All the miles on the road are what Curtis and Darryl Rylant remember the most about their childhood.
Ever since a 4-year-old Curtis came home from pre-school clutching a flier, the Rylant boys have been wrestlers. That meant the duty of driving them to their practices and out-of-state tournaments belonged to their father, Curtis, Sr.
All those miles have been floating around the minds of all the Rylants a lot more this season. Curtis Jr. is now a senior at Clearwater and the No. 1-ranked wrestler in Class 4A in the 182-pound division, while Darryl, a freshman, has ascended to No. 2 at 106.
On Saturday night at the Class 4A regional tournament in Rose Hill, both Rylants became champions when Darryl won a 7-3 decision over Andover Central’s Jake Patch and Curtis won a 3-1 decision over Andale’s Davon Spexarth.
“This is why we did all of those roads and all of those highway miles,” their father said. “I can’t explain what it meant to see them both wrestle on the same mat and both become champions. This is the payoff, right here.”
The brothers are a combined 65-2 this season, which older brother Curtis says has made this season his favorite of his four years at Clearwater.
Since losing in the state championship match last February, Curtis has been focused on returning and this time standing on top of the podium.
“I want to be a champion,” he said. “That’s my dream.”
Watching Curtis work his way to the top of the state rankings the last three years has been an inspiration to Darryl.
“He makes me want to live up to my potential,” Darryl said. “I just want to follow in his footsteps. I want to be like him.”
Lujan registers major upset – Just one year ago, Miguel Lujan had to lose 35 pounds and find a way to keep it off just to make weight in the heavyweight division.
On Saturday, Lujan scored the upset of the tournament when he scored a takedown in the first period against previously-undefeated Austin King of Circle and held on for a 3-2 decision in the championship match.
“That’s the kid I’ve been wanting to see the most all year,” Lujan said. “This is the happiest I’ve been in … ever.”
Lujan desperately wanted a rematch after King defeated him in the Wellington tournament, even dislocating his shoulder on a slam in the process.
This time Lujan maintained inside control and avoided any slip-ups in the final two periods to register the win he’s been working toward ever since he committed himself to losing the weight.
“I just stuck with it and saw it through to the end,” Lujan said. “Now I’m here and I think it’s worked out pretty well.”
El Dorado wins team title – The regional featured half of the state-ranked teams and proved balanced enough to prevent any of them from loading up on qualifications. But El Dorado came out in front, qualifying seven wrestlers to state and winning the regional title by edging Pratt with 154 team points.
“We didn’t get as many as we wanted in,” El Dorado coach Wes Reynolds said. “But our biggest thing is that we have kids that will not only go there, but they’re the ones that should go in there and place for us. I think we still have a shot at being in the top three.”
Dakota Motter (145), Reno Hughey (152), Matt Triboletti (170), and Cameron Hunt (220) all advanced to the finals with Motter, Triboletti, and Hunt winning their respective divisions. Triboletti and Hunt each registered an upset along the way to snag the top seed from the regional.
Hughey, ranked first in his weight class, suffered just his second loss of the season in the finals to Mario Rodriguez of Ulysses.
Gentzler doesn’t make weight – Andover Central junior Gunner Gentzler, the third-ranked 120-pound wrestler in 4A, was slated to wrestle in the championship match, but failed to make weight on Friday night and was disqualified from the tournament.
Gentzler’s spot will not be filled at the state tournament, as it will left as a bye in the first round.
The Jaguars, which entered ranked fifth, did qualify six to the state tournament and had regional champions in Bryant Page (126) and Dakota Rodd (160).
Other notables – Andale couldn’t keep pace with other highly-ranked teams and qualified just five wrestlers to state, although Zach Eck (132) and Anthony Capul (195) were regional champions.
Other local teams sending wrestlers to state were Mulvane (five), Augusta (four), Winfield (three), Circle (two), and Rose Hill (one).
Team – 1. El Dorado 154; 2. Pratt 146.5; 3. Andover Central 134; 4. Clearwater 122; 5. Mulvane 103.5; 6. Andale 103; 7. Ulysses 95; 8. Winfield 85; 9. Augusta 84; 10. Circle 51; 11. Holcomb 44; 12. Rose Hill 42.5; 13. Hugoton 41; 14. Wellington 34; 15. Trinity Academy 2.
106–1. D. Rylant, Clearwater, dec. Patch, A. Central, 7-3; 3. Sadowski, El Dorado, dec. C. Weber, Andale, 7-3; 113–1. Pelland, Pratt, pinned George, Augusta, 1:28; 3. J. Weber, Andale, maj. dec. Reddick, Clearwater, 11-1; 120–1. Balderrama, Pratt, bye; 3. Atkinson, Rose Hill, dec. Flores, Holcomb, 1-0; 126–1. Page, A. Central, pinned Ledford, Winfield, 3:34; 3. Riner, Pratt, dec. Thomas, Clearwater, 8-3; 132–1. Eck, Andale, maj. dec. Smith, Winfield, 13-2; 3. Moore, Augusta, dec. Dan. Rodd, A. Central, 6-0; 138–1. Ordonez, Hugoton, tech. fall Johnson, Holcomb, 17-2; 3. Herman, El Dorado, dec. Longshaw, Circle, 6-4; 145–1. Motter, El Dorado, pinned Scantlin, Mulvane, 1:15; 3. Lucas, Pratt, maj. dec. Long, Clearwater, 8-0; 152–1. Rodriguez, Ulysses, dec. Hughey, El Dorado, 9-7; 3. Winzer, Augusta, dec. Parker, Mulvane, 5-1; 160–1. Dak. Rodd, A. Central, pinned Cusick, Mulvane, 1:56; 3. Morgan, El Dorado, dec. Henderson, Clearwater, 8-1; 170–1. Triboletti, El Dorado, dec. Baird, Pratt, 6-2; 3. Elliott, Mulvane, dec. Rodriguez, Holcomb, 6-4; 182–1. C. Rylant, Clearwater, dec. Spexarth, Andale, 3-1; 3. Schoonover, A. Central, pinned Lamatsch, Pratt, 0:58; 195–1. Capul, Andale, dec. Maravilla, Ulysses, 7-3; 3. Viravong, Winfield, pinned Lehman, A. Central, 0:49; 220–1. Hunt, El Dorado, dec. Edwards, Augusta, 6-5; 3. Jorns, Mulvane, pinned Luna, Hugoton, 0:33; 285–1. Lujan, Wellington, dec. King, Circle, 3-2; 3. Ochoa, Ulysses, pinned Simmons, Pratt, 1:26.