The first period of the 145-pound championship match in the Class 5A regional went almost too well for Andover’s Paul Stuart.
In a match pitting the Nos. 1- and 2-ranked wrestlers in 5A, Stuart had taken a 5-1 lead on Goddard’s Garrett Lange when he fell victim to a game he calls “the don’t lose game.”
“Instead of wrestling to score points, you wrestle not to lose,” Stuart said. “You’re just sitting there not taking any opportunities and the only opportunities available are for the other guy. That’s what happened to me. I wrestled not to lose, instead of wrestling to score points and that doesn’t win matches.”
With Stuart on the defensive, Lange capitalized with two takedowns in the third period, the final coming with 27 seconds remaining, to win a come-from-behind 8-6 decision.
Lange (36-3) believes the flurry in the third period was a result of the work he did in the second, wearing down Stuart (31-4) with his hands and constant offense.
“I just believed in my hard work that I’ve put in all season long,” Lange said. “I never doubted. It didn’t matter the time or how big the deficit was, I always believed. I just didn’t want to lose.”
If the two meet again in next week’s state tournament at Hartmen Arena, Stuart says he won’t make the same mistake.
“There’s nothing that keeps me from thinking I’m not going to win a state title next week,” said Stuart, a two-time state champion. “I’ve prepared the same way I have every other year I’ve taken home the gold, so I’m as confident as I’ve ever been.”
Lange and Stuart’s title match was competitive and entertaining, not always a combination found on Saturday when the top-ranked wrestler won 13 of the 14 divisions.
The lone upset was the most entertaining match of the day, as Arkansas City’s Marcus Robinson, ranked No. 2, won a 15-4 major decision over Goddard’s Logan Pirl, ranked No. 1, in the 126 final.
Robinson, who lost to Pirl less than a month ago, scored a takedown eight seconds into the match and continued that type of aggressive attack to dominate the match, nearly pinning Pirl on multiple occasions.
“I felt like I had something to prove with that match,” Robinson said. “I lost to him earlier and I wanted to come back firing. I knew if I wrestled a full six minutes, then no one can hang with me.”
Goddard qualified 13 wrestlers — its 14th lost in overtime in his match to qualify —and sent eight to the finals with Lange (145), Kameron Frame (152), Kendall Frame (160), Troy Fisher (170), and Cale Davidson (195) winning. The Lions won the team title with 263 1/2 points, topping Arkansas City (10 qualifiers) with 202 and Valley Center (12 qualifiers) with 194 1/2.
“I don’t know what other team could score 200 points in a regional and take second,” Ark City coach Greg Buckbee said. “That’s what happens when you have a great team like Goddard, though.”
Goddard coach Brett Means made sure his team wasn’t satisfied with its superb performance on Saturday.
“Don’t let this be the best thing you accomplish all year,” Means told his No. 1-ranked team in search of its third straight title. “We’ve got to stay focused for next week.”
Newton’s Wyatt Hendrickson, 31-5 and ranked No. 2, continued his meteoric rise this season in the 182 division by winning the regional title via an 8-2 decision over Salina Central’s Taylon Peters.
“That’s a kid that pinned us earlier in the season, but Wyatt is just on a different level now,” Newton coach Tommy Edgmon said. “He’s just continued to get better and better and his confidence is going up. He put a stamp on it today.”
For Valley Center coach Tate Lowe, he was most proud of senior Chase Holle winning a 4-3 decision over Newton’s Cyle Gautschi to capture the 220 championship. It was the first tournament win of the season for Holle (32-6).
“More than anything for him, it’s a maturity thing,” Lowe said. He’s really grown up mentally the last year. He’s always been an athletic, physical kid, but now he’s got the mental side of things down and that’s why he’s seeing more success.”
Other local regional champions were Kapaun Mount Carmel’s Michael Spangler (106), Newton’s Logan Treaster (120), Ark City’s Jake Beeson (138), and Ark City’s Tyler Shannon (285).
Team scores—1. Goddard 263½; 2. Arkansas City 202; 3. Valley Center 194½; 4. Newton 132; 5. Kapaun Mount Carmel 122½; 6. Andover 115; 7. Great Bend 101½; 8. Bishop Carroll 94; 9. Emporia 90; 10. Salina Central 88½; 11. Maize 78; 12. Liberal 74; 13. Salina South 69; 14. Eisenhower 31; 15. Heights 30; 16. Topeka West 21.
