The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on March 29, 1998 · Page 35
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 35

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 29, 1998
Page 35
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THE SALINA JOURNAL HIGH SCHOOL WRESTLING SUNDAY, MARCH 29, 1998 03 Abilene shines on all-area team Wrestlers Smith, Tovar part of first team; Christner named coach of the year By ARNE GREEN llie Salinn Journal TOVAR N.SMITH CHRISTNER T he Abilene Cowboys knew on Friday night of last month's Class 4A wrestling tournament that they had a good shot at the team championship. They also knew from previous experience that a good score on the first day was no guarantee. But starting with sophomore Dustin Tovar's startling comeback victory in the 103-pound finals and finishing With Nate Smith's title eight matches later at 152 pounds, just enough things went right on Saturday for the Cowboys to bring home their first-ever team championship. "It was tremendous," said Bill Christner, the Salina Journal's All-Area coach of the year. "I'm not sure we've even come down from it yet. We set a lot of goals early. "Last year on Friday night we were third and we ended up sixth. We took five (wrestlers) and placed three. This year we thought we had some good points coming back and said, 'Let's just work hard enough to do it and whatever happens, happens.' " The whole key, Christner said, was getting in position to win, something the Cowboys did Friday by scoring 81 points — 16 more than Goodland. They would need every one of .those points on Saturday as they edged Goodland, the defending cham- l pion, 98-97. ( "We were prepared, if we got the opportunity," Christner said. "A lot of things happened on the way. What was amazing was we had some kids win in the first round who beat some outstanding wrestlers. Maybe they bnly scored two points (in the tournament), but we needed every one of them. We had 10 kids at state, eight scored and everyone contributed. "The Goodland coach (Eddie Clark), 'who I consider a good friend, and I were talking back and forth and after the first day we figured it was between us two. Their community and pur community had a nice little rivalry and we definitely had a lot of respect for them. Things have to work out just right and it was awesome the way things worked out." Perhaps the best omen for the Cowboys came in the 103-pound final, where Tovar found himself trailing Austin DeVoe of Columbus 9-6 with less than 10 seconds left. But just as time ran out, Tovar scored a takedown and a two-point near fall to win 10-9. With the victory, Tovar completed a perfect season at 32-0, good for all,area honors at 103 pounds. Smith is the all-area first-team pick at 152. i Tovar, who placed sixth at state last year as a freshman, simply overpowered many of his opponents. "Dustin's a good athlete and a power wrestler," Christner said. "He's an extremely strong kid for 103 pounds. He's physically pretty strong and he's a pretty good technician. ,"He had high goals and he works pretty hard. He wasn't really a surprise to us because he had set that goal." Smith almost matched Tovar's season, finishing with a 31-1 record. But fhings had not always gone that way for the senior, who improved steadily each year. 1 "Nate has come a long way from when he was a freshman," Christner said. "It was really fun to see where he came from, when he was 5-19 as a freshman. He was a state qualifier as a sophomore, and a finalist last year. He never ceased to amaze me." Smith's greatest trait was his work ethic, Christner said. "He was a very disciplined and hard worker and very serious about wrestling," he said. "He'd be very determined in practice and work extremely hard. Everybody who worked with him in practice knew they had to go very hard. "He's not very strong, but he's a good technician and a very good mat wrestler." Hoxie, which won the Class 3-2-1A state title, also had two wrestlers — brothers Derek Jones at 112 pounds And Kyle Jones at 140 — on the all- area team. So did 3-2-1A runner-up Norton, with 171-pounder Curtis Brown and 275-pounder Rusty Miller. , The top individual wrestler was Salina South's Bo Maynes, who completed an undefeated career with the J25,=pound title, his fourth state cham- 1997-98 SALINA JOURNAL ALL-AREA WRESTLING TEAM FIRST TEAM