For the first time in program history, the Tonganoxie High boys wrestling team brought home a team state championship.
On Saturday, the Chieftains won the Kansas Class 4A state championship. They entered the tournament held in Salina, Kansas, as the No. 2 seed, but they left with the top prize.
Tonganoxie scored 136 team points to earn the title, clipping runner-up August by 8.5 points for its first-ever championship. The Chieftains were led by a single individual champion and five other medalists.
Senior Gabriel Bailey won his first three matches at 182 pounds by fall, with the only one lasting longer than one round was his first-round bout. In the finals, he faced off with Baldwin sophomore Jack Harvey, who set the Bulldogs’ school record for pins in a season with 32. Harvey surpassed Baldwin’s only two-time state champ Bryce Shoemaker to claim the record.
Harvey struck first in the finals match, scoring a takedown in the first round. Both wrestlers later scored an escape point, but Bailey scored a point after stalling was called on Harvey. In the sudden death period, Bailey scored the winning takedown with just 17 seconds remaining in the match.
The five other Tonganoxie state medalists all placed second or third in their respective weight classes. They were Braeden Moore (3rd, 126), Noah Bailey (2nd, 132), Grayson Sonntag (2nd, 138), Colton Brusven (3rd, 160) and Tyler Pankey (2nd, 170).
Timberwolves finish runner-up at 5A state tournament
Behind nine state medalists, the Blue Valley Southwest boys wrestling team ended the Class 5A state tournament in second place.
BVSW scored 168.5 team points to earn a state trophy. Goddard won the title with 190.5 points. The Timberwolves had one state champion and eight other medalists at the meet.
Hayden Mills won the 132-pound state championship. Mills won his first two matches by major decision, 21-6, and fall. In the semis, Mills won by injury default. Mills capped his season with an 8-5 victory in the championship match.
The other BVSW state medalists were Kaden Markley (3rd, 106), Cole Cronk (3rd, 152), Brett Umentum (2nd, 160), Ethan Cronk (3rd, 170), Nate Kays (5th, 182), Jake Laurie (5th, 195), Torin Forsyth (2nd, 220) and Andrew Farrell (4th, 285).
St. Thomas Aquinas finished sixth in the 5A team standings. The Saints were led by Dylan Elmore, who won the 160 state title. Elmore beat Umentum by decision, 2-1, in the finals to finish his season with a single loss.
Five other Saints earn medalist spots at the state tournament. They were Tobius Kriner (6th, 106), Kaden Allen (3rd, 126), Jordan Habben (2nd 152), Sean Carroll (2nd, 195) and Pierce Cunningham (6th, 220).
Mill Valley placed eighth at the meet. The Jaguars had six state medalists, led by Maddox Casella’s runner-up finish at 126. Eddie Hughart placed third at 132, while Colin McAlister (145) and Payton Douglas (182) finished fourth in their bracket. Robert Hickman (113) and Dillon Cooper (120) placed sixth.
Firebirds’ fourth-place finish led by 2 state champs
The Free State boys wrestling team placed fourth in a close race for the Class 6A state championship Saturday.
Washburn Rural won its second-straight title, clipping runner-up Derby by 8.5 points. Free State scored 134, just 17 points behind Washburn Rural.
Leading the Firebirds was Nolan Bradley and Matthew Marcum, who won state titles at their respective weight classes. Bradley won his first two matches by fall and major decision. He won his semifinal match by decision, 6-2, before a 4-2 victory in the 113 finals. At 195, Marcum won all four of his matches by fall. The championship pin came in sudden victory.
The Firebirds also earned team points from four state medalists. They were Grayson Hagen (3rd, 106), Eric Streeter (3rd, 132), Zach Shepley (6th, 160) and Tai Newhouse (3rd, 285).
Olathe East finished seventh in the team standings, in part to four state medalists, all of whom finished runner-up in their weight classes. The Hawks’ finalists who finished second were Jacob Bradley (132), Jacob Bragg (145), Nick Carlson (160) and Brett Carroll (285).
