The first decision St. James Academy junior Clay Lautt made this season was to embrace the challenge. More specifically, rather than adding bulk to move up a weight class, he stuck at 170 pounds. Why? That’s where the challenge waited.
The decision ensured Lautt would share a Kansas Class 5A bracket with an undefeated defending state champion.
He bested that challenge Saturday.
Lautt won the Class 5A 170-pound wresting championship — his second straight state title — when he defeated Maize senior Brett Moon.
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Lautt snapped Moon’s 96-match winning streak with a takedown to secure an overtime victory.
“I’m not a huge fan of running from competition. I feel like if you run once, you’re going to run again,” Lautt said. “If I want to be the best, I gotta beat the best.”
With three champions, St. James placed fourth in the team race, one spot behind Mill Valley.
After placing third three straight seasons, St. James senior Stephen Tujague closed his high school career with the 138-pound title. And junior Sammy Cokeley won the 160-pound division.
Blue Valley’s Tanner breaks the curse
When he walked into Hartman Arena on Friday, Blue Valley senior Tanner Madl said he thought of it as yet an opportunity — but he knew it would be the last.
He finally cashed in on it.
The four-time state semifinalist won the Class 6A 152-pound division Saturday, recording a third-period pin in the final.
“I knew I was going to win since the first day of practice,” Madl said. “I was scared and timid in the past. This year, I went out there and stuck to my moves, and it worked.”
Olathe South’s Koelzer wins in 6A
Olathe South sophomore Jace Koelzer paced back and forth, his nervous energy perhaps getting the best of him. In the moments before the title match in the Class 6A 106-pound bracket, the public address announcer began to speak, and Koelzer rushed toward the mat.
One problem: The weren’t calling his name quite yet. The announcement was for someone else.
“I was just ready,” Koelzer said, laughing. “I could feel this was going to be my day.”
It was his year, too. Koelzer won the 106-pound championship Saturday, a never-in-doubt 4-0 victory against Hutchinson sophomore Brian Gates.
Free State’s Steele triumphs
In his first season of high school athletics, Lawrence Free State’s Tate Steele fit all the molds of the cliche wrestler. Every day was focused on getting slimmer, skipping meals and working out.
In his second season, Steele put the enjoyment back into the sport. And that led to a state championship Saturday.
Steele won the Class 6A 132-pound title.
“I feel stronger, which means third-period matches are easier,” Steele said. “Everything about it became more enjoyable.”
Miller helps Olathe North place third
Olathe North senior Chase Miller scored an overtime takedown to claim the Class 6A 285-pound first-place medal.
“He got too high, and when he fell off, I got on his back,” Miller said.
Olathe North took third place in the 6A team standings.
▪ Lawrence senior Alan Clothier defeated Gardner Edgerton senior Dustin Carstens to win the Class 6A 182-pound bracket.
▪ Shawnee Mission West senior Jose Montoya won an ultimate tiebreaker and captured the Class 6A 195-pound first-place medal.
▪ Blue Valley Northwest senior Blake Johnson won the Class 6A 220-pound championship.