WEIGHT WRESTLER, SCHOOL YEAR RECORD 103 Dustin Tovar, Abilene So 32-0 112 Derek Jones, Hoxie So 28-3 119 Gabe Jenkins, St. Francis Jr 36-1 125 Bo Maynes, Salina South Sr 30-0 130 Jay Hrabe, Plainville Jr 24-3 135 Travis Stites, McPherson So 33-4 140 Kyle Jones, Hoxie Sr 24-3 145 Brandon Pfizenmaier, Clay Center Sr 25-0 152 Nate Smith, Abilene Sr 31-1 160 Butch Smith, Goodland Sr 33-1 171 Curtis Brown, Norton Sr 33-3 189 KalebOviatt, Osborne Sr 25-5 215 Danny Strait, Belleville Jr 30-4 275 Rusty Miller, Norton Sr 30-4 COACH OF THE YEAR — Bill Christner, Abilene SECOND TEAM WEIGHT WRESTLER, SCHOOL YEAR RECORD 103 Brent Brandyberry, Norton Sr 30-1 112 Brian Ngo, Concordia Sr 23-4 119 Josh Knoll, Stockton Jr 22-6 125 Steve Kuder, Minneapolis Sr 25-3 130 Mike Knopp, Russell Sr 22-3 135 Barry Samuelson, Oakley So 31-6 140 Aaron Schields, Goodland So 36-2 145 Kelly Gabel, St. Francis Jr 34-4 152 Kyle Wright, Norton So 30-7 160 Brandon Pfeifer, Ellis Sr 25-4 171 Nick Budig, Hill City Sr 22-5 189 Lance Fabrizius, Trego Jr 25-9 215 Shaun Smiley, Norton Jr 21-13 275 Mike Oiler, Hays Sr 30-5 HONORABLE MENTION 103 — Bryce Abbey, Goodland; Shane Bird, Plainville; Doyle Hart, Morland; Brandon Pigorsch, Herington; Dustin Warner, Smith Center. 112 — Sean Cline, Salina Central; Ben Duell, Goodland; Tom Fose, Trego; Ian Gardener, Lincoln; Joey Knoll, Osborne; Ben Orozco, Ellsworth. 119 — Jesse Olson, Trego. 125 — Chris Alt, Abilene; Tyler Augustine, Hays; Travis Charbonneau, Clay Center; Matt Davidson, Smith Center; Tommy Dearing, McPherson; Dirrik Fraser, Concordia; Chris Look, Stockton; Bryan Miller, Oberlin. 130 — Travis Baker, Hoxie; T.J. Dearing, McPherson; Barrett Gagnon, Salina South; Andy Hutchinson, Salina Central; Craig Poe, Oakley; Myron Withington, Atwood. 135 — Brian Bird, Plainville; Charlie Huehl, Lincoln; Kyle Lewis, Hoxie; Brian Rankin, Clay Center; Nathan Whitney, Russell. 140 — Adam Balthazor, Stockton; Kirby Clements, Herington; Josh Engelbert, Beloit; Aaron Herold, Hays; Travis Thibault, Osborne. 145 — Jason Bock, Salina South; Adam Koster, Hoxie; Seth Lytle, Abilene; Mike Murray, Goodland; Riley Ross, Colby; Dan Wynn, Trego. 152 — Clint Freeman, Ellsworth; Brandon Hille, Trego; Joey Smith, Goodland; Nathaniel Sperry, Atwood; Lance Zurfluh, Southeast of Saline. 160 — Gabe Bailey, Ellsworth; Damion Dix, Stockton; Travis Graham, Salina South; Brian Gutchewsky, Oberlin; Nigel Isom, Abilene; Kelly Rausch, McPherson; Kyle Schenk, Smith Center; Joseph Sramek, Atwood. 171 — Whitney Brown, Hoxie; Matt Kerns, McPherson. 189 — Jack Dennis, Oakley; Owen Lehman, Salina South; Bert Stramel, Colby; Trevor VanEaton, Stockton; Dustin Washburn, Hoxie. 215 — Mark Hammerschmidt, Plainville; Justin Montgomery, Smith Center; E.J. Ochs, Trego; Cash Schilling, Goodland. 275 — Andy Gwennap, Smith Center; Travis Jenkins, Stockton; Kevin Schmid, Phillipsburg; Darrell Zimmerman, Concordia. D.JONES pionship. Clay Center's Brandon Pfizenmaier (145 pounds) won his third straight title and also had a perfect record. The Journal's circulation area produced state champions in each of the 14 weight classes, including three in the heavyweight division — Norton's Miller, Hays' Mike Oiler in Class 5A and Concordia's Darrell Zimmerman in4A. 112 Derek Jones, Hoxie Jones fell one victory short of a state title last year as a freshman at 103 pounds and took the final step after moving up a weight class, beating Joey Knoll of Osborne 12-3 in the finals. Jones' victory also helped Hoxie to the team championship, a two-point decision (131 Vi -129 V 2 ) over Norton. "He spends a lot of time in the summer freestyling," Hoxie coach Kirk Baker said of Jones, who finished with a 28-3 record. "He is really a dedicated athlete toward wrestling and it really paid off. I expect good things the next two years out of him. "He's a great technician. His skill level is very high for a sophomore. That's due to the fact that he puts in the extra time in the summer and works very hard in practice. He's an easy kid to coach." 