GODDARD — The inaugural installment of Sub-State wrestling commenced Saturday for the No. 3-ranked Arkansas City Bulldogs at the home of six-time reigning state champion and No. 1-ranked Goddard.
COVID-19 restrictions caused the Kansas State High School Activities Association to change the format for postseason wrestling from traditional Regional and State weekends to adding a third Sub-State round the week before State.
Grapplers endured a shortened regular season, a league tournament and a regional tourney, but had the challenge of qualifying for State with one more 16-team tournament. Of course, with that comes the very real possibility that many quality wrestlers won’t make it to the Big Show, especially when the No. 1 team in the state is on the docket.
“That is exactly why we went to two super-regionals several years ago,” ACHS coach Greg Buckbee said. “I understand why they did it this year, but it is unfortunate.”
The Bulldogs advanced eight wrestlers to Sub-State and placed third behind the host Lions and No. 5-ranked Maize.
The top four placers at each weight class qualified for the KSHSAA Class 5A State Championships, set for this Friday at Hartman Arena in Park City. Due to the addition of sub-state, State turned into a one-day meet.
“I have been going to two-day State Championships since 1977 -- not sure how they did it before that,” Buckbee said. “This is the first time since 1984 there has been two qualifying tournaments to get to state and an eight-man bracket, and I was a (high school) senior.”
ACHS junior 132-pounder Jevin Foust has been turning heads of late after upsetting No. 1-ranked Slade Adam of Salina Central on Feb. 4 at a home dual.
Foust found himself in the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association rankings following the upset, settling in at No. 6, knocking Adam down to No. 3.
The two grapplers surely will reverse position in the rankings heading into State next week.
Foust duplicated the feat Saturday with a 4-3 triumph in the championship semifinals.
Adam scored a takedown midway through the first period, but Foust got an escape.
Taking the bottom to start the second period, Foust tied it with an escape to send it into the third period tied.
Foust scored the winning takedown with 1:21 remaining.
Foust advanced to the title match against No. 2-ranked Zach Wessley of Goddard. Wessley reached the title bout by pinning No. 4-ranked Camden Padgett of Maize.
For those counting, that’s four of the six ranked wrestlers from the same Sub-State.
Foust gave up a reversal in the second period, but got it right back. Foust chose to start the third period on the bottom and finally got the escape he was looking for with 10 seconds on the clock in a thrilling 3-2 finish.
Foust will take a 25-8 record into the Big Show.
Junior Trig Tennant kept his undefeated streak intact at 160, but he had to work for it.
The No. 1-ranked grappler in 5A and All-Classes, Tennant met No. 2-ranked Cayleb Atkins of Goddard for the title.
Atkins wasn’t able to compete this season until last weekend’s Regionals, but was 5A State runner-up a year ago.
Tennant gained a second-period reversal, but they entered the third period tied. Tennant chose the bottom and took the match-winning escape point with 24 seconds left.
Another brutal weight class saw Tennant roll to a 13-5 major decision in the semifinals against No. 4-ranked Conner Padgett of Maize. Atkins squeaked out a 2-0 decision against No. 5-ranked Matthew Morrell of Bishop Carroll.
Tennant is 33-0 entering the State meet.
Sophomore Wyatt Bahm advanced to the title match at 152.
Ranked No. 4, Bahm lost to No. 1-ranked Jace Fisher of Goddard via 7-1 decision in the title bout.
Bahm (25-10) punched his ticket to the Show with a pin of Salina South’s Seth Miller and an 8-0 major decision against Dalton Dale of Hays.
Senior Kael Pappan, ranked No. 1 at 120, was upset 4-2 in overtime by No. 2-ranked Bubba Wright of Kapaun Mt. Carmel in the title bout.
Pappan grabbed a takedown 35 seconds into the match, and it stayed that way through a contentious third period that included cautions and stalling.
Wright got a takedown with four seconds remaining to send the match into overtime before falling in the extra session.
It was just the second loss of the season for Pappan (26-2), who defeated No. 3-ranked Colin Bybee of Newton in a 3-1 decision in the semifinals.
