Tonganoxie trio punch tickets to state meet
Wyatt Coffin pulled through.
The Tonganoxie High junior wrestler just missed out on a state berth during his freshman and sophomore years, falling one win short at regionals of qualifying for state.
Last Saturday at the Class 4A regionals in Holton, the junior notched that elusive third victory and earned a berth in the state tournament, which will be Friday and Saturday at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.
Coffin, Matt Brock and Cameron Adcox all qualified for state for the first time Saturday.
"I'm really pleased and happy for those three," THS coach Jeremy Goebel said. "They earned it and worked their tails off."
As a team, Tonganoxie finished fifth. Clay Center, ranked No. 1 in the state, won the regional with a commanding 297.5 points.
Coffin opened regionals with a 9-5 loss to Topeka-Hayden's Raymond Gragg.
However, Coffin bounced back with three straight wins -- all pins -- against Royal Valley's Jacob Luthi, Bishop Ward's Aaron Bialek and Jeff West's Chris Kirk.
Those victories advanced Coffin to the consolation finals.
"I was just nervous," Coffin said. "It was just going through my mind 'if I don't win, I don't go nowhere.'"
Coffin was guaranteed a state berth by advancing to the consolation finals. In that match, he lost to Concordia's Isaac Rothfuss, in a major decision, 10-2.
"It's great I made it to state, but I would have rather had third at regionals to make it to state," Coffin said. "I did accomplish what I wanted."
And now he's off to Salina and the state tournament. Coffin, a junior, enters state with a 21-20 record. He will face Fort Scott senior Dakota Hall, who is 36-2. Coffin has attended state before, but never competed.
"I'm just happy to go there," Coffin said. "It's going to be awesome to be out there on the mat. I've been wanting to go since my freshman year. I went to watch Ross Starcher there his senior year. And I watched Hammer (sophomore Kevin Hamm) last year.
Although Hamm qualified as a freshman last year, he won't be returning to state. He pinned Concordia's Nathan Sicard in his first match at regionals, but was pinned by Royal Valley's Jarod Ribelin in the next round. In an elimination match, he lost a heartbreaker, 1-0, to Jeff West's Nathan Martin.
Brock captures second
Brock was the lone Tonganoxie wrestler to advance to the championship match. He advanced to the finals in the 130-pound division by pinning Piper's Kevin Palmer and Holton's Logan Mosier before earning a 7-5 decision against Clay Center's Gage Huffman.
In the finals, Brock fell to Concordia's Jake Hoesli with 40 seconds left in the first round and had to settle for a second-place finish at regionals. Hoesli is ranked No. 6 in the state.
"My main goal is to just qualify for state," Brock said.
The sophomore missed out on a state bid his rookie season last year, but he will make his debut Friday when he wrestles Anderson County junior Izaac Winter, who is 23-8. Brock enters state with a 38-5 record.
In the regional finals at Holton, a large light suspended from the ceiling shined on the championship mat. It was the only light that was charged in the otherwise pitch-black gymnasium. Before the finals, the Holton High School Drum Line also performed. They performed in near darkness as well. Their percussion instruments were decorated with neon strands.
"I thought it was cool," Brock said about the championship activities. "It reminded me of a boxing match or something in a movie. It was really neat. It gives it another effect."
He'll be on an even bigger stage this week at the Bicentennial Center. But Brock said he's not nervous.
"I went with Kevin Hamm last year," Brock said. "I've seen how all the pressure is and how the competition is. I have a good chance to do pretty good."
Adcox continues late-season surge
Adcox admitted he didn't wrestle well Friday at the Holton regional.
He defeated Wamego's Jesse Hatfield in the first round of the 285-pound division, but by a slim 5-4 margin. He then lost to Clay Center's Travis Blackwood -- the eventual champion -- by fall.
But on Saturday, he returned to the form he's been more accustomed to as of late.
The junior pinned Hiawatha's Andrew Kleopfer in just under a minute and then Wamego's Jesse Hatfield late in the first period, for a third-place finish. The medal followed up his championship at the Kaw Valley League meet the previous weekend in Shawnee.
Adcox also will be making his first state appearance. The junior didn't wrestle last year and was out half of his freshman year with an injury. And, he was sidelined earlier this year with a broken wrist but bounced back.
"I was off last year, so it feels really, really great to have a whole year off and be able to go to state," Adcox said. "Hopefully I can compete there, be one of the few Tongie people (in school history) to place, and just enjoy it."
Goebel has taken note of his rising heavyweight.
"His presence this year on our team has been felt," Goebel said. "He's done a tremendous job filling our heavyweight spot and wrestling tough.
"I really believe any of our kids going down there has a chance to bring some hardware back. As you know, at the state tournament, it's quality, not quantity, as we've found in previous years."
Adcox, now 15-6, will take on Clearwater junior Spencer Hilley (24-6) in the first round at state.
Chieftains improve on last year's finish
Last year, Tonganoxie finished 13th out of 15 teams at a 4A regional in Eudora.
Saturday, THS finished in fifth place out of 15 teams with 97 points, the Chieftains' best regional finish in the past few years.
After Friday's competition, Tonganoxie stood in second place with 10 wrestlers advancing to Saturday's matches.
Included in that field were seniors Jonathan Ferris and Derek Parrett, but the two couldn't qualify for state during Saturday's competition.
Ferris opened the tournament with a win against Holton's Micah Harman in the 140-pound class but lost to Royal Valley's Daven Meng and Marysville's Gavin Johnson, ending his career at THS. Ferris finished the season at 19-16.
Parrett, meanwhile, had a 3-2 record at regionals but needed one more win to qualify for state at 215.
He lost to Marysville's Jordan Beckman in the consolation semifinals, 8-3. Parrett's season ends at 20-16.
Goebel said the program made strides with last weekend's efforts.
"It's just one of those things in building a tradition," Goebel said. "In order to get past that hump, everybody's got to start it and finish it the same way.
"We had a taste of greatness on Day 1. Today (Saturday) there were a couple times things were going our way."
For updates from state, log on to The Mirror's Web site, www.tonganoxiemirror.com.
Final team scores
Clay Center 297.5
Royal Valley 166.5
Jeff West 75.5
Bishop Ward 39