Olathe North placed 10th as a team, thanks to a pair of state champions. Cael Alderman (126) and Alex Samuelson (152) each went 4-0 at state. Alderman won his finals match, 3-0. Samuelson was victorious by major decision, 10-1.
Other state champions from the Kansas City area in 6A were Jahir Contreras (145) of Shawnee Mission East and Brooks Lowe (220) of Blue Valley West.
Olathe NW girls top area teams at 5A-6A state tournament
After winning the first regional title in Olathe Northwest wrestling history, the Ravens’ girls program placed fourth at the 5A-6A state tournament.
The Ravens were led by four state medalists. Caroline Foeller was the Ravens’ lone finalist. Foeller won two matches at 143 by fall before a 13-7 victory in the semifinals. In the championship match, Foeller lost by a second-round fall to Leavenworth’s Hannah Jackson.
Chloe Harris (155) and Val Galligan (170) placed third at their weight classes. They each went 4-1. Harris won her third-place match by fall. Galligan was victorious, 5-2, in her third-place match.
Olathe North finished seventh with Gardner-Edgerton one spot behind. Olathe North was led by Kaylan Hitchcock’s runner-up finish. Hitchcock pinned her first three opponents before losing by fall in the 115 finals. Elizabeth Ruggles (191) and Hailey Conley (235) each placed third in their respective weight classes.
Gardner-Edgerton’s top three wrestlers each finished third. They were Lilly Kepler (115), Michaela Konzem (120) and Shelby Davis (138).
There were six state champions from the KC area. They were BVSW’s Hannah Glynn (120), Olathe South’s Nicole Redmond (126), Free State’s Madyson Gray (138), Leavenworth’s Hannah Jackson (143), Bonner Springs’ Olivia Stean (170) and Makayla Rivera (235).
Redmond and Stean became two-time state champions as sophomores, while Rivera accomplished the feat as a junior after finishing second in 2020. Meanwhile, Gray finished her career as a three-time state champ.
Sixteen KC area wrestlers earn MSHSAA individual titles
In addition to the three teams which won Missouri state titles, there were plenty of other highlights from the state tournament in Columbia, Missouri.
Aside from the individual champions from Liberty, Mid-Buchanan and Pleasant Hill, there were 16 others who brought home state titles.
Platte County had three individual champions. On the boys Class 3 side, Jaydon Walls and Jake Fernandez won the 195 and 220 titles, respectively. KayLyn Munn won the girls 194 state championship to give Platte County a third state title.
St. Pius X (KC) won a pair of Class 1 boys state titles. Noah Gonzalez (126) and Rylan Kuhn (220) were crowned state champs. Marco Dalakishvili placed runner-up for the Warriors.
Kearney also won two individual titles, helping the Bulldogs finish eighth as a team. Ryder Shelton won the 106 championship as a freshman. At 145, Eli Ashcroft won his fourth state title. Ashcroft’s previous championships came at 106, 120 and 132.
The other boys state champions from the KC area were Excelsior Springs’ Ayden Dolt (152 Class 2), Oak Grove’s Zander Brinegar (195 Class 2), Harrisonville’s Carson Miller (220 Class 2), Oak Parks’ Paul Hernandez (182 Class 4) and Blue Springs’ Brock Sullivan (285 Class 4).
In the girls tournament, Park Hill’s Angelina Vargas won the 115 state title as a freshman. She ended her season with just a single loss.
Park Hill South junior Maddie Kubicki remained perfect in her high school career. She capped her third-straight undefeated season with her third-straight state title. This year’s crown came at 141 pounds, after winning the 135 and 143 titles the previous two years.
Fort Osage junior Haley Ward also became a three-time state champ. She capped her undefeated season at 159 with a fall in the finals. Ward has lost only a single match in her three years, but has a chance to become a four-time state champ next year.
Grain Valley sophomore Sevreign Aumua ended her season with the 149 state championship. She pinned three of her four opponents. Last year, she finished third at 151.
– story by Jimmy Gillispie