After winning the 126-pound championship in Class 5A last season, Kapaun Mount Carmel junior Adam Ayala has decided to chase his next wrestling title at 138 pounds this season.
Moving up a weight class was inevitable as Ayala grew over the offseason, but the decision to move up two weight classes was Ayala’s. No longer will he have to cut weight at 138, or at least not as much, which he thinks will play to his advantage.
While he may be undersized for the weight class, Ayala believes his quickness and technical ability that helped him win the championship at 126 last season will transfer over when Kapaun opens its dual season on Dec. 8 at North. It’s a challenge he welcomes.
“Everyone keeps asking me if I’m going to win my second (title) and I always tell them I have to prove it,” Ayala said. “I can’t just say I’m going to do it, I have to back it up in a new weight class now.”
Ayala certainly has the respect of his peers, as the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association has tabbed him as the preseason No. 1 wrestler in 138 in Class 5A, a weight class that features strong contenders in Arkansas City’s Jake Beeson and Mill Valley’s Jarrett Bendure.
Kapaun coach Tim Dryden likes says he likes the competiveness of Ayala, who has developed a hard-nosed reputation over his first two seasons.
“Adam doesn’t shy away from competition,” Dryden said. “He’s not worrying about the other great wrestlers in his division, he’s excited about it. He’s looking forward to those opportunities of wrestling those guys.”
Kapaun’s other returning state champion, Michael Spangler, also had a decision to make about which weight class he will wrestle in as a junior.
Spangler, for now, has decided to stay at 106 for the third straight season. After struggling to come close to filling out 106 pounds the last two years, Spangler has finally reached that weight and will have to cut for the first time. He could bump up to 113 during the season, but right now Spangler feels confident at 106.
“The mindset is still the same,” Spangler said. “And that’s to go back to state and win.”
Dryden said both Ayala and Spangler, who drill together in practice, recognize things will be different now that they have won state championships.
“The target on their back just got a lot bigger,” Dryden said. “But they’re excited about it. You want to get everybody’s best shot. You don’t want to hear any excuses, so they know they’re going to get everybody’s best and they’re ready for it.”
CITY LEAGUE WRESTLERS TO WATCH
Carroll: Conor Murphy, sr., 145; Robert Garcia, sr., 195; Ryan Murphy, so., 160; Brady Bockover, so., 182; Grant Gooch, so., 113; Sean Hallacy, so., 285.
East: Justin Amaro, sr., 113; Samuel Loerke, jr., 132.
Heights: Dejuan Scott, jr., 195; Aevodric Gilkey, jr., 138; Courtez Orange, jr., 152; Anthonie White, so., 106.
North: Isaac Doell, sr., 182; Bryan Roberts, sr. 145; Jaylan Howard, sr., 220.
Northwest: Devin Onwugbufor, jr., 126 (state runner-up); Joey Gilbertson, sr., 285; Marcus Hicks, so., 220; Adam Baker, sr., 182; Tyler Marshall, sr., 132.
South: Dallas Wilson, sr., 120 (state runner-up); Tyrekus Birch, sr., 195; Kasdon Arehart, jr., 220; Asiel Flores, so., 126; Dalton Powell, sr., 138; Jeremiah Napier, sr., 285; Philip Landrum, jr., 160; Alex Foxworthy, sr., 145.
Southeast: Jose Andrade, jr., 120; Kirell Gordon, sr., 170; Gus Unruh, sr., 220.
West: Kesean Deshazer, jr., 126; Jared Stevens, sr., 152; Brandon Fiedler, so., 113; Kevin Robinson, sr., 132; John Fonseca, sr., 120.
CITY LEAGUE WRESTLING SCHEDULE
3, El Dorado Invitational, Valley Center Invitational, Campus Invitational, Southeast Invitational, Pratt Invitational. 8, South at Northwest, Kapaun at North, Heights at East, West at Carroll. 10, Douglass Invitational, Wellington Invitational. 15, Carroll at South, North at West, East at Southeast, Heights at Kapaun. 16-17, Raytown South (Mo.) Invitational, Hoisington Invitational. 17, Carroll Invitational, Rose Hill Invitational, Emporia Invitational.
5, Carroll at Heights, West at East, Northwest at North, Southeast at South. 6-7, Derby Invitational. 7, Salina South Invitational, Maize Invitational, North Invitational. 11, North at South. 12, East at Northwest, Southeast at Heights, West at Kapaun. 13-14, Newton Invitational. 18, Kapaun at Carroll. 19, Southeast at North, South at East, Northwest at West. 20-21, Hays Invitational. 21, Council Grove Invitational, Holton Invitational, Heights Invitational. 25, Northwest at Heights. 26, Carroll at Southeast, South at Kapaun. 27-28, Garden Plain Invitational. 28, Andover Invitational, Junction City Invitational, SM North Invitational.
1, North, East at Carroll. 2, Heights, South at West, Kapaun, Southeast at Northwest. 4, Silver Lake Invitational. 8, West at Southeast. 9, Kapaun at East, Heights at North, Northwest at Carroll. 11, City League at North.