Varsity Kansas

Class 4A notes

Clay Center's trophy

Clay Center took home the team title with 129 points. It was the Tigers' fourth title in the past six seasons.

Motivational move

Don't irritate El Dorado's Dylan Walker.

Clay Center's Zach Anderson should have known that after he nearly pinned Walker in the second period. Anderson's near-fall tied the score at 4-4 and had the crowd buzzing.

Using the Clay Center-friendly crowd as motivation, Walker reeled off six straight points and won the 189-pound division 10-4 and completed an undefeated season.

"After he almost pinned me, I decided to go all-out," Walker said. "I figured since this was the last time ever wrestling in high school, I might as well leave all out on the mat."

Even with the near-fall, Walker was never worried about getting pinned. He figured Anderson would get some points but that the match was only half over, so there was plenty of time to recover.

"I noticed the other 189 guys weren't shooting for his legs," Walker said. "I thought I needed to get my shots in and it worked in the third period."

Not as fortunate

El Dorado's other finalist, Lucas Cortez at 160, lost 4-2 to Josh Hambleton of Labette County.

Hambleton nearly recorded a pin in the first period and never trailed.

"I'm irritated right now," Cortez said. "I tried really hard to turn him, but I was never able to do it."

One in three

For the second straight season, Andale, which took third place as a team, had three wrestlers in the finals. One was a championship winner.

B.J. Finney, who lost in the 285-pound final last season, pinned Luke Henning from Augusta with 53 seconds remaining in the third period.

"This means so much to me," Finney said. "I put in a lot of extra time in practice, preparing for this and I'm glad to see my hard work pay off."

It was a defensive struggle throughout the first three periods, as Finney led 1-0. But with a quick move, Finney suddenly had Henning beneath him and at last, a first-place medal around his neck.

Along with Colton Eck's second-place finish at 135, Benny Armstrong took second for the second straight year at 171.

The momentum of the match never went Armstrong's way, as he trailed 2-1 after the first period and 5-2 after the second period.

"I came in taking it one match at a time and some matches go your way and some don't and this one didn't for me," Armstrong said. "I'm disappointed because I worked the whole season to get first and to get second again stinks."

Now a champ

After finishing in the top three his first three years, Rose Hill's Zac Sparr won his elusive state title, defeating Denzell Davis of Fort Scott 8-3 at 119 pounds.

"Now that I won state, I think my whole career is a success," Sparr said. "I probably won't wrestle after this, but this is good enough for me. It's a great way to go."

Sparr jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead after two periods, thanks to using an aggressive style and not letting Davis tie him and get him on his back.

Davis took Sparr down early in the third period to cut the lead to 5-3, but Sparr answered with an escape and a takedown in the closing seconds.

"I was trying to wrestle aggressive, but at the same time I didn't want to do anything silly because he is good at throwing guys down," Sparr said. "The only way I was going to lose was if I was on my back and I wasn't going to let him do that."