Olathe North’s Blake Stovall was so determined to win the 138-pound weight class at the Sunflower League Tournament that he left his sweat, blood and even a little vomit on the mat Saturday.
Stovall’s nose started bleeding in the first period, but he powered through with the help of a few injury timeouts. Even after a few trips to the trash can he was still standing and able to knock off Olathe Northwest’s Doug Newcomb in an 8-3 decision at Leavenworth High School.
His victory over Newcomb, who is ranked first in the 138-pound class by the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association, helped the Eagles capture the Sunflower League team title as well.
“Dealing with those nose bleeds was tough,” Stovall said. “But, I was just trying to get that No. 1 spot and show everyone that I am No. 1.”
Stovall was one of 10 wrestlers from Olathe North who battled for Sunflower League titles, and eight of them succeeded. Riley Alderman kicked off the effort with a title in the 113-pound weight class, followed by Kelvys Gonzalez (126), Terrell Garraway (132), Tyler Moulden (145), Isaac Dulgarian (170), Emilio Fowler (182) and Chase Miller (285).
Zach Jaso and Jadon McGaha added second-place finishes in the 152 and 220-pound classes and bumped Olathe North’s total to 308.5 points. Second place Lawrence Free State finished with 177.5 points.
“We are a deep team and they wrestle hard,” Olathe North coach Josh Carroll said. “We had two championship matches that we let slip away, but the other eight guys did a great job coming through.”
Olathe Northwest had five wrestlers in the finals, but lost all five matches and settled for third place. Aside from Newcomb, the other four runners-up were Will Whitaker (106), Taylor Jokerst (120), Kavian Kalantari (126) and Evan Pardue (145).
“We had a good day early this tournament and we fell short in the medal matches,” Ravens coach Steve Mesa said. “We have some things to improve on going into regionals, but overall our team is really starting to come together and I’m proud of that.”
Olathe Northwest’s biggest victory came when Mesa was chosen Sunflower League coach of the year. Lawrence Free State’s Tate Steele, who is ranked 12th in the nation by FloWrestling.com in the 106-pound weight class, was selected Sunflower League wrestler of the year. He won by a fall in just 43 seconds against Whitaker.
“This was a surprise and I appreciate it a lot,” Mesa said. “It must mean we are doing something right.”
Leavenworth picked up a pair of Sunflower League titles in the 160 and 195-pound weight classes on victories by Daniel Butler and Austin Tresner.
Olathe East also took home two titles, with De’Khyale McFarland and Kevin Easterwood winning the 120-pound and 220-pound weight classes, respectively.
Shawnee Mission East’s Marshall Green took home the title in the 152-pound weight class.