Bobcats, Braves secure reservations for Wich
Two first-timers join seasoned state veterans on qualifying list
What began in November will continue for one more week for five area wrestlers.
Last weekend, at the 4A regional wrestling meet at Fort Scott High School, three Bonner Springs