Varsity Kansas

Area wrestling regionals loaded

There are three high school wrestling regionals in the Wichita area Saturday — two in Class 6A and one in 5A. Of the 24 teams competing, 14 are ranked in the coaches poll, with 101 individuals ranked.

That leaves six ranked teams among the five other regionals.

Goddard coach Brett Means, whose team is ranked second in 6A, has for years fought for a regional system balanced on team strength.

“Coaches in 6A and 5A have proposed a plan for two regionals with 16 teams in each and then the top eight wrestlers from each class qualify for state,” Means said. “This would solve many of the problems of some of the better wrestlers not qualifying”

The plan has never been approved by the Kansas State High School Activities Association member schools.

Goddard, Class 6A’s three-time defending champion, will participate in the Campus regional Saturday along with Garden City (ranked fourth), Hutchinson (fifth), Dodge City (eighth) and Maize (ninth).

“I tell our guys that if you place in our regional then you should place at state,” Means said.

The other area 6A regional is at East, which has top-ranked Heights and third-ranked Derby. Also in the field is seventh-ranked Manhattan and Junction City, which has been in the rankings off and on.

“We don’t spend any time worrying about the depth of our regional, because if we did then we would be looking for an excuse and promoting weakness,” Derby coach Bill Ross said. “We know we better be ready for the next two weeks because if we aren’t, then it won’t matter what regional we are in.”

Class 5A’s regional strength is in Arkansas City, where five of the class’ top 10 teams are in the field, including top-ranked Andover Central and third-ranked Kapaun Mount Carmel. The host school, ranked seventh, defeated Goddard earlier in the season.

“Last year, we had pretty much the same regional and it produced six state champions,” Kapaun coach Tim Dryden said. “We try to stress that to the kids and keep them focused on what can happen if you get past regionals.”