Olathe North High School’s Emilio Fowler was so eager to celebrate his first Kansas Class 6A wrestling state title with his mother that not even a seven-foot high railing could keep him from getting to her.
Fowler, following his state title victory on Saturday at Hartman Arena in Park City, Kan., first jumped a short wall where his teammates stood. Then, Fowler scaled the taller railing and ran up the bleachers to where his mother, Michele, stood waiting.
“I had to get to my mom the fastest way, and I didn’t want to take the stairs,” Fowler said. “She is my motivation and she is the reason I am always practicing. She takes me to all my tournaments and has not missed a match. I love her.”
Fowler defeated Dodge City’s Jhett Ostrom in a 6-2 decision to win the 182-pound weight class with a 48-0 record. His victory, along with that of teammate Isaac Dulgarian in the 170-pound weight class, also helped push the Eagles to a second-place finish in the team standings behind three-time defending champion Garden City.
Dulgarian defeated Wichita Northwest’s Saul Ortiz and finished with a 45-0 record and his third consecutive state championship.
Blake Stovall, who won a state title in 2013, led a group of eight additional Olathe North state placers by taking second place in the 138-pound weight class.
The 913 area’s other three-time state winner came from Gardner Edgerton’s Seth Pesek, who defeated Garden City’s Zeke Herrera in a 6-3 decision. He finished with a 9-1 record after sitting out the first part of the season with a knee injury.
Class 5A: St. James second
Led by a pair of repeat state champions, St. James Academy followed up last year’s team title with a second-place finish in the Kansas Class 5A wrestling state tournament on Saturday at Hartman Arena.
St. James’ Zak Hensley defended his 132-pound title with a decision against Emporia’s Garrett Whitson and teammate Matt Pratt did the same against Dalton Peters of Salina Central in the 170-pound weight class. Hensley and Pratt combined for just five losses this season. Hensley finished with a 49-3 record and Pratt was 29-2.
“I had the mindset like I’ve been here and I’ve done that, but I was definitely training like it was my first time,” Hensley said. “I worked my butt off in the room and pushed the guys who wanted the team title.”
Clay Lautt added a state title in the 160-pound weight class and four more Thunder wrestlers placed in the top five to help hold off third-place Mill Valley by 17.5 points in the team standings.
Although none of Mill Valley’s four wrestlers in the finals were victorious, their runner-up finishes were enough to secure the team’s best place at state since the school opened in 2000. The four second-place finishers were Dylan Gowin (106), Conner Ward (113), Logan Marx (138) and Bryan Burnett (152).
“Last year we finished sixth and our motto since the beginning of the year was to take it to the next level,” Mill Valley coach Travis Keal said. “Our next level was getting a trophy and these kids are happy we got third, but they are not satisfied, which is good.”
St. Thomas Aquinas’ Ben Ewing made it to the finals in the 220-pound weight class with an undefeated record, but lost to Bishop Carroll’s Nick Nolting. It was Ewing’s third top-three finish at state, including a championship in 2013.