A bundle of wrestling state-championship hardware made its way back to Kansas City last weekend.
Kansas City area wrestlers totaled 20 individual championships on Saturday at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. They accounted for 45 percent of the gold medals in Class 4, Class 3 and Class 2. Park Hill (Class 4) and Oak Grove (Class 2) repeated as team champions.
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Another 14 wresters from the Kansas City area placed second in their respective weight classes.
The success of Kansas City wrestlers is no coincidence.
“With the kind of schedule we go through, everybody beats each other up,” Kearney coach Chad Hopkins said. “We come in prepared for the state tournament. That’s why we wrestle the schedule we wrestle.”
That led to a memorable weekend.
Here are a few quotes to help us best recap the championship round on Saturday:
• “This is crazy. I just came in with nothing to lose. Why not? The whole crowd expects you to lose.” ... Platte County sophomore Ethan Karsten, who defeated three-time state champion Noah Teaney of Oak Park to win the Class 3, 132-pound bracket.
• “Oh, yeah, I thought he had me. I was just hoping to get out any way I could, and I finally did. That was fun.” ... Park Hill sophomore Sean Hosford, after he narrowly escaped a pin to win the Class 4, 120-pound bracket.
• “Thank God that move didn’t bite me in the butt.” ... Smithville senior Dalton Tipton, who won the Class 2, 152-pound bracket after fearing an early mistake would prove costly.
• “I didn’t want to be that second-place kid again.” ... Kearney senior Blake Clevenger, who won the Class 3, 138-pound bracket after finishing runner-up the last two seasons.