Late-night heroics: Tonganoxie High boys wrestling wins regional meet after midnight Saturday at Jeff West
Wrestling postseason tournaments are one-day events this year with the COVID-19 pandemic for Kansas high schools, but Friday’s Class 4A boys regional at Jeff West technically was a two-day affair.
The tourney started Friday afternoon in Meriden, but wrestling continued into the early morning.
When all matches finally concluded around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Tonganoxie High headed home with another championship plaque and several individual qualifiers.
“Overall, the boys wrestled as well as they needed to,” said Brett Delich, THS boys coach. They did a good job. They did what they needed to. Bottom line: we qualified 10 in the substate meet.”
THS won regionals with 225 points. The Chieftains outlasted fellow Frontier League member Ottawa, which scored 175.5 for second, and Holton, the team THS finished ahead of by two points at districts, which placed third with 171.5.
“Wins are wins,” he said. “As long as you’re winning, that’s all that matters. At this point in the year, it’s survive and advance.”
Tonganoxie’s 10 wrestlers heading on to substate this Friday are: sophomore Brock Coleman (first at 106), freshman Braeden Moore (first at 113), junior Grayson Sonntag (first at 126), freshman Noah Bailey (third at 132), senior Nick Lawson (third at 138), senior Derek Duffett (second at 145), junior Gabe Bailey (first at 152), freshman Colton Brusven (second at 160), sophomore Hunter Benedict (third at 182) and senior Branden Martin (first at 195).
Connor Bruch (fifth at 170) and Cooper Jones (fifth at 285) also placed at regionals, but the top four at regionals in each weight class advance to substate. Bruch finished the season at 13-11, while Jones finished at 8-16. Both were juniors this season.
Qualifiers will compete Saturday at a 4A substate in Chanute. Matches are set to start at noon that day. Here are records of substate qualifiers: Coleman, 14-3; Moore, 12-1; Sonntag, 20-0; Noah Bailey, 21-5; Lawson, 17-7; Duffett, 15-5; Gabe Bailey, 24-1; Brusven, 14-8; Benedict, 11-4; and Martin, 23-2.
The top four qualifiers in each weight class at each 4A substate (McPherson is hosting the other substate Saturday) will advance to the state tournament, which is Feb. 27 at the Tony’s Pizza Event Center in Salina. State will have eight-person brackets.