First, there was a head-turning roar. That was followed by Blue Valley Southwest senior Austin McBee ripping off his ankle strap and jumping into the arms of his teammates to celebrate his 3-1 sudden victory.
While that may seem excessive for a Kansas Class 5A state semifinal match Friday, this one meant a little bit more to McBee.
“It feels amazing,” McBee said. “I didn’t win a single match at state last season, and now to be in the state finals is crazy.”
McBee, who wrestles in the 195-pound weight class, cruised through his first round with a 15-5 major decision over Liberal’s George Waiasa. He won 6-4 by sudden victory against Newton’s Heyden Mock in the quarterfinals, which set up his semifinal bout with Ethan Harp of Wichita Kapaun.
“This tournament, I’ve just been doing what my coaches have been saying and staying patient,” McBee said. “I don’t have to force shots, I just wait for them to make a mistake and capitalize on it.”
McBee, who was crowned as a regional champion last week, improved to 22-7 this season despite battling injuries and a skin infection he picked up a month ago. He will face two-time defending state champion Preston Weigel of Hays.
BV Southwest senior Sawyer Like will also be battling for a state championship on Saturday. He improved to 42-1 with three victories in the 132-pound weight class. He will face St. James Academy’s Zack Hensley for the title.Lansing’s Olsen back
Lansing senior Michael Olsen has had his eyes on the Class 5A state wrestling championship since the beginning of the season.
He took home an individual title in the 126-pound weight class in 2012, but missed his junior season following a violation of team rules. Now he’s undefeated and looking to take home an individual title in the 145-pound weight class.
“I feel like I’m at home in the state championship,” Olsen said. “I feel like I am going to shine and just do my thing.”
Olsen won his first two matches by technical falls and defeated Mill Valley’s Jake Ellis by major decision 18-9 to improve to 38-0 this season. He credited his teammates and coaches for his success.
“I’m surrounded by good people who push me to my limits,” Olsen said. “I come out of practice with headaches from overexertion almost every practice. When we run laps I’m the first one to finish them. Keeping my mind right is my focus going into every match.”Trailblazers set for exciting finish
Not only does Gardner Edgerton have three wrestlers battling for individual titles the 6A state championship, but two of them have the chance to finish the year undefeated.
Two-time defending state champion Dustin Williams carries a 36-0 record into the championship, and defending champion Seth Pesek is 31-0. Jacob Bonham is 29-5.
“It’s fun to see, and setting up for the finals is going to be pretty special,” coach Matt Yeamans said. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
It is the second straight season that Gardner Edgerton has had three wrestlers advance to the state finals. The team is currently fifth with 79.5 points. Garden City leads the pack with 118.5 points.Big day for Olathe North
Of the 10 wrestlers that qualified for the state tournament from Olathe North, nine still have a chance to place in today’s Class 6A state championship.
“It was a very emotional day,” coach Josh Carroll said. “We had a lot of ups and then some downs, but overall I’m extremely proud of them.”
One of the highlights for the Eagles was sophomore Kelvys Gonzales’ upset victory in his quarterfinals bout with Manhattan’s Mason Wallace. Gonzales won by fall in 4 minutes and 39 seconds, handing Wallace his fourth loss of the season. Gonzales was 20-19 entering the match.
“I’m extremely proud of Kelvys,” Carroll said. “He was actually crying and made me tear up too. I know what that kid goes through and he never lets it get in his way. He just battles.”
Gonzalez lost to Blue Valley Northwest’s Sam Elliot, but he still has a chance to finish third. Nick Haug will compete for the state title in the 145-pound weight class.Schedule change
All medal matches will start at 2 p.m. Saturday due to impending weather concerns.