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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

A record seven Jayhawks head to state wrestling tourney

Updated: Feb 23

Members of the Jayhawk-Linn wrestling team with the regional championship plaque. (Submitted photos)

EUREKA, Kan. – A record seven wrestlers qualifying for the state tournament and the team becoming the champions at regionals. Both were a record first for the Jayhawk-Linn High School wrestling team at the regional tournament at Eureka, Kan., on Saturday, Feb. 17.

Landon Higgins (106 pounds) and Dre Flores (157) placed first in their weight divisions. Denton White (120), Bowen Wade (138), and Cooper Johnson had second-place finishes, and Ethan Ranes took third, each in their respective classes.

With team members plagued by sickness, several of the wrestlers moving up to higher weight classes to fill holes in the Jayhawk line-up. Tanner Holt, moved up to the 113-pound class from 106, Kollyn Malinowski moved up to 126 from 120, Cooper Johnson moved up to 150 from 144, Shane Riggs wrestled in the 170-pound bracket instead of 160, and Ranes moved up to 285 from 215.

The result was a team score of 143.5, three points more than runner-up Leon-Bluestem. 

Jayhawk Landon Higgins stands atop the podium for his championship performance in the 106-pound division at the regional tourney.

“There has been so much sickness going around and we had several guys battling sickness, but they still showed up and had a great effort to help their team win the championship,” said head coach Brett Kramer. “I just love how our guys grew as a true team this year.”

Strategic placing of Jayhawk wrestlers in those classes might not have resulted in a high placing, but it did result in points that gave the team the regional championship. Holt didn’t place but scored 2 points with a major decision in the consolation round. Malinowski scored 4 points with a pin in the third consolation round. And of course Ranes won the heavier class and Johnson was runner-up.

Jeremy Willard didn’t place but added a point in the 132-pound bracket with a win by decision in the second consolation round; Brady Felt placed fourth and added 15 points to the total, and Treyton Poole won by a fall in the second consolation round, adding 4 team points.

Dre Flores is regional champion in the 157-pound bracket.

“Our wrestlers truly supported each other, and you could look down by the mats when we had a guy wrestling and we would have our whole team down by the mat supporting them,” Kramer said.

The team’s success at the region comes on the heels of a solid performance by the team at the Three Rivers League tournament the week before. In addition to the Jayhawks placing first in team performance each round with a 4-0 record, White, Wade, Flores and Ranes were named to the all-league first team, and Holt, Malinowski, Johnson, Poole and Josh Doan were placed on the all-league second team.

Kramer said he was thankful that the team parents and school administration had been so supportive of this team. “(They) made sure we had everything we needed to have such a great season,” he said. 

Proud coaches Brett Kramer and Jared Avery hoist the regional championship plaque.

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