Freshman lone Tonganoxie wrestler to qualify for state
A rookie will be representing Tonganoxie at the Class 4A state wrestling tournament Friday.
Freshman Kevin Hamm, at 103 pounds, was Tonganoxie's lone state qualifier last Saturday at the 4A Eudora Regional.
Hamm finished fourth after losing to Osawatomie's Westin Shay in the consolation finals.
The top four placers at regionals advance to state, which will be at Salina's Bicentennial Center.
Hamm became Tonganoxie's first wrestler since 2002 to advance to state as a freshman.
That year, Ross Starcher and Andy Koontz advanced to state as freshmen.
"It feels pretty good," Hamm said. "I've been wrestling for a while. If I didn't do it, I was going to be pretty mad."
Hamm will enter Friday's state tournament with a 19-21 record. He will face Labette County's Taylor Dwyer in the first round. Dwyer, a sophomore for the Grizzlies, is 30-7.
THS coach Jeremy Goebel likes Hamm's chances at state. The 103 division, according to Goebel, is wide-open.
"At his weight, it's a pretty even field," Goebel said.
The fourth-year THS coach said he was proud of his young wrestler advancing to Salina.
"That's awesome," Goebel said. "It's well-deserved. It's hard to go to state as a sophomore and he's a freshman."
Coming into the season, Hamm set goals for himself -- including a state berth.
"First of all I wanted to do the best I could," Hamm said. "And after that I wanted to go to state."
Unfortunately for the Chieftains, THS couldn't qualify more wrestlers for state.
Seniors Jacob Ferris and Jeff Frank finished theirs careers at Eudora. Both wrestlers were defeated short of the consolation finals. Frank ended his senior campaign with a 22-20 record, Ferris ended his final season at 8-29.
Sophomore Travis Adcox was one win away from qualifying for the state tournament. He fell to Miles Cleveland by an 8-3 decision. Adcox finished with a 21-16 mark.
Overall, the Chieftains finished the tournament 13th out of 15 teams with 36.5 points. Baldwin won the tournament with 183.
Goebel had envisioned his team finishing eighth or ninth in the tournament, but the Chieftains finished lower after qualifying one grappler for state.
"I thought we'd do a lot better," Goebel said. "We're a young team. At the end of the year, I thought we were coming around."
But Goebel is happy to have Hamm competing at state. And, he hopes his team's regional losses will motivate his grapplers in the off-season.
"I think it's a good thing for our young wrestlers, to realize that they have to be dedicated to the sport in the off-season to prepare for state," Goebel said.
Regional team scores
1. Baldwin, 183; 2. Prairie View, 175; 3. Fort Scott, 147.5; 4. Eudora, 128.5; 5. Louisburg, 117.5; 6. Bishop Ward, 87.5; 7. Basehor-Linwood, 77; 8. Spring Hill, 76.5; 9. Osawatomie, 71; 10. Anderson County, 69; 11. Sumner, 51; 12. Bonner Springs, 51; 13. Tonganoxie, 36.5; 14. De Soto, 33; 15. Piper, 20.