Olathe North wrestling coach Josh Carroll had a simple mission for his team heading into the postseason: Go get some hardware.
“I told these guys a couple of weeks ago that it’s trophy season, and you’re going to put ‘2018 State Champs’ on the wall,” Carroll said. “And they get to do it.”
The Eagles will get to hang that banner after capturing the Class 6A team title Feb. 24 during the Kansas state wrestling tournament at Hartman Arena. It’s the first state championship in North’s illustrious wrestling history and the first 6A title for a Kansas City-area team since St. Thomas Aquinas won in 2005.
Certainly, it didn’t come easy. Down 4 1/2 points entering the final round, the Eagles needed to sweep all four championship matches in which it had wrestlers to edge runner-up Washburn Rural from Topeka 151-149.5 in the final team standings.
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“Those kids have worked so hard and they deserve a state title as a team and as individuals,” Carroll said.
Carroll said it took more than the four champions — Keegan Slyter (126-pound weight class), Jevon Parrish (138), Javier Contreras (145), and Terrell Garraway (170) — to get the job done. North qualified a wrestler for state in all 14 weight classes, with 12 making it to the second day.
Three other Eagles reached the podium — Ryan Huck (195) took fifth, while Joseph Triscornia (106) and McCoy Stoker (160) both placed sixth.
“They all contributed,” Carroll said. “Every kid on the team, even the two that didn’t score any points, they contributed. It’s a team effort.”
That team effort helped North pull through in the finals, especially in back-to-back close matches from Parrish and Contreras.
Parrish (52-2), a senior, was down 3-0 before rallying for a 6-5 decision against Wichita South’s Asiel Flores and Contreras (38-6), a senior, needed a last-second takedown to beat Wichita South’s Malachi Karibo 6-4.
Slyter, a sophomore who finished 40-7, pinned Wichita Southeast’s Jose Andrade to start the title run.
“We work so hard in the room year round,” Garraway said. “We train to be able to come back from being behind. We don’t give up.”
That wasn’t a problem for Garraway (39-2), a senior who was in control all the way through his 5-0 decision versus Campus High’s Brycen Schroeder from Haysville, Kan.
Garraway’s victory clinched the title for the Eagles and touched off a wild celebration among their large following in the stands.
“I’m kind of in a daze right now,” Garraway said. “I feel like I’ll wake up tomorrow and realize we’re state champs.”
Falcons snag two individual titles
Olathe South wasn’t left out of the championship parade.
Two Falcons seniors, Jace Koelzer (126) and Nick Jouret (182), fought their way to the top of the podium.
It took overtime for Koelzer, but he topped Garden City’s Jacob Holt 4-2 in the final and finished the season 44-3.
Jouret’s title wasn’t nearly as dramatic. He crushed Hutchinson’s Riley Smith by a 13-4 major decision in the title bout, finishing 43-3 overall.
Sophomores Gavin Brown (145, third) and Dallas Koelzer (120, sixth) also reached the podium for South.
ONW pair reaches consolation finals
Olathe Northwest didn’t have any wrestlers make it to state finals, but two fought hard in wrestlebacks to reach consolation bouts.
Senior Kavian Kalantari knocked off Gardner Edgerton’s Conner Greig in overtime during the third-place match at 152, while sophomore Caden Howard finished fourth at 106.
Gardner gains 6A titlist
Senior Jackson Flowers headlined Gardner’s trio of state placers.
He finished the season 38-5 after knocking off Wichita South’s Payton Collins 3-2 in the championship at 220 pounds.
Additionally, the Trailblazers had state medalists in Greig and senior Jensen McDermott (fourth, 160).