Olathe North captured its third consecutive Class 6A regional wrestling championship Saturday at Olathe East, but it wasn’t easy.
The Eagles, who won this year’s Sunflower League title, crowned five champions and will take 11 wrestlers to state, but they just edged East Kansas League runner-up Blue Valley Northwest, 182-165.
“We will need to win the tough matches and win some that we aren’t favored in,” Eagles coach Josh Carroll said of his team’s chances at the tournament Feb. 26-27 in Park City, Kan.
The Eagles were second at state last year.
The Olathe North champions were sophomore Jevon Parrish (113), junior Tyler Flood (126), sophomore Terrell Garraway (145) and seniors Shea Johnson (195) and Chase Miller (285).
Olathe East’s De’Khayle McFarland missed the Sunflower League tournament last week and three weeks of the season because a dislocated left elbow.
He wore protective bandage on the elbow while defeating Olathe North junior Riley Alderman 7-5 in overtime at 120 pounds.
McFarland got a takedown 15 seconds into the one-minute overtime period and improved his record to 21-3.
“I’m not in shape and I was wrestling a tough kid,” he said. “I knew I could take him down (in overtime) and I knew had to do it quickly.”
Coaches voted McFarland as the wrestler of the regional.
Worth the wait
Olathe North’s Flood knows about missing time during the wrestling season. In December 2014, he broke his arm.
“It took a whole year of high school wrestling away from me,” he said.
Flood beat Olathe Northwest senior Taylor Jokerst 11-4 in the 126-pound championship bout.
Four BV Northwest champs
Blue Valley Northwest had four champions in seniors Sam Elliott (132), Jason Laramore (138), Max Tierney (170) and Blake Johnson (220).
Elliott captured his fourth consecutive regional championship, edging Olathe Northwest sophomore Kavian Kalantari, 5-3.
It was his 153rd victory as a Husky and tied him with Zach Roberson for the school record. Roberson was a four-time state champion and never lost a bout in high school in the late 90s.
Elliott was fourth at state last year and was first in 2014.
When asked for his key to success at state, Elliott said: “Play to my game instead of my opponents.”
Johnson escaped with a 7-6 decision against Olathe East senior Kevin Easterwood at 220 despite giving up a takedown near the end of the bout.
“I got tired,” said Johnson, a senior, who improved his record to 32-3. “I didn’t think he would shoot. I should have anticipated that.”
A pin wins it
Blue Valley senior Tanner Madl pinned Olathe North senior Kaleb Brooks with 29-seconds left in the first period of their 152-pound bout.
Madl, a three-time regional champion, improved his record to 34-2.