ROSE HILL — The Kansas State High School Activities Association mixed up postseason wrestling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, taking away traditional Regional tournaments in favor of a two-tier playoff system for Class 4A and 3-2-1A.
Instead of the top four placers from Regionals advancing to State, the top four District placers advanced to Regionals, with those top four qualifying for State.
“I’m not a huge fan of it, but it is what it is,” WHS coach Nick McGrew said. “At the end of the day we have to be ready to wrestle, regardless of circumstances.”
That made for a lot of empty brackets Saturday, but it was business as usual for those with State aspirations.
Winfield High School senior Braden Ledford, ranked No. 3 in Class 4A at 126 pounds, needed just 76 seconds to breeze through his first two opponents Saturday at the Class 4A District 3 Championships at Rose Hill High School to reach the title match.
The top-seeded Ledford needed 2:46 to pin No. 2 seed Dietrich Hunter of Mulvane in the title match.
The top four placers at each weight class advanced to the Class 4A Regional 2 next Saturday at Circle High School in Towanda.
After a quarterfinal bye, Ledford pinned EJ Krug of El Dorado in 33 seconds in the quarterfinals and took the fall against Wellington’s Will Weber in 43 seconds of their semifinal bout. He’ll take a 26-2 record into Regionals.
Ledford had company atop the medal stand.
WHS junior Parker Smith captured the 182-pound title with a 6-1 decision against Gabe Kant of Augusta in the finals.
Smith (21-9) opened with a 1:29 pin against Mulvane’s Austin Vanderhoof in the quarterfinals and defeated Blaine Van Auken of El Dorado with a 2:37 fall in the semifinals.
Winfield seniors Trevin Biddle and Eli Lynch advanced to district title matches before settling for second place.
Biddle sat out the 170-pound title match against Augusta’s Garrett Davis after pinning Cade Evans of Rose Hill in 3:46 of their semifinal bout.
Sophomore Kody Brenn did the same thing in the third-place match at 160.
“They’re banged up,” McGrew said. “Didn’t make sense to risk further injury once they guaranteed themselves a spot for next weekend.”
The 220-pound weight class had just five competitors, so all but one were assured of advancement.
Lynch pinned Holt Williams of Augusta in 3:51 of their semifinal match, but fell to Collin Scott of El Dorado in the title bout.
Three Vikings just missed out on advancing with fifth-place finishes.
Freshman Brody Lindenman went 1-2 at 120. He dropped a 7-2 decision to Eli Hensley of Mulvane in the match clinch a Regional berth.
Sophomore Monte James fell 6-0 to Collin Jackson in the knockout round, finishing 1-2 at 132.
Sophomore Logan Burleson went 0-2 at 195 in a bracket with just five competitors.
Junior Jackson Angle had to meet No. 5-ranked and 25-1 Hagen Wright of Wellington in the quarterfinals. Angle bounced back from that loss with a 10-second pin of Augusta’s Devin Russell.
Needing one more victory to advance, Angle fell to Isaiah King of Towanda-Circle, finishing sixth with a 1-3 record.
Freshmen Cole Wageman (138) and Preston Groom (152) ended their seasons by going 0-2.
Class 4A District 3 Championships
Saturday at Rose Hill High School
(Top 4 placers advance to Regionals)
Team Scores — 1. Augusta 211.5; 2. Rose Hill 172; 3. Mulvane 137; 4. El Dorado 118; 5. Winfield 93; 6. Wellington 63.5; 7. Towanda-Circle 48.
120 — Brody Lindenman, fifth place (1-2): lost by pin William Gomez (ED), 3:09; consolation bye; lost by dec. Eli Hensley (Mul), 7-2; won by pin Nathan Schrader (TC), 2:33.
126 — Braden Ledford, district champion (3-0): won by pin EJ Krug (ED), 0:33; won by pin Will Weber (Wel), 0:43; won by pin Dietrich Hunter (Mul), 2:46.
132 — Monte James, fifth place (1-2): lost by pin Charlie Black (RH), 2:00; consolation bye; lost by dec. Collin Jackson (Aug), 6-0; won by pin Chase Koehler (Wel), 3:32.
138 — Cole Wageman, DNP (0-2): lost by pin Zane Hennessey (Aug), 1:58; lost by pin Brennan Evans (RH), 1:24.
152 — Preston Groom, DNP (0-2): lost by pin Collin Wyant (Mul), 0:57; lost by pin Kaleb Money (TC), 3:46.
160 — Kody Brenn, fourth place (1-2): first-round bye; lost by pin Pierce Probasco (RH), 3:36; won by pin Terek White (ED), 3:13; lost by injury def. Thomas Johnson (Aug).
170 — Trevin Biddle, second place (2-1): won by major dec. Brendin Corter (TC), 15-2; won by pin Cade Evans (RH), 3:46; lost by injury def. Garrett Davis (Aug).
182 — Parker Smith, champion (3-0): won by pin Austin Vanderhoof (Mul), 1:29; won by pin Blane Van Auken (ED), 2:37; won by dec. Gabe Kant (Aug), 6-1.
195 — Logan Burleson, fifth place (0-2): lost by pin Jacob Money (Aug), 1:39; consolation bye; lost by pin Brock Schell (ED), 3:10; fifth-place bye.
220 — Eli Lynch, second place (1-1): first-round bye; won by pin Holt Williams (Aug), 3:51; lost by pin Collin Scott (ED), 2:40.
285 — Jackson Angle, sixth place (1-3): lost by pin Hagen Wright (Wel), 0:55; won by pin Devin Russell (Aug), 0:10; lost by pin Isaiah King (TC), 2:31; lost by pin Tristan Calef (RH), 0:28.