Varsity Kansas has introduced a new series, Moment of the Year. The series will highlight the top moment or performance from the 2017-18 high school sports season for each of the Wichita-area schools. And now, the Goddard Lions.
Goddard was already a wrestling dynasty. A fourth straight state championship in 2018 only put the Lions in more rare air.
And they did it in a way no other Kansas high school team has.
Goddard scored a state-record 250.5 team points. Valley Center finished second at 125. The margin between first and second would have been good enough to earn a runner-up finish. It was the largest margin of victory since before 2006.
The Lions had five individual state champions, and each had his own story.
Junior Troy Fisher won his first state title at 170 pounds. He finished the season with a 49-0 record and won every match by fall, including the final against Valley Center senior Tyler Boone. Fisher was named Wrestler of the Year and spent the shortest amount of time on the mat of any 5A champion.
Senior Austin Andres came into the state tournament without a regional title but won state at 182 pounds. He beat Salina Central’s Taylon Peters 4-1 in the first tiebreaker period.
Fellow senior Garrett Lange was another Lion to finish the season without a loss. He went 25-0 and won the 160-pound class with a 9-2 decision over Shawnee Heights Jake Patterson.
Senior Logan Pirl wasn’t one of the odds-on favorites at 132 pounds, and that motivated him throughout the bracket. He won his title with a 3-1 decision over Maize’s Aidan Campbell, who beat him at the regional meet.
And Jason Henschel proved the future is in good hands. Henschel, a sophomore, won the 106 class with a 6-2 decision over Mill Valley’s Zach Keal.
Goddard sent 13 wrestlers to state, the most of any 5A team. Six of them reached the finals. At 46.2 percent, that was the second-most efficient team with more than one qualifier.
Only one Goddard wrestler did not finish in the top five in his weight class.
Other Top 5 Finishes: Lucas Glover, 2nd, 113 pounds ... Jace Fisher, 3rd, 126 pounds ... Cayleb Atkins, 5th, 138 pounds ... Nolan Craine, 3rd, 145 pounds ... Trevor Dopps, 5th, 152 pounds ... Cayden Atkins, 4th, 195 pounds ... Trenton Willert, 3rd, 220 pounds
Other Key Moments
- Goddard football reaches the Class 5A semifinals. The Lions beat Salina Central, Andover and Eisenhower by a combined 153-33 before losing to Carroll 29-17.
- Goddard softball reaches the 5A tournament for the third time in the past four years with a regional championship. The Lions fell to Mill Valley in the quarterfinals.
- The Lions volleyball team finishes fourth at state after a sub-state championship and wins against Leavenworth and Andover at the state tournament. Goddard fell to St. James Academy in the semifinals.
- Goddard’s Kade Hackerott finishes second in the girls 5A shot put with a 39-foot-7.25 toss. She was a touch over a foot behind a state title.