High School Sports

Eleven Kansas City-area wrestlers reach state championship matches heading into Saturday’s Kansas finals

St. James Academy’s Cade Lautt
St. James Academy’s Cade Lautt The Wichita Eagle

The Kansas City area didn’t have the strongest first day at the 2019 Kansas high school state wrestling tournament, but Blue Valley Southwest served as a bright spot on Friday.

The Timberwolves sent four wrestlers into Saturday’s championship bouts. BV Southwest was the only KC school to get multiple wrestlers into title matches.

BV Southwest junior Brandon Madden will look to redeem last year’s runner-up finish after bumping up to 138 pounds. He earned a 9-2 decision in the Class 5A semifinals over Bonner Springs senior Michael Daniels. He will meet Goddard sophomore Jace Fisher in Saturday’s final.

Freshmen Hayden Mills at 106 pounds and Brett Umentum at 113 got the run started for BV Southwest. Mills’ day grew progressively tougher, ending with a 5-3 decision victory over Lansing sophomore Camden Maestas in the semifinals. He will meet Maize South junior Ian DeMoss in the title bout.

Umentum earned an 8-2 decision over Kapaun Mt. Carmel senior Damon Steiner. Umentum had a tough route to the final. None of his matches earned bonus points and none were decided by more than six points. Defending champion Jason Henschel, a Goddard junior, will be waiting in the championship match.

BV Southwest junior Seth Nitzel capped the night with an 8-0 decision over St. Thomas Aquinas junior Tommy Carroll in the 170-pound semifinals. His title bout will be against undefeated Goddard senior Troy Fisher.

A Lautt of talent

One of the state’s best pound-for-pound wrestlers avoided upset on Friday.

St. James Academy junior Cade Lautt cruised through his side of the bracket in Class 5A, earning a semifinal pin on Goddard senior Trenton Willert. Lautt will enter the championship round with a 48-2 record.

Lautt’s day started with a 53-second pin, and he followed it with a 17-2 technical fall.

Lautt will meet one of his biggest rivals, Newton senior Wyatt Hendrickson, another of the state’s best wrestlers in all weights and classes. One of Lautt’s two losses this season came to Hendrickson in the Garden City tournament championship match.

Kansas City stars

The rest of the Kansas City area’s six state championship qualifiers came from six different schools.

Olathe North junior Keegan Slyter is the only defending state champion. He will look to repeat with a 126-pound title win over Derby junior Bryce Wells in Class 6A, and 2019 marks the third straight year he has reached the final.

Olathe Northwest junior Caden Howard has gone one step further than he reached last year. Coming off a fourth-place finish, Howard is into the 120-pound final against Dodge City senior Couy Weil in Class 6A.

A pair of KC area wrestlers will take the mat at 145 pounds. Aquinas sophomore Jared Simma is into the Class 5A final after three straight pins and will face undefeated Maize junior Devin Gomez in the championship bout. In Class 6A, Blue Valley West senior Zach Schram reached the 145-pound final after a 9-second semifinal pin on Washburn Rural’s Cole Wells. He meets Lawrence Free State senior Elijah Jacobs in the final.

Undefeated Turner senior Cameron Bates earned a couple of pins and a forfeit on his way to the 5A 195-pound final. Bates came out of nowhere in 2019 after finishing sixth at state last year. He will wrestle last year’s state runner-up, Taylon Peters of Salina Central.

Mill Valley’s sophomore wonderkid Ethan Kremer reached the 6A 220-pound final with a 13-4 major decision over Blue Valley West senior Logan Caldwell in the semifinal bout. He faces Manhattan’s Christian Schlepp in the final.

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Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.