Wright topped No. 4-ranked Daniel Gomez of Maize 10-2 in the other semifinal.
Ironically, Andover’s Adam Maki (24-9), ranked sixth in the state, will miss the State tourney after falling 8-3 to Gomez in the first round.
ACHS senior heavyweight Max Shannon, ranked No. 2 in 5A and No. 6 in All-Classes, battled back from a semifinal loss to take home third place.
Shannon (16-3) was upset by Salina South’s Kayson Dietz, but pinned Goddard’s Braydon Wickliffe and eked out a 1-0 decision against Derek Yuza of Goddard-Eisenhower for the bronze medal.
Ark City senior Sammy Dickey’s season ended despite a fourth-place ranking at 126.
Dickey (23-11) opened with a pin of No. 6-ranked Phoenix Rothenberger of Goddard in the first round, but fell to No. 1-ranked Alyeus Craig of Valley Center, sending Dickey to the backside.
One win from clinching a State berth, Dickey was stunned with an 8-3 loss to Clayton Bowers of Maize in the elimination match, eventually finishing sixth.
“When you eliminate half of the state qualifiers, it makes every round that much tougher,” Buckbee noted.
ACHS senior Kyler Horton (20-11) ended his season with an 0-2 record at 138. Senior Wyatt Biddle (17-16) went 0-2 at 145.
“As always, the Bulldog wrestlers left everything on the mat. We came up short in a few weights, but it was not from a lack of effort,” Buckbee said. “They wrestled their tails off. Jevin and Trig had a great tournament. Kael, Wyatt and Maximus came up a bit short. All five of them will train hard this week and will be ready for state title runs on Friday.”
Class 5A Sub-State Championships
Saturday at Goddard High School
Team Scores — 1. Goddard 206; 2. Maize 131.5; 3. Arkansas City 101; 4. Newton 78; 5. Great Bend 67; 6. Kapaun Mt. Carmel 66; 7t. Andover 65; 7t. Bishop Carroll 65; 9. Valley Center 47.5; 10. Hays 46; 11. Salina Central 35.5; 12. Salina South 34; 13. Emporia 33.5; 14. Andover Central 30; 15. Goddard-Eisenhower 26; 16. Maize South 14.
Arkansas City Results
120 — Kael Pappan, second place (2-1): won by forfeit Cyrus Vajnar (Hays); won by dec. Colin Bybee (New), 3-1; lost by dec. Bubba Wright (KMC), 4-2 (SV-1).
126 — Sammy Dickey, sixth place (1-3): won by pin Phoenix Rothenberger (Gd), 0:49; lost by pin Alyeus Craig (VC), 1:06; lost by dec. Clayton Bowers (Mz), 8-3; lost by dec. LaShawn Blick (And), 13-7.
132 — Jevin Foust, champion (3-0): won by major dec. Taylor Matthews (GE), 10-0; won by dec. Slade Adam (SC), 5-4; won by dec. Zachary Wessley (Gd), 3-2.
138 — Kyler Horton, DNP (0-2): lost by dec. Isaiah Holmes (Gd), 8-3; lost by dec. Chance Holmgren (GE), 3-1.
145 — Wyatt Biddle, DNP (): lost by pin Jerrdon Fisher (Gd), 2:39; lost by dec. Parker McMahon (KMC), 5-3.
152 — Wyatt Bahm, second place (2-1): won by pin Seth Miller (SS), 1:43; won by major dec. Dalton Dale (Hays), 8-0; lost by dec. Jace Fisher (Gd), 7-1.
160 — Trig Tennant, champion (3-0): won by pin Britton Forsythe (MS), 1:49; won by major dec. Connor Padgett (Mz), 13-5; won by dec. Cayleb Atkins (Gd), 3-2 (TB-1).
285 — Max Shannon, third place (2-1): won by pin Taylor Vincent (Mz), 5:21; lost by pin Kayson Dietz (SS), 4:37; won by pin Braydon Wickliffe (Gd), 2:50; won by dec. Derek Yuza (GE), 1-0.