119 Gabe Jenkins, St. Francis Jenkins, after finishing second at 103 pounds as a freshman and fourth at 112 last year, put it all together this season with a 36-1 record and his first state title. He did not lose a match to a Kansas wrestler all year and breezed through the Class 3-2- 1A state tournament without surrendering a point. "He was extremely tough in all positions," St. Francis coach Larry Gabel said of Jenkins. "Last year he had a tendency, when he got in trouble, to bail out and not finish a move. "I think freestyle and Greco (sum/d mer wrestling) has helped him. On his feet he's really strong and he has a good work ethic." Jenkins' older brother, Scott, graduated last year after winning his third state championship. 125 Bo Maynes, Salina South Maynes completed a historic career with a convincing 11-1 victory over McPherson's Tommy Dearing in the Class 5A finals, making him the ninth four-time state champion in high school history. The victory completed a perfect 30-0 season and also extended his career record to 130-0. Not only was Maynes the first wrestler in state history to go through his entire career without a loss, but he was never taken down once in MAYNES JENKINS 130 matches. Maynes, a junior national champion in 1996 and a third-place finisher at nationals last year, will continue his career next year at Oklahoma. 130 Jay Hrabe, Plainville A second year at 130 pounds made a big difference for Hrabe, who last season as a sophomore went 14-12. He rebounded as a junior to go 24-3 and claim the state title with a 6-4 championship victory over previously unbeaten Pat Dykstra of Mission Valley. Hrabe showed early signs of things to come as a freshman, when he finished sixth in the state at 103 pounds, but struggled with the big jump to 130. "At 130, he wrestled up one or two weights because of some of the other people we had," said Plainville coach Brad Fredrickson. "This year he grew into the weight class. "Jay really wrestled well toward the end of the season. He's a hard worker, has good skills and is mentally tough." Hrabe's toughness was tested against Dykstra, as he had to come from behind in the third round to win. HRABE STITES K.JONES "That's what allowed him to win," Fredrickson said. "He kept wrestling that whole match and hung in there." 135 Travis Stites, McPherson Stites could be the next area four- time state champion if he keeps it up. The McPherson sophomore won his second straight 5A title this year with an 11-6 victory over El Dorado's Wes Reynolds in the finals. "He works very hard in the practice room," McPherson coach Rich Settle said of Stites, who went 331 this year. "He takes good care of himself and works hard in the offsea- son. He's a real competitor with a real desire to win, who works hard to improve his skills." Stites, who has wrestled in youth programs for several years, recorded 137 takedowns this year. "He's a pretty determined guy," Settle said. "He has great quickness, good power and a lot of experience. He's a takedown specialist — very quick and very strong." 140 Kyle Jones, Hoxie Unlike his younger brother, who placed at state both years, Kyle Jones went from non-qualifier his sophomore and junior years to state champion as a senior. "He was always in a weight at regionals that kept him from going," Hoxie coach Kirk Baker said of Jones, who qualified for the first time since his freshman year. "This year he finally put it all together as a senior. "He really dedicated himself in practice. He really came on his senior year by putting in the hours. He did a lot of extra work. He just did a great job in the practice room and was a real good team leader." Jones' 4-3 championship victory over Stockton's Adam Balthazor, gave Hoxie just enough points to hold off Norton for the team title. He finished with a 28-3 record. 145 Brandon Pfizenmaier Clay Center Pfizenmaier claimed his third straight 4A state title this year, finishing with a 25-0 record. In beating Abilene's Seth Lytle 12-1 in the finals, he ran his record the last two years to 57-1. The only loss in that time was a disqualification last year in a match he was leading at the time. Pfizenmaier finished third at state as a sophomore before winning at 140 pounds his sophomore year and at 145 the last two. 160 Butch Smith, Goodland Smith was a testament to what can be accomplished with hard work, going from 1-24 as a 135-pound freshman to state champion his senior year at 160 with a 33-1 record. "Butch is really a great kid," Goodland coach Eddie Clark said. "He isn't the most talented wrestler we've ever had, but he's the hardest worker I've ever had. "From where he started his freshman year —1-24 on the varsity — to being a