By RON PRESTON
SALINA – At the beginning of the season, according to the Kansas State High School Activities Association, more than 6,000 student athletes participated in wrestling in the state, with the best of the best qualifying for the state tournaments.
The Abilene Cowboys qualified five for this year’s 4A State Tournament this past weekend in the Salina Bi-Cenntinial Center.
The Cowboys had two state finalists in Jr. Morgan, who finished second in the 120 weight class, and Zane Baugh, third in 113.
“We had two finalists and two others that were only a match away from medaling,” commented Coach James Stout following the tournament.
“Of the five qualifiers, we only have one graduating senior. These guys should be hungrier than ever in the off season and hopefully come back stronger next year,” added coach Stout.
The rest of the state qualifiers should all return next year as Logan McDowell, 106, and Seth Strauss, 132 are both sophomores. Jacob Hagedorn, 152 is a junior.
“We had some kids that were just shy of qualifying for the state and we expect that we’ll get a bigger number next year.” said Stout.
Senior Jr. Morgan led Abilene’s best chance for a gold medal as he went undefeated into the championship match against Hunter Price of Holton. It was a rematch from the Abilene Regional Tournament.
Morgan defeated Price for the regional championship only a week earlier.
“Jr. finished his career with well over 100 wins and had his hundredth win in the regional final at home. He made the finals here today and lost a close rematch 7-4 decision to Price, a kid he had beaten last week.
“So he needs to know in his heart, that he is as good as anybody, just didn’t wrestle completely his best in that one last match, but regardless, I can speak for myself and the rest of the other assistant coaches, student body, the administration and community on how really proud we are of the way he’s handled himself this year and has been a great team leader,” Stout said.
“Jr. was a three time state finalist while not wrestling his junior year.”
“I’m really proud of all these guys, not just the five qualifiers, for all their hard work and dedication. The bottom weight classes had well over 160 wins this season,” he said.
The majority of this year’s wrestling team was young wrestlers, made up of mostly sophomores who should all return next year to help make Abilene wrestling even stronger.
“We’re looking forward to all the sophomores being upperclassmen rather than lower classmen. We definitely see some things that we need to work on technically and attitude wise and what not. They are extremely talented and we just need to get a whole year better, not just three months better,” Stout added.
“We want to start as soon as possible to work in the direction to step it up for the state tournament next year,” concluded Stout.
Holton won the team scoring with 104.5 points followed by Colby, Andale, Bonner Springs and Prairie View to round out the top five teams in 4A for 2013 wrestling. Abilene finished with 45.5 points for the tournament.
2013 KSHSAA 4A Championships results for Abilene
106 - Logan McDowell (34-8)
Champ. Round 1 - Logan McDowell (Abilene) 34-8 won by decision over Blake Gordon (Kansas City-Piper) 32-15 (Dec 9-4)
Quarterfinal - Case Pemberton (LaCygne-Prairie View) 29-6 won by decision over Logan McDowell (Abilene) 34-8 (Dec 8-2)
Cons. Round 2 - Logan McDowell (Abilene) 34-8 won by pin over Keegan Deenihan (Coffeyville-Field Kindley) 21-16 (Pin 0:46)
Cons. Round 3 - David Mainus (Colby) 38-5 won by decision over Logan McDowell (Abilene) 34-8 (Dec 5-2)
113 - Zane Baugh (34-8) placed 3rd and scored 16.00 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Zane Baugh (Abilene) 34-8 won by pin over Zac West (Carbondale-Santa Fe Trail) 16-20 (Pin 0:40)
Quarterfinal - Zane Baugh (Abilene) 34-8 won by decision over Hunter Furnish (Andale) 22-9 (Dec 4-2)
Semifinal - Reno Hughey (El Dorado) 29-8 won by decision over Zane Baugh (Abilene) 34-8 (Dec 3-2)
Cons. Semi - Zane Baugh (Abilene) 34-8 won by decision over Jeremiah Jones (Pittsburg) 37-8 (Dec 9-3)
3rd Place Match - Zane Baugh (Abilene) 34-8 won by decision over Justus Seaton (Bonner Springs) 32-7 (Dec 5-1)
120 - Junior Morgan (36-3) placed 2nd and scored 21.50 team points.
Champ. Round 1 - Junior Morgan (Abilene) 36-3 won by tech fall over Ethan Bach (Kansas City-Piper) 25-18 (TF 17-1)
Quarterfinal - Junior Morgan (Abilene) 36-3 won by pin over Daniel Thomas (El Dorado) 29-13 (Pin 3:00)
Semifinal - Junior Morgan (Abilene) 36-3 won by decision over Blake Cusick (Mulvane) 31-11 (Dec 8-3)
1st Place Match - Hunter Price (Holton) 39-5 won by decision over Junior Morgan (Abilene) 36-3 (Dec 7-4)
132 - Seth Strauss (39-8)
Champ. Round 1 - Seth Strauss (Abilene) 39-8 won by decision over Tyler Crabtree (Spring Hill) 28-19 (Dec 4-2)
Quarterfinal - Kaleb Konitzer (LaCygne-Prairie View) 34-2 won by decision over Seth Strauss (Abilene) 39-8 (Dec 6-2)
Cons. Round 2 - Seth Strauss (Abilene) 39-8 won by decision over Kyle Macy (El Dorado) 34-9 (Dec 8-5)
Cons. Round 3 - Justin Rieschick (Holton) 28-12 won by decision over Seth Strauss (Abilene) 39-8 (Dec 5-3)
152 - Jacob Hagedorn (17-7)
Champ. Round 1 - Jake Gehring (Buhler) 42-1 won by pin over Jacob Hagedorn (Abilene) 17-7 (Pin 2:40)
Cons. Round 1 - Cordell Dunlop (LaCygne-Prairie View) 33-20 won by pin over Jacob Hagedorn (Abilene) 17-7 (Pin 2:34)