Beckner’s big chance
Entering the state tournament, Northwest senior Dylan Beckner was ranked third in his 145-pound weight class.
After Friday, Beckner is the highest-ranked wrestler left in division and will wrestle Olathe North’s Nick Haug for the Class 6A championship on Saturday.
Part of that is Beckner’s doing, as he beat No. 2 Jaquwan Stone, from Blue Valley Northwest, 4-2 in the semifinals, and part of that is due to an upset, as top-ranked Will Adler of Garden City lost in the quarterfinals.
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The end result is a big opportunity for Beckner, back again after losing in the state final last season.
“Oh, I’m definitely excited,” Beckner said. “I get to eat tonight and I wrestled good.”
After beating Stone, Beckner had to grind out another victory in the semifinals against Maize’s Alex Hydock. Beckner had to ride Hydock for the final minute of the third period to preserve a tie, and then did the same in double overtime to hold onto a 3-2 victory.
“It just shows you how much he wants it,” Northwest coach Eric Prichard said. “He’s just so tough. He’s not pretty. He wins ugly and grinds them out, but he does win.”
Beckner said that last year’s loss in the final was in the back of his mind during the match with Hydock.
“It’s my senior year and I’m not settling for anything less than that,” Beckner said. “I’m going for gold.”
Joining Beckner in the finals for Northwest will be sophomore Shane Brock (132) and junior Saul Ortiz (160).
Northwest took a hit in the team race when Andre Turner, state-ranked at 182, was suspended and had to forfeit out of the tournament, but it does still have Kodi Gandeza (113), Kevin Folsom (152), Micquille Robinson (170), Kyle Jackson (195), and Jordan Bell (220) alive on the backside of the brackets.
“We’re happy with where we’re at,” Prichard said. “Everybody we brought is still in it. We’re going to be going for that sweep in the finals tomorrow.”
Chasing Garden City
Derby might be the only team capable of catching Garden City. The Buffaloes have the most points with 118.5, with Derby trailing by seven. Next closest is Northwest, 32.5 points behind at 86.
Garden City and Derby each have four wrestlers in the finals — the Panthers will have Tanner Smith (106), Cody McDonald (126), Garrett Xanders (138), and Matt Kissinger (220) wrestling for championships.
“Everybody knows it will be determined on Saturday,” Derby coach Bill Ross said. “We’ve always had a strong backside team, and we’re definitely going to need to be again to pull this thing off. We’re going to have to show up and wrestle well on the backside.”
A surprise for Derby was Kissinger, who started the season at heavyweight. Since making the switch midway through the season, Kissinger has lost just once.
“I wasn’t even thinking that I would get this far when I made the change,” Kissinger said. “I just did it because I thought it would be the best for the team.”
Derby still has eight wrestlers left on the backside, while Garden City has seven.
“We can definitely do it, we just have to take care of business on the backside,” said Derby’s Braden Dipman, who will attempt to do such in the 113 bracket. “Most wrestlers pout and don’t wrestle very good after they lose, but our team doesn’t do that. We wrestle with heart.”
West freshman Idris Elias, 106 pounds
Goddard freshman Logan Glover, 106 pounds
Ark City junior Logan Terrill, 113 pounds
Andover freshman Paul Stuart, 113 pounds
Andover freshman Jack Maki, 120 pounds
Andover wrestling coach Brett Fiene
Kapaun senior Parker Howell, 120 pounds
Heights junior Sean Deshazer, 126 pounds
Maize South junior Kevin Kissane, 138 pounds
Maize South coach Matt Kerr
Newton junior Jared Langley, 182 pounds
Carroll junior Nick Nolting, 220 pounds
Ark City's Malcolm Pink, 220 pounds
Newton's Raymond Gallegos, 285 pounds
Salina Central's Dayton Will was injured during his quarterfinal match in 2013. He's in the finals at 145 pounds now.