycen Schroeder (Campus)
220: Ethan Kremer (Mill Valley) def. Christian Schlepp (Manhattan)
285: Refugio Chairez (Garden City) def. Ejae Jewsome (Lawrence)