Platte County senior Matthew Schmitt was genuinely surprised when his name was announced for the Bobcat Classic’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.
He was a little disappointed with the results of his first few matches and thought teammate Ethan Karsten may have earned it more, but Schmitt said that means he will take the award as motivation moving forward.
“There was a lot of great competition and a lot of Division I athletes,” Schmitt said. “It’s something that I am going to take to heart and let it push me to do more.”
Schmitt, who will attend West Virginia, defeated Basehor-Linwood’s Corbin Nirschl to win the 132-pound weight class on Saturday night and preserved his perfect record in the 15th annual Bobcat Classic at Basehor-Linwood. He already has two state championships to his name.
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Nirschl, on the other hand, placed second at state last year and went undefeated to win a Kansas Class 4A state title as a freshman.
“This year is going pretty well,” Schmitt said. “I’m only looking to improve and constantly trying to score points.”
Platte County teammates Cody Phippen and Ethan Karsten were also victorious in their respective divisions. Phippen beat Olathe South’s Jace Koelzer in 106 pounds, while Karsten topped Gardner Edgerton’s Cameron Frame to win the 145-pound class.
Platte County’s Johnny Blankenship, who signed with Nebraska, was upset in the finals of the 160-pound class, and Casey Jumps took second in 220 pounds.
“My team is definitely a team that competes and rises to the occasion,” Schmitt said. “We are a team that likes to score points and in the finals, or any match in that case, you can expect us to go out and try to do our best and put on a show.”
Platte County as a team finished third behind Goddard, which took first, and Smithville.
Smithville was led by 195-pound champion Jake Boyd. He beat Ethan Dean of Santa Fe Trail 10-1 in a major decision.
Luke Sachs, Jake Bollinger and Jacob Bohlken each had third-place finishes for Smithville.
“Everyone wrestled well,” Boyd said. “We work hard in practice, and it is paying off.”
St. James Academy took fifth with two wrestlers in championship matches. Stephen Tujague beat Garrett Lange at 138 pounds, and Clay Lautt beat Glenwood’s Anthony Sherry at 170 pounds.
The only other metro-area wrestler to win an individual title was Olathe North’s Chase Miller. He beat Chapman’s Jason Zook in a 3-1 decision for the 285-pound title. Olathe North’s Jevon Parrish took second in 113.
Other local finalists included Bonner Springs’ Tanner Hitchcock, Blue Valley’s Tanner Madl, Turner’s Jacob Smith.