state champion, he was the most industrious, plain and simple. It was just hard work and a determination to win." Smith, who qualified for state as a sophomore and took third last year while Goodland won the team championship, needed two overtimes to edge Fredonia's Seth Fox 2-1 for his first individual title. "He did all the extra things — freestyle, summer camps — and developed a lot of skill," Clark said. "Through hard work, he developed the skills to be successful. You can use him as an example for all the kids who are on the (junior varsity) or not very good their first year." 171 Curtis Brown, Norton Brown, who won his first championship last year as a junior, had to PFIZENMAIER B.SMITH BROWN OVIATT fight through an injury the whole state tournament to repeat. Despite hyperex- tending his elbow in his regional final and missing practice the whole week leading up to state, Brown persevered to win four matches, including a painful 3-2 decision over Hill City's Nick Budig in the finals. "He just showed his true guts and determination at the tournament Friday and Saturday because he was in some serious pain," Norton coach Bill Johnson said of Brown, who finished the season with a 33-3 record. "He just had a strong desire to win, which was pretty evident in the finals. "He doesn't like to lose and I think that's what drives him to be better every day in the practice room. He's probably not the best technician we've ever had. "He has a limited number of moves, but he can do those moves on anyone in the state." 189 Kaleb Oviatt, Osborne Oviatt made the most of his only trip to state, edging Trego's Lance Fabrizius 7-5 in overtime for the 3-2-1A title to finish the season at 25-5. "I think he finally wrestled up to his potential this year," Osborne coach Mike Frewen said of Oviatt. "He worked a lot harder this year in practice and really got in good shape. "He's extremely talented on his feet. His takedowns are his strength, by far. For a guy his size he's extremely strong and pretty quick, too." After pinning his first two opponents at state, Oviatt needed two overtimes to get by No. 2-ranked Dustin Washburn of Hoxie 6-5 in the semifinals. "We thought he had a good shot to place going in," Frewen said. "But we knew he had the No. 1- (Jack Dennis of Oakley) and No. 2-ranked kid (Washburn) in his side of the bracket. (The victory over Washburn) was probably the best match of the tournament." 215 Danny Strait, Belleville Strait, who dropped down to the 215- pound class after going 14-10 as a heavyweight last year as a sophomore, made the move pay off immediately with his first state title. A 4-2 overtime upset of Trego's E.J. Ochs in the quarterfinals sent him on his way, and he shut down Norton's Shaun Smiley 4-0 for . the championship. "He had a little more confidence in himself at 215 so he dropped down," Belleville coach John James said of Strait, who also qualified for state as a freshman. "It wasn't a big drop for him — he was probably at 225 before. He's a well disciplined kid and he just really learned to control himself on the mat. "I think the biggest thing about him was his confidence this year. Once he got that, it was all he needed. He always had the skills." 275 Rusty Miller, Norton Miller had to wait three years for his chance to wrestle on Norton's varsity, spending three years behind 1997 Blue- jay state champions Josh Kellerman and Jeff Boyle. He made the most of his one opportunity, going 30-4 and claiming the title with a 9-4 victory over Smith Center's Andy Gwennap in the finals. "He was a very pleasant surprise this year," Norton coach Bill Johnson said of Miller, who won the heavyweight title despite wrestling most of the year at about 205 pounds. "He had to overcome a lot of weight deficits in a lot of his matches. "I think what made him so successful in the heavyweight division was his quickness. He was a lot quicker than most of his heavyweight opponents and he was a lot better conditioned than a lot of his opponents." Once Miller finally got to the varsity level, he was ready, Johnson said. "He worked out with (Boyle and Kellerman) for three years prior to his senior year," Johnson said. "As he was telling some people at our pep rally, they whipped his butt for three years, but it made him a better wrestler." STRAIT MILLER

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