The 3-2-1A State Wrestling Tournament will get underway on Friday morning at 10:00 at Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays, and 13 wrestlers from the KD Country 94 & Z 96.3 “The Lake” listening area will be taking the mats with dreams of a state title.
Of the 13 area wrestlers, eight will compete for Beloit, four from Smith Center and one from Sylvan-Lucas.
Tra Barrientes of Sylvan-Lucas is the most decorated area wrestler this season coming into the tournament. He is 35-1 this winter, as his only loss came on December 13 in the championship match of the Ellis Railer Round Robin against Beloit’s Creighton Johnson by a 2-1 decision. Barrientes is ranked #1 in the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association rankings at 285# coming into the tournament. As a junior, this is Barrientes’ third trip to state, but he has not placed in the past.
The aforementioned Johnson is also competing in the 285# weight class for Beloit. He is ranked #4 in the state this week and is 35-4 coming into the weekend. As a junior, Johnson finished 3rd at 220# last season and is looking for improvement this year. Beloit has four other ranked wrestlers competing at State. Hunter Prochaska (152#, 25-7) and Braden Burks (195#, 29-8) are both ranked #3 and Tate Kadel (145#, 32-8) and Brennan Walker (182#, 34-4) are each ranked fourth in the state. Prochaska and Walker both won regional championships in Russell last weekend. The other state qualifiers for Beloit include: Mason Fuller (120#, 16-15), who is a three-time state qualifier, Tristan Thompson (132#, 4-4) and Caden Anderson (138#, 14-15). Beloit head coach Andy Niemczyk said his team has a goal to bring home a state trophy, and that will take good showings from everyone.
Smith Center brings in four wrestlers total to the 3-2-1A State Tournament and three that are ranked. Freshman Bentley Montgomery is #2 in the state after winning the Norton Regional at 113# last week. He is 25-14 coming into the weekend. Also, Colton Shoemaker is a four-time State qualifier. He finished in 3rd at State a year ago in the 113# weight class and is now at 120# and ranked #5 in the state with a 32-10 record. Brell Spiess is making his third straight trip to State at 182#, coming in at #6 in 3-2-1A with a 34-11 record. Making his first appearance at state as a junior will be Nathan Hrabe at 152#, as he is 26-11 on the season. Smith Center coach Brock Hutchinson knows you need to get off to a good start to have success at the tournament and he assessed the first round draws for his wrestlers.
First round matches at the 3-2-1A State Tournament begin at 10:00 this morning on four mats, followed by the championship quarterfinals, consolation first round and championship semifinals. The second day of action begins at 9:00 on Saturday with consolation wrestle backs, followed by the consolation quarterfinals, consolation semis, 3rd place and 5th place matches at the same time and then the championship finals will be wrestled on one mat to wrap up the tournament Saturday evening. We’ll have reports on KD Country 94 each half hour after competition starts on each day. Also, follow along on twitter @dusty40 for periodic updates as well.