HAYS, Kan. Lakin 285-pound junior Hadley Panzer and Plainville junior 170-pounder Jordan Finnesy headlined multiple upsets of No. 1-ranked wrestlers in Day 1 of the Class 3-2-1A wrestling tournament at Fort Hays’ Gross Memorial Coliseum.
On Friday, five top-ranked wrestlers lost in the championship semifinals, including three with undefeated records. Panzer, ranked second, beat Sabetha senior Elliott Strahm in a highly anticipated marquee match. It marked the only one with two wrestlers that had perfect records.
Last year, Panzer lost in sudden victory to Strahm in the semifinals, and Strahm won the state title. Panzer had thought “everyday” of his defeat and has not lost since, including a 4-2 overtime tiebreaker against Strahm.
Panzer is 38-0, and Strahm 31-1. Panzer scored a late takedown for the win against Strahm, who committed to Kansas State football as a preferred walk-on this week.
“He was in deep on that lock, and I just had to get my hips back and try to get an underhook in there, and luckily, it’s kind of hard with big guys, we are all sweaty, so we kind of tend to slip off,” Panzer said. “I thank God. It’s so amazing.”
“Last year, it went into overtime, but I took a dumb shot at the end, and it kind of cost me because I lost,” he added. “So I had to just come back and wrestle my game and hands out to Strahm, he is an excellent wrestler, football player and maybe we will play with each other some day.”
At 170, Finnesy was ranked second and defeated Riley County’s Mikey Waggoner (33-1) in a 5-4 overtime tiebreaker.
“Heart,” Plainville coach Ryan Becker said. “He kept coming over to the side, and he looked at us (coaches) right in the face and said, ‘I am not losing this match,’ and I said, ‘I trust you, I believe you.’”
As well, at 182, Holcomb senior Tanner Johnson, ranked second, defeated Minneapolis senior Tyson Villalpando, 8-3.
Villalpando, who wrestled with a big brace on his left elbow, was ranked first and dropped to 31-1. Colby freshman 106-pounder Tyler Voss and Hill City senior 126-pounder Alec Segarra, both ranked first, each took defeats. Eureka thwarted any upset bids and leads with 99 points, 20 more than Colby, and 35 in front of Hoxie.
The Tornadoes placed four in the finals: senior Kendall Beitz at 113, senior 120-pounder Kolby Beitz, sophomore Brennan Lowe at 138, and sophomore Brent Escareno at 152. The Beitz brothers are both ranked first.
Colby has two in championship matches, with senior Kory Finley at 182 pounds, and sophomore Hagan Booi at 195. Booi trailed Douglass senior Zachary Dressler late before he won by fall in 5:10.
Additionally, Plainville senior Brandon Rohr, who did not reach state last season and wasn’t ranked until Jan. 29, was ranked fifth entering state. He beat Fredonia junior Matt Weilert, 8-3. Weilert was ranked second and a state contender all season.
Later Finnesy and Panzer, who took third and second, respectively, at state last year, pulled their upsets. Waggoner and FInnesy (37-2) had an unusually high number of blood timeouts, and Waggoner had to finish the match with a big bandage around his face. Finnesy earned an escape point, and then kept Waggoner from scoring to secure the win. Becker and Finnesy had planned to face Waggoner since Monday’s practice.
“Kid works hard,” Becker said. “Him and Brandon both are good kids. Good – mentality-wise, (Rohr) comes in and works hard everyday. Last year, we fought a lot of sickness.”
Panzer/Strahm was one of the highlighted matches regardless of class. Last year, Panzer weighed in the 240 range at state. A season later, Panzer said his biggest improvement came in gaining muscle and weight.
“If you are light in this heavyweight, it really takes a toll on you,” Panzer said.
Panzer showed his high respect for Strahm after the match when he walked over on the mat, acknowledged his high-level opponent and said a few words.
“Maybe one day we will play together and that will be something cool,” Panzer said.
TEAM RANKINGS AFTER DAY ONE
Eureka - 99
Colby - 79
Hoxie - 64
Rossville - 53.5
Norton - 53
Plainville - 49
Riley County - 46
Hoisington - 40
Minneapolis - 38
Cimarron - 36
Phillipsburg - 35
Republic County - 31
Sabetha - 29
Silver Lake - 28
Smith Center - 27.5
Jayhawk Linn - 26
Riverside - 24.5
Goodland - 23
Beloit - 22
Ell Saline - 22
Rock Hill - 22
Holcomb - 21.5
Lakin - 21
Decautr Community - 20
Fredonia - 19
Wellsville - 18.5
Douglass - 16
Southeast of Saline - 16
Oakley - 15
Trego Community - 14
Ellis - 13
Hill City - 13
Remington - 12
Kingman - 11
St. Francis - 10
Rawlins County - 9
Stockton - 9
Atchison County - 8
Marion - 8
Oskaloosa - 8
STATE TITLE MATCH-UPS
106 - Zach Archer (Rossville) vs. DJ Knox (Goodland)
113 – Brody White (Mound City-Jayhawk Linn) vs. Kendall Beitz (Eureka)
120 – Kolby Beitz (Eureka) vs. Alex Archer (Rossville)
126 – Kai Allen (Silver Lake) vs. Jacob Sisson (Phillipsburg)
132 – Beau Horn (Wathena-Riverside) vs. Dylan Weimer (Hoxie)
138 – Brennan Lowe (Eureka) vs. Tristin Hauck (Minneapolis)
145 – Brandon Rohr (Plainville) vs. Luke Richard (Riley County)
152 – Zane Colson (Mankato-Rock Hills) vs. Brent Escareno (Eureka)
160 – Tate Seabolt (Cimarron) vs. Dayton Porsch (Hoxie)
170 – Cole Amlong (Norton Community) vs. Jordan Finnesy (Plainville)
182 – Tanner Johnson (Holcomb) vs. Kory Finley (Colby)
195 – Wyatt Pedigo (Hoisington) vs. Hagan Booi (Colby)
220 – Hayden Wiltfong (Norton) vs. Nick Davenport (Brookville-Ell Saline)
285 – Eyann Zimmerman (Belleville-Republic County) vs. Hadley Panzer (Lakin)