Five defending champions staged successful defenses of their City League wrestling titles Saturday, but probably no one’s journey has been longer from last year to this title than Northwest junior Devin Onwugbufor.
Returning from an ACL injury, Onwugbufor took a 7-3 decision in the 126-pound final over Southeast’s Kaylon Kirkwood at the City League meet at North High.
“I had a torn ACL and torn MCL, so I just got back,” he said. “This is my second tournament back.”
Onwugbufor has made the most of his return, compiling an 11-0 record as the Grizzlies head into regionals next weekend at Hutchinson.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
“There’s a lot of good kids in there (regionals), so I’m going to have to go in and wrestle my heart out,” said Onwugbufor. “I’m feeling awesome. My conditioning is up, and I’m just ready to go.”
Northwest coach Eric Prichard was relieved to get Onwugbufor back, and not a moment too soon.
“He’s working hard, and we knew he wouldn’t get back until right about the Andover tournament, so we knew we’d get him back, we knew we just wanted him to be ready to go,” Prichard said.
“He’s looking good.”
Kapaun Mount Carmel won the team title, making it a sweep to go with winning the duals portion of the City League season.
Sparked by Michael Spangler’s victory at 113, the Crusaders held off both Northwest and South.
Spangler will go back to 106 for regionals, where he is the defending Class 5A champion. He was voted the meet’s top wrestler.
“It’s going to be tough,” Spangler said of the regional next weekend at Goddard.
Northwest heavyweight Joey Gilbertson improved his mark to 27-2 with a pin of South’s Trenton Willert just 18 seconds into the final match.
“He’s waited three years for this, because he was behind of one of our kids who was City League champion last year, Jared Ross, and he’s waited his turn,” Prichard said. “He’s taking every advantage of it right now.”
Team scores – 1. Kapaun Mount Carmel, 183.0; 2. South, 157.0; 3. Northwest, 152.5; 4. Bishop Carroll, 112.0; 5. Southeast, 100.0; 6. East, 94.0; 7. Heights, 82.0; 8. West, 51.0; 9. North, 26.0.
106 – Phipps, Kapaun, pinned Terrell, Southeast, 1:34; 113 – Spangler, Kapaun, pinned Gottschalk, Bishop Carroll, 2:36; 120 – Wilson, South, pinned Andrade, Southeast, 5:14; 126 – Onwugbufor, Northwest, dec. Kirkwood, Southeast, 7-3; 132 – O’Donnell, Kapaun, def. Robinson, Northwest, 11-11 , ultimate tiebreaker; 138 – C. Murphy, Bishop Carroll, dec. Flores, South, 3-2; 145 – Powell, South, dec. Loerke, East, 3-1 (OT); 152 – Baker, Northwest, pinned Huggins, East, 5:23; 160 – R. Murphy, Bishop Carroll, dec. Stevens, West, 7-2; 170 – Mills, Kapaun, dec. Bockover, Bishop Carroll, 4-2; 182 – Scott, Heights, pinned, Jones, East, 3:38; 195 – Birch, South, dec. Phelps, Kapaun, 6-5; 220 – Arehart, South, pinned Hicks, Northwest, 1:44; 285 – Gilbertson, Northwest, pinned Willert, South, 0:18.