HAYS, Kan. - Hoxie 160-pound senior Dayton Porsch is even-keeled, soft-spoken and doesn’t show a lot of emotions. He eschews social media and doesn’t look at rankings. Porsch generally gives little thought to his place among the all-time great wrestlers in Kansas history, but did briefly pause Saturday afternoon at the Class 3-2-1A state championships.
All finalists have to submit a short biography of their wrestling career to the public address announcer. Helped by Mike Porsch, his father and coach, and Indian assistant coach Mat Gilliland, Porsch delivered his statistics to the head table.
A short time later, he completed his fantastic career with his fourth consecutive state title. Porsch pinned Cimarron sophomore Tate Seabolt in 1 minute, 48 seconds at Fort Hays State University’s Gross Memorial Coliseum. Porsch, a University of Northern Iowa commit, completed his career 145-2, including 41-1 this year.
“Earlier we were kind of going through stuff, and realized that was my 101st pin I just got there today,” Porsch said. “All the little things like that, never really thought about it till an hour or two ago.”
Porsch became the first 3-2-1A wrestler in state history to complete his career with fewer than three losses and win four titles. Porsch finished 16-0 at the state tournament with 11 wins by fall. In the last two seasons, he won all eight of his state matches by fall. This winter, his longest match was 2 minutes, 23 seconds.
“It’s neat,” coach Porsch said. “You get into the thick of it, you don’t realize just how many matches you have put in, how many falls you end up with, and all that, so it’s neat to stop and take a look once in awhile.”
Porsch had pinned Seabolt, ranked third at 160 at 33-4, in the regional final last weekend and had met him earlier in the winter.
“Just go out and wrestle like I can,” Porsch said. “If I wrestle like I am truly able to, I can beat anyone.”
After the match, Porsch kept a calm look as he shook hands with Seabolt, the officials and Cimarron coaches. His dad clapped several times and flashed two thumbs up. Then, Dayton came over to his dad.
In an embrace that lasted several seconds, Porsch picked up him in a big hug that lifted his father’s feet off the ground. Next, coach Porsch turned around, looked up to the Hoxie section and flashed four fingers.
“Mostly it’s for everyone,” Dayton said. Everyone wants me to get four, I think more than even I wanted to, so just like to please everyone.”
Dayton’s mother, Tami, wiped tears from her eyes and gave her son a hug and kiss on the cheek. Because of Mike’s high school duties, Tami made a lot of the road trips in the younger wrestling ranks.
“It’s a family affair,” coach Porsch said.
Hoxie qualified just four wrestlers, all whom won regional crowns. The Indians took third with 86 points. Eureka was first with 113, the first athletic state title in Tornado history and the first time an eastern Kansas squad won 3-2-1A since 2001. Since 2011, Hoxie has two seconds and three thirds, including 2018.
In addition to Porsch, junior Dylan Weimer (36-6) captured the state title at 132. He was ranked sixth, the lowest-ranked wrestler to win a state title. Weimer defeated three wrestlers ranked higher and won his last three matches 1-0, 5-4 and 3-1 in the finals versus top-ranked junior Beau Horn of Riverside.
“That kid spent a lot of time in the summer wrestling freestyle,” coach Porsch said. “He went to the same tournaments that Dayton basically went to, except the Southern Plains.”
Freshman Drew Bell (35-7) was fourth at 120. Sophomore Aidan Baalman (35-12) earned fourth at 145. The quartet each won at least their opening match by fall, which helped accrue valuable extra points.
“We were able to get pins first couple of rounds,” Dayton Porsch said. “I was able to pin my way through it, and just getting all those bonus points almost made it more like we had five or six guys on our team, so it’s impressive to bring a little number of people and have this great of luck.”
Gilliland and Porsch are the only four-time state champions in the tradition-laden Hoxie program. Gilliland went 145-8 in his career and was the 2004 Class 3-2-1A Wrestler of the Year and earned high school honorable mention All-American honors.
As well, Dayton’s older brother, Tristan was a two-time state titlist, along with a second and third. Both were in attendance this weekend.
“Showed up and did the work, so it’s nice to see a little payoff for them,” coach Porsch said.
Coach Porsch, who has coached at Hoxie for 24 years, said Dayton would “have to be in the conversation” for the best wrestler in Indian history – and lists Tristan and Gilliland high on the list, too.
“What he has done not only in the state of Kansas here, but outside of the state of Kansas, the national stuff,” coach Porsch said. “He’s probably got more accolades, and even Tristan’s got a lot of accolades outside of the state even though he’s dropped a couple of state titles, but I would have to say that I would put those three up there against any of them.”
Gilliland has served as Dayton’s wrestling partner for many seasons, including for major national tournaments. Additionally, Gilliland has been a good sounding board.
“Mat has been through the pressure, the talk,” coach Porsch said. “The expectations, and can kind of be another voice of reason in their head, and just keep grounded and not let it get too much for them – as much mental as physical workouts.”
“Good workout partner,” Dayton added. “Great person to be around. Good everything.”
The work helped Porsch become one of five wrestlers in the field with four pins. Only Porsch and Hoisington junior Wyatt Pedigo were the only ones to pin their way through to a title. They tied for the individual lead with 30 points. Soon afterward, Dayton’s mind quickly shifted to college.
“I am not looking to the move that far away, it’s eight and a half hours, but being able to wrestle and compete on a good team like that,” Porsch said.