Hardware for Hartshorn
THS senior becomes fifth wrestler in school history to medal at state after sixth-place finish in Wichita
The state wrestling tournament dragged on for Tonganoxie on Friday.
At around 6 a.m., wrestlers arrived at the Kansas Coliseum in Wichita and didn't head back to their motel until 11 p.m.
That long stay seemed tougher to take early. Despite James Hartshorn's exciting double overtime victory in his opening round, the senior was the only Chieftain to advance in the championship bracket. After the first round was complete, Tonganoxie had Hartshorn's lone win, compared to five losses.
But as the clock wound into the evening, Tonganoxie found some encouragement it didn't enjoy last season.
Besides Hartshorn, no THS wrestler scored a win at last year's state tournament, but that changed Friday evening.
In the losers bracket, the Chieftains nabbed three first-round victories -- Ross Starcher in the 135, Matt Weyer in the 171 and Chuck Riddle in the 189. Garrett Palmer was eliminated in the consolation's first round, while Andrew Miller couldn't escape a pin from Wellington's Derek Scott just seven seconds into the second period of their consolation match, finishing the season at 29-12.
Hartshorn joined his fellow Chieftains in the consolation bracket with a loss to Goodland's Jordan Bedore. The two-time defending champion pinned Hartshorn with 27 seconds left in the first period.
Before losing to Bedore, though, Hartshorn held on in his first match against Santa Fe Trail's Dustin DeWitt, whom Hartshorn defeated twice earlier in the regular season.
The wrestlers were knotted at 2 going into double overtime. In the up position for the second OT, Hartshorn rode DeWitt for the required 30 seconds and won the 2-2 decision.
"I've never seen that close of a match in double overtime," THS assistant coach Scott Underwood said. "It was unbelievable."
Hartshorn also won his first match last year at state, but this year's bout came with a price. The senior roughed up his right shoulder, which plagued him throughout the rest of his competitions.
Despite the nagging arm, Hartshorn still made his way through the consolation bracket Saturday before finishing sixth with losses to Marysville's Ryan Friederichs (pin, 3:14) and Atchison's Lance Gasper (dec, 7-3).
Against Gasper, Hartshorn's shoulder was basically kaput.
"I couldn't pull on that leg because it hurt so bad," Hartshorn.
The senior still made his way into the THS record book. The sixth-place finish made him just the fifth Chieftain wrestler to medal at state.
That didn't satisfy Hartshorn, who could have been the school's highest medallist with a third-place finish.
"I'm still disappointed," Hartshorn said. "I should have been a lot higher."
Starcher, a fellow state returner, won a match in the consolation bracket against Burlington's Nolan Strowder with a 10-0 decision. That win marked his first at state after going 0-2 last season. Starcher was later eliminated by Coffeyville's Bobby Tracy by fall with eight seconds left in the first period of their match.
Palmer, Riddle, Weyer and Miller all tasted their first state competitions last weekend.
For Palmer, the large stage took some getting used to. The sophomore fell to Anderson County's Tyson Adams in the opening championship round before dropping a 15-5 decision to Columbus' Jesse Tibbles.
"I was nervous with the size of the place," Palmer said about the Kansas Coliseum. "After the first round I got used to it.
"After that, it's like any other tournament."
Palmer finished the season 27-16, while Starcher ended the year 32-8.
Riddle fell to Prairie View's Jason Matthews in the finals before claiming a victory in the consolation bracket against Ulysses' Ryan Seger with a 7-4 decision.
Piper's Nick Jobe then defeated Riddle 6-1 in the consolation second round.
Weyer also won in the second round of the consolation bracket, using an aggressive pin with six seconds left in the first period against Santa Fe Trail's Dustin Bretsnyder. Weyer then fell to Prairie View's Brandon Sommer in a 4-2 decision and finished his season at 23-13.
Tonganoxie finished the tournament in 39th place with 13 points.
Abilene won the state 4A crown with 113 points, making the Cowboys the cream of a rich North Central Kansas League crop.
Fellow NCKL members Clay Center and Concordia finished in the top 10 as well. The Tigers took fourth, while the Panthers finished tenth.
Clay Center won last year's state crown.
Columbus and Goodland tied for second in state with 100.
As for the KVL, Santa Fe Trail was 14th, Lansing 15th, Mill Valley 23rd and De Soto 27th Piper took 44th, while Perry-Lecompton finished with no points.
State tournament notes
- Jones wins again. Coffeyville's Earl Jones, last year's 125-pound champion, took this year's 130-pound crown with a 4-1 decision against Columbus' Marcus Bowman. Jones, who has one complete leg, was a crowd favorite in Wichita.
- Ark City supreme again. Arkansas City won its 18th state crown Saturday with a 5A team title. The Bulldogs finished with 132 points, compared to second-place Wichita-Bishop Carroll's 121. Salina South took thired with 116.5. Hutchinson won the 6A crown (147), while Garden City took second (136.5) and Junction City placed third (144).
- Coaching tree. If THS coach Jeremy Goebel wouldn't have been deployed in the Army National Guard, he could have coached a current wrestler against a former. Andrew Miller faced Wellington's Derek Scott in the consolation bracket Friday evening. Goebel coached at Wellington last year with Nebraska-Kearney teammate Troy Keiswetter. Goebel coached under Keiswetter while student teaching in Wellington.
- DeWitt coaches in title match. Former THS coach Bill DeWitt broke out a suit and tie for Saturday's championship finals. Now at Eudora, DeWitt coached Cardinal Mike Paxton in the 215 class against defending champion Jordan Bedore. Paxton fell 17-2 as Goodland's Bedore won his second straight title. EHS 275-pounder Shane Grant lost in last year's finals, but bowed out early this season and settled for a disappointing fifth place.
- Lone loss blues. De Soto freshman Neil Erisman and Mill Valley senior Eric Pingleton went through the season unscathed until their respective championship matches. Erisman finished 33-1 with a overtime loss to Colby's Eric Luedke. Pingleton ended his senior year 40-1 with a loss to Concordia's defending champ, senior Jacob Strait (34-1). Lansing's Troy Medill finished fourth in 160 with a 35-3 mark, while Baldwin's Kyle Flory clinched the 171 title with a 40-6 record.
- Tense moment. Clay Center's Danny Grater threw his hands up in the air with rapid "No. 1" hand gestures greeting his fans after he won the 140-pound division. But below him lay Columbus' Nick Zahm whose body jerked violently. Grater's pin left Zahm in a seizure-like state. Paramedics tended to Zahm for roughly five minutes before the wrestler sat up.