Coach Josh Carroll owned the record for most wins (133) in Olathe North wrestling history when he graduated from the school in 2002.
Friday during the first day of the Kansas Class 6A state wrestling tournament, Carroll got to watch one of his students eclipse his longstanding mark when senior Riley Alderman (132 pounds) won three matches for a spot in the finals.
Olathe North enters Saturday’s championships with five wrestlers, including Jevon Parrish (126) and Terrell Garraway (160), who have a chance to grab gold.
Senior Tyler Flood (138) beat defending champion Tate Steele of Lawrence Free State to remain undefeated this season, prompting an uproar from the Eagles fans in the northwest stands and exuberant air-punching from Carroll, whose voice was shot after shouting all day in a loud Hartman Arena.
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The joyous Olathe North contingent got its first semifinal win from freshman Keegan Slyter in the 106 division. He will tout a 40-1 record when he faces No. 1 seed Brian Gates, an undefeated junior from Hutchinson. Gates was the runner-up in the same weight class last February.
After Friday’s matches, Olathe North is tied with Manhattan for first in Class 6A with 122.5 points. Olathe North has never won a team wrestling championship. Defending state champion Garden City is behind them with 115.5 points.
“We had a good day today,” Carroll said. “Manhattan is wrestling lights out. We’ll see about tomorrow. But five for five is awesome. We’ve got three guys still in (the consolation rounds) tomorrow that can help us try to bring home a trophy.”
Butler remains undefeated
Leavenworth senior Daniel Butler has experienced a whirlwind year. He won a regional championship for the second time, placed fourth at the Cliff Keen USAW Preseason Nationals and earned a Junior All-American Award in Greco-Roman over the summer.
And to cap that, Butler (170 pounds) is now on his way to his first 5A state championship match with a perfect 40-0 record. He will face Troy Fisher of Goddard on Saturday. Goddard comfortably led the Class 5A standings with 170 points after day one.
St. James defending a pair of titles
After Olathe South’s Jace Koelzer and Lawrence Free State’s Steele lost their semifinal matches, only St. James Academy seniors Sammy Cokeley and Clay Lautt will return Saturday with the chance to defend 2016 state championships.
Lautt, in the 5A 182-pound class, will go for his third straight title and will face sophomore Wyatt Hendrickson of Newton. To nab gold for a second year in a row, Cokeley will have to defeat Goddard’s Kendall Frame, who won the 152-pound title last year.
Bonner Springs shines in Class 4A
With three heading to the state finals, Bonner Springs enters Saturday in second place in Class 4A, just 11 points behind Andale (84.5). The Bonner Springs Braves have had four individual champions since 2013 and are hoping to add to the list.
Bonner Springs senior Tanner Hitchcock (126 pounds) could win his second career state title if he beats Noah Nemer of Spring Hill. Hitchcock won his first title in 2015 in the 113 division.
Paola freshman Preston Martin (106) and Basehor-Linwood senior Corbin Nirschl (126) will also be in finals on Saturday. Nirschl seeks his first title since he won the 106-pound division as a freshman.
Two of Saturday’s championship matches will be all-KC-area finals:
▪ At 120 pounds, Schlagle’s Mason Turner (39-1) will take on Mill Valley’s Dylan Gowin (25-2), the No. 1 seed, for the 5A title.
▪ At 170 pounds, Lawrence’s Santino Gee (38-6) will face No. 1 seed Nick Jouret (44-3) of Olathe South for the 6A crown.