106—1. Spangler, Kapaun, maj. dec. Buckbee, Ark City, 10-1; 3. G. Treaster, Newton, maj. dec. Liles, Great Bend, 10-0; 5. Henschel, Goddard, pinned Kirk, Valley Center, 2:56; 7. Camacho, Maize, dec. Copeland, Salina South, 5-3.
113—1. Burgoon, Salina Central, dec. C. Robinson, Ark City, 6-4; 3. Nold, Valley Center, tech fall Gottschalk, Carroll, 17-1; 5. Le, Kapaun, maj dec. Lu. Glover, Goddard, 11-3; 7. Schooler, Great Bend, dec. Jellison, T. West, 6-1.
120—1. L. Treaster, Newton, dec. Spexarth, Goddard, 5-1; 3. Turkali, Valley Center, dec. Guyer, Andover, 6-1; 5. Vazquez, Great Bend, pinned Gann, Carroll, 0:29; 7. Ochoa, Salina South, forfeit.
126—1. Ma. Robinson, Ark City, maj. dec. Pirl, Goddard, 15-4; 3. Gomez, Valley Center, dec. Campbell, Maize, 3-1; 5. Sandoval, Emporia, dec. Trowbridge, Newton, 8-2; 7. Weber, Great Bend, dec. Metler, Kapaun, 6-2.
132—1. Vogan, Salina South, dec. La. Glover, Goddard, 4-3; 3. Mo. Robinson, Ark City, dec. O’Donnell, Kapaun, 6-3; 5. Roberson, Newton, dec. Montoya, Great Bend, 5-0; 7. Chard, Salina Central, dec. Umana, Emporia, 10-4.
138—1. Beeson, Ark City, dec. Sander, Great Bend, 5-1; 3. Dopps, Goddard, dec. Da. Boone, Valley Center, 9-3; 5. Williams, Emporia, pinned C. Murphy, Carroll, 1:21; 7. Grantham, Maize, inj. default Peterson, T. West.
145—1. Lange, Goddard, dec. Stuart, Andover, 8-6; 3. Villalpando, Maize, dec. Hockenbury, Ark City, 7-2; 5. Peralta, Liberal, dec. Williams, Emporia, 2-1; 7. Fritz, Great Bend, maj. dec. Wheeler, Eisenhower, 11-2.
152—1. Ka. Frame, Goddard, tech fall D. Boone, Valley Center, 17-1; 3. Will, Salina Central, dec. Watters, Ark City, 7-3; 5. Heberly, Salina South, dec. Gummeringer, Andover, 8-2; 7. Muir, Kapaun, pinned Dugan, Carroll, 2:55.
160—1. Ke. Frame, Goddard, dec. Maki, Andover, 7-2; 3. T. Boone, Valley Center, dec. Delgado, Emporia, 3-1; 5. R. Murphy, Carroll, pinned Martinez, Liberal, 4:26; 7. Fitzmeier, Maize, dec. Orange, Heights, 1-0.
170—1. Fisher, Goddard, dec. Bockover, Carroll, 5-1; 3. Mills, Kapaun, dec. Stoffel, Valley Center, 6-2; 5. Staehr, Andover, dec. Baker, Emporia, 7-6; 7. Burse, Salina Central, pinned Greening, Eisenhower, 1:29.
182—1. Hendrickson, Newton, dec. Peters, Salina Central, 8-2; 3. Andres, Goddard, pinned Scott, Heights, 0:43; 5. Monarrez, Liberal, dec. Schillings, Andover, 2-1; 7. Smith, Salina South, maj. dec. Lewis, Valley Center, 9-0.
195—1. Davidson, maj. dec. Weldon, Valley Center, 11-0; 3. Phelps, Kapaun, dec. Bautista, Liberal, 7-5; 5. Beer, Newton, dec. Miller, Ark City, 5-1; 7. Flax, Eisenhower, pinned Farney, Maize, 2:15.
220—1. Holle, Valley Center, dec. Gautschi, Newton, 4-3; 3. Nickum, Ark City, pinned Wilson, Andover, 3:37; 5. Parks, Goddard, dec. Butts, Salina Central, 3-1; 7. Quiggle, Maize, dec. Arredondo, Carroll, SV-1 3-1.
285—1. Shannon, Ark City, dec. Trejo, Liberal, 1-0; 3. Dold, Emporia, dec. Presson, Great Bend, 6-2; 5. Riggs, Maize, pinned Lowe, Kapaun, 0:32; 7. Hallacy, Carroll, dec. Caldwell, Valley Center, 3-1.