West’s Idris Elias Jr. had an idea of what he wanted to accomplish in high school wrestling even before his freshman season began. His father was a successful wrestler at West, and is now one of Elias’ coaches.
“His dad was a former West High Pioneer, so that also plays a role in it,” coach Kenneth Taylor said. “Most of the coaches being alumni of the school, that plays a role in Idris’ success.”
Elias (19-0) is the top-ranked 106-pounder in Class 5A. The way he’s gone about winning his matches has come as a surprise to Taylor.
“He dominates most of his matches, and he has had some good competition throughout the season,” Taylor said. “That’s what surprises me, not that he’s undefeated but his mannerism that he goes about winning.”
Elias is a co-captain with senior Marcus Phillips (20-1), who is ranked fourth at 132.
“It’s kind of a big brother relationship with those two,” Taylor said. “They both have gained success, both are team captains, the whole team has a tight bond, but Marcus and Idris being two leaders on the team have a little bit of a tighter bond.”
Phillips finished fourth at the state tournament last year, and in his last season, he is determined to make an improvement on last year’s finish in a difficult weight class.
“He’s been (to state) before, and he had a bad taste in his mouth because his last match was a loss,” Taylor said. “So he’s been putting in extra work during the season and he put in a lot of work in the offseason so he can accomplish that goal of becoming a state champion.”
Phillips sits behind Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Patrick Burrus in the 5A rankings — his only loss on the season — and could potentially see Burrus in the City League tournament next Saturday.
“He uses matches like that to motivate himself,” Taylor said. “You can learn something from a loss, and since then he’s turned it up in the practice room.”
“He does a good job of studying his opponent. He’ll take time to watch to see what his opponents like to do,” coach Jim Dryden said. “A lot of times kids like to talk and get distracted at a meet, but he takes time to focus and see what his opponent is doing to see what he can do to attack them.”
Bastian has already avenged one of his losses. He won the Hays tournament for the second consecutive year and is ranked third at 285 pounds in 6A.
“One of his strengths is his agility and his quickness. A lot of time heavyweights are not real agile, but he moves very well, and he incorporates a lot of moves,” Dryden said. “Heavyweights can be one-dimensional, but he’s very versatile. His athleticism is a huge plus for him.”
After putting in a lot of work in the offseason, and constantly learning in each match, Bastian has his mind set on a state championship. He won one match in last year’s tournament.
“We feel like we’re able to compete on that level, we just have to find ways to win,” Dryden said. “He wants to be a state champion. I know for sure he wants to be on the podium receiving a state medal, but he’s shooting for as high on the podium as possible.”