The three state wrestling medals in St. James Academy senior Stephen Tujague’s collection all bear the same bronze color. So when he says the objective in his senior season is to improve his finishing, it holds multiple meanings.
Finish matches better. Finish tournaments better.
Now he has the chance to finish high school career on top, too.
With three wins in the Kansas Class 5A state tournament Friday, Tujague ensured the final match of his high school career will be with the 138-pound title on the line Saturday at Hartman Arena.
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“I’ve had a lot of trouble with stalling in the last (90) seconds or so, and I’ve done a lot of extra stuff to try to go the full six minutes,” Tujague said. “It’s coming together, finally, as a senior.”
St. James is in third place in the Class 5A team standings.
Clay Lautt (170 pounds) is aiming for his second straight title. Sammy Cokeley (160) won two close decisions and advanced to the final.
Olathe North’s Flood takes down No. 1
Olathe North junior Tyler Flood says he knew nothing about his semifinal opponent in the Kansas Class 6A 126-pound bracket. But that’s not entirely true.
He was fully aware where Hutchinson senior Hagen Kent stood in the state rankings.
“I knew he was No. 1,” Flood conceded. “So I figured he was really good. I figured it was going to be a tough match.”
Flood didn’t have much trouble, defeating Kent 17-2 and advancing to the 126-pound championship match Saturday.
Olathe North heavyweight Chase Miller won an ultimate tiebreaker to advance to the championship round.
Olathe North is third in the 6A team standings.
Mill Valley’s Ward back in finals
The final match of Mill Valley wrestler Conner Ward’s freshman season set the tone for his sophomore year.
After being shut out in a Kansas Class 5A championship bout last year, Ward spent the offseason working to improve his offense.
He needed it Friday.
Ward jumped out to an early lead and held on for a 6-3 victory in the 126-pound semifinals.
“I’ve had a whole year of just processing what I did wrong last year,” Ward said. “It’s been spinning in my head every day for a year. I never want to get shut out again.”
Mill Valley is fourth in the Class 5A team standings.
Championships on the line
▪ St. James Academy senior Clay Lautt is the only local wrestler who is in the running for back-to-back state titles. He will compete for the Class 5A 170-pound championship Saturday.
▪ Gardner Edgerton senior Dustin Carstens will meet Lawrence senior Alan Clothier for the Class 6 182-pound title.
▪ Olathe South sophomore Jace Koelzer (106), Lawrence Free State sophomore Tate Steele (132), Blue Valley senior Garrhett Hurst (145), Blue Valley senior Tanner Madl (152), Shawnee Mission West senior Jose Montoya (195) and Blue Valley Northwest senior Blake Johnson (220) also qualified for Class 6A championship matches.
▪ In Class 5A, Bonner Springs junior Tanner Hitchcock (120), Turner senior Jacob Smith (182) and Schlagle sophomore Tylen Wallace (285) are in the finals.