Four Jay wrestlers qualify for State

The Sabetha Bluejay wrestling squad traveled to Silver Lake on Friday, Feb. 16, and Saturday, Feb. 17, to compete in the 2018 3-2-1A Regional Wrestling Tournament. The Jays qualified four wrestlers — one of those a regional champion — for the 3-2-1A State Wrestling Tournament to be held in Hays, on Friday, Feb. 23, and Saturday, Feb. 24.

Junior 285-pound Elliot Strahm was crowned regional champion after defeating all three of his opponents. Strahm won his title in dominating fashion by pinning all three of his opponents — Josiah Moore of Southeast Saline, Kyle Bonham of Perry Lecompton, and Brian Shane of Royal Valley — in the first period.

“I felt really good and just wrestled like I was capable of doing,” Strahm said. “It feels good to be the champion, and I came into this tournament wanting a good seed in the next week’s tournament and I had to win this to get that.”

“I have been working hard all year for this but I am not done yet,” Strahm said. “I can’t wait to get to Hays and take in the whole experience. The whole trip is great getting to spend time with my teammates and wrestling in the coliseum.”

Freshman 113-pound Kaden Dillon, junior 152-pound Kamden Brownlee, and senior 145-pound Brandon Brownlee also qualified for the state tournament. B. Brownlee finished in second place, while Dillon and K. Brownlee captured fourth place in their respective weight classes.

B. Brownlee pinned Johnathan Joice of ACCHS by fall and then decisioned Dylan Smith of Maur Hill, 10-4, to move into the championship semifinals against Tristin Hopkins of Oskaloosa. In an exciting overtime match, B. Brownlee scored a takedown in the opening seconds of overtime to win, 7-5, to move into the championship match against Scott Resler of Riverside. In that match, B. Brownlee was defeated by Resler and was awarded the second place medal.

K. Brownlee defeated Karsen Smith of Royal Valley, 7-5, to move into the championship semifinals against Holden Hurla of Rossville where he lost by a fall. K. Brownlee then faced Connor Wilson of Maur Hill and won 4-2 to move into the consolation finals against Kinsten Juhl of Riverside where he lost, 6-1.

Dillon went 3-2 on the weekend. He defeated Rhet Griffiths of Herington by fall and then won a major decision, 14-0, over Andrew Irwin of Council Grove. Dillon then lost in the championship semifinals to Grayden Jackson of Riley County, 11-4. Dillon then defeated Eli Mumpower of Wabaunsee, 7-4, to move into the consolation finals against Layne Hurla of Rossville who defeated him, 9-7, in overtime.

The Jays finished in sixth place as a team in the tournament with 90 points. Silver Lake captured the team title with 154 points, followed by Riverside with 139.5, Rossville with 124.5, Riley County with 109, and Perry Lecompton with 96.

“The weekend of regionals is always an emotional weekend,” said Head Coach Ricky Creek. “For some wrestlers, goals are reached and the realization of being one of the top 16 wrestlers in the state begins to sink in. For others, they fall short of their goals and their careers come to an end. This weekend, we experienced both.”

“We have four wrestlers headed to state, and that is fantastic,” Creek said. “All four have the capability to return with medals, but as we found out this weekend we have to show up and perform. Nothing will be handed to us.”

Tim Kellenberger109 Posts

Tim Kellenberger serves as Owner, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for The Sabetha Herald since 2004. He specializes in sports reporting and column writing, as well as sports photography. Tim is a Grace University graduate with a dual degree in agricultural economics and human resource management. He lives in rural Sabetha with his wife and has four grown children and two grandchildren.

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