HAYS, Kan. - The Class 3-2-1A individual champions generally follow a similar reaction after a finals bout. They normally celebrate by some combination of screaming, pumping their fists or pointing – all in the direction of their respective school’s fanbases in the upper bowl at Fort Hays State University’s Gross Memorial Coliseum.
Plainville senior Jordan Finnesy, a three-year starting quarterback and two-time state champion wrestler, is beloved in his hometown.
Finnesy thought about his post-match mat reaction. In the 182-pound championship bout Saturday, Finnesy easily bested Highland-Doniphan West senior Nathanial Howerton with a 11-0 major decision.
Then, in an extremely unique maneuver, Finnesy turned around, looked up at the Cardinal fan base and blew two kisses, one with each hand.
“What better way…” Finnesy said. “Thank them for just really all that they have done for me throughout my four years.”
Finnesy completed a 39-2 record and called the finish “really bittersweet.” He is the third two-time state champion in school history, joining Joe Dreher (’86, ’88) and Jay Hrabe (’98-99), according to kansashswrestling.com.
“I am glad it ended like this, and I am just really happy right now,” he said.
He and Hoisington senior 195-pound senior Wyatt Pedigo each capped their careers with multiple wrestling titles. Hoisington finished seventh with 68 points, Plainville took 11th with 50.
Pedigo, the classification’s only undefeated wrestler at 37-0, easily cruised to the championship. He defeated Southeast of Saline’s Sterling Harp, 11-3, in the finals. Pedigo is a three-time state wrestling champion. He has been wrestling since six.
“If you are his parents, you have got to be so proud of that kid,” Hoisington coach Dan Schmidt said.
Finnesy and Pedigo, both ranked No. 1 all year, likely wrestled in their last competitive match. Both are outstanding football players and Shrine Bowl selections.
“It’s amazing,” Pedigo said. “I am blessed to be able to go out there and do it as much as I do. I just go out there and (thank) everyone who supports me for letting me do that.”
Pedigo is on the short list for greatest Hoisington wrestler. Brandon Ball won four titles from ’12-15, and his brother, Christopher, earned three straight from ’16-18. Both were at lower weights than Pedigo.
“What makes Wyatt special is just his athleticism is off the charts,” Schmidt said. “I mean it’s hard to describe that a kid at that size could be that quick, that explosive, and yet he doesn’t have a big head. He’s a kid that if you watch him, and you talk to him and you get to know him, he’s the nicest kid in the world. Just a kid that steps up and will help anyone in our room to get better.”
Pedigo, headed to North Dakota football, is Hoisington’s all-time leading rusher. Finnesy is going to play football at Washburn University. Finnesy said he will remember his coaches the most.
“Being great people and just teaching me life lessons more than anything,” Finnesy said. “Because when I leave Plainville, I am going to have those guys behind me whenever I need them.”
Last year, Finnesy defeated Riley County’s Mikey Waggoner in overtime in the state semifinals, and then beat Norton’s Cole Amlong in the finals. Waggoner was perfect before the Finnesy match. Finnesy went 38-2 and won Plainville’s first crown since 2014. This season, Finnesy was a significant favorite all winter.
“Keep performing at my best every single match and just knowing that really that my time was short, coming to an end,” he said.
In the semifinals, Finnesy narrowly defeated Beloit’s Brennan Walker, 8-7. At regionals, Finnesy had a first period pin in every match. He wrestled stronger Saturday and finished 39-2.
“After the (semis) match, I told my coaches, I think that’s honestly what was best for me,” Finnesy said. “Because I hadn’t been a full six minutes in a couple weeks.”