By the end of the first day of the Kansas Class 5A state wrestling championships last weekend in Park City, it was clear that St. James Academy had set itself up for a historic finish.
The Thunder had nearly doubled the score of second-place Goddard and had advanced six wrestlers to title matches. Zak Hensley, Andrew Tujague and Matt Pratt wound up taking home state titles in the 132-, 152- and 170-pound weight classes, respectively while Reese Cokeley, Ben VanLerberg and Trent Salsbury added second-place finishes in the 126-, 160- and 180-pound divisions, respectively.
“I asked the boys to come off the mat proud of themselves and how they wrestled,” St. James coach Mike Medina said. “I had a feeling that it would end up that way, if we did our job and (if) the boys did.”
St. James finished with 180.5 team points, and Goddard placed second with 117.5. It was the first state championship for the Thunder, which returned every medalist from last year’s state runner-up team.
“I talked about all year that we don’t have a bull's-eye on our back because we hadn’t done it before,” Medina said. “Now we kind of do have a bull’s-eye, but we have young men like freshman Sammy Cokeley and Clay Lautt who can carry on the tradition, and it is kind of weird to say now that we do have tradition.”Ravens make history
For the first time in school history, the Olathe Northwest wrestling team left the Kansas Class 6A state wrestling meet with three medalists.
Sophomore Will Whitaker, 34-10, finished fourth in the 106-pound weight class. Junior Doug Newcomb, 36-6, finished fourth in 126 and sophomore Taylor Jokerst, 31-12, finished sixth in 113.
The Ravens finished 15th in the team standings.Trophy for Huskies
Led by individual state champions Sam Elliott and Max Tierney, the Blue Valley Northwest wrestling team placed third in 6A and took home the program’s first team trophy.
“Two state champs, six kids placing, everyone contributed,” coach Tim Serbousek said. “I’m pretty happy.”
Jason Laramore, Jaquwan Stone, Chris Lyons and Carter Tierney were the other medalists.Dulgarian in title form
St. Thomas Aquinas junior Isaac Dulgarian is back on top as a state champion in Class 5A.
Dulgarian won an individual title his freshman season and finished third in the 138-pound weight class as a junior, but he returned to the top of the podium with a 10-4 decision against Ben Vanlerberg of St. James Academy in the 160-pound title match.
Teammate Ben Ewing fell just short of repeating his title in the 220-pound class after losing 6-5 in double overtime to Arkansas City’s Malcolm Pink in the semifinals. Ewing finished third with a 38-1 record this season.