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Friday, Mar. 01, 2013

Williams wins state wrestling title, helps Gardner finish fifth as a team

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Gardner Edgerton snagged fifth place as a team last Saturday at the Class 6A state wrestling tournament at Hartman Arena.

The Trailblazers had five medal winners and totaled 106.5 points, finishing only one point behind fourth-place Wichita Northwest.

Junior Dustin Williams, 43-0, backed up the title he won at 145 as a sophomore with an undefeated state championship at 160.

He polished off a state-title repeat with a 3-1 win against Wichita South’s Kalin Collins in the championship bout.

“Winning the second one was easier,” Williams said. “I had to battle my way to win the first one pretty hard and cut a lot more weight.”

Already, Williams is plotting to add a third championship to his resume next year.

“Winning again means I worked harder than everyone in the state of Kansas for two straight years,” Williams said. “Now, I’m going to do it again. That’s the plan.”

Sophomore Seth Pesek (195) also snagged a championship for Gardner Edgerton, topping SM Northwest junior Mario Galvan 3-2 in the title bout for his first crown.

“A lot of people think it’s tough for an underclassman to be a state champion or even be good in the upper weights, but I think I proved something about that,” Pesek, 32-5, said.

Meanwhile, fellow sophomore Emilio Fowler (182), 37-7, reached the final before getting caught and pinned in the third period against Lawrence senior Andrew Denning.

Two more Blazers — freshman Jacob Bonham (106), 27-12, and sophomore T.J. Burger (113), 24-20 — finished fourth.

Stovall snags crown

Olathe North only had one medalist, but it was a big one as freshman Blake Stovall cruised to the Class 6A crown at 126.

“The rankings had me No. 1 early, so I thought about being a state champion, but nothing’s for sure,” Stovall said. “Nothing is guaranteed. You have to go out and work every day.”

Stovall, 34-7, got stronger as the meet progressed, opening with a 3-1 win against Wichita Heights’ Greg Jones, who went on to finish sixth, and following up with a 9-2 decision against Derby’s Garrett Xanders, who wound up third.

During the semifinals, Stovall dominated Garden City’s Alec Castillo, who finished fourth, 10-0 before capping his title run with an 8-2 win against Maize’s Brett Moon in the final.

“He’s just a tough kid and he’s such a competitor,” Carroll said. “That’s what separates him — that competitiveness. He’s very talented and wrestles very mature, but he’s got to keep improving. I’m excited for the next three years, but next year he’s got to win a whole new one.”

Additionally, Olathe Northwest sophomore Doug Newcomb nearly snagged his own state title.

Newcomb, 30-7, reached the Class 6A final at 106 before tumbling 7-0 against Garden City’s Michael Prieto in the championship bout.

“Making it to a state final is a great accomplishment, but it’s not quite what I wanted to achieve this year,” Newcomb said. “But I went through a lot of tough stuff this year and making it to the final was still pretty cool. Being in front of all the people in the area, it’s a pretty big stage and I was happy to be part of it.”

Sparks lands East’s only medal

Olathe East’s top finisher was senior Grant Sparks, who placed fifth at 182 in Class 6A.

“It means everything – all the hard work and the training, all the coaching I went through — it means everything to come out with a medal,” Sparks said.

Sparks, 34-16, won his opening-round match by technical fall before bowing out of the title chase in the quarterfinals.

He bounced back with two more technical falls in consolation matches, lost in the consolation semifinals and rebounded again with a 13-3 major decision against SM East’s Jon Reuter in the fifth-place match.

Meanwhile, Olathe South had one medalist, junior Benny Deaton, 28-20, who finished sixth at 106.

Spader finishes second for Broncos

At the Class 4A state meet, which took place at the Salina Bicentennial Center, Spring Hill senior Corey Spader finished second at 138.

Spader, 39-8, opened his state tourney with two pins and then topped Fort Scott senior Victor Hughes 9-7 in the semifinals before dropping a 7-0 decision against Baldwin senior Bryce Shoemaker in the title bout.

Meanwhile, Broncos junior Blake Hampton (170) wound up fourth despite losing in the opening round.

Hampton, 40-5, bounced back with four straight wins on the back side to reach the consolation final, where he dropped a 1-0 decision against Mulvane’s Kolby Fennewald for third place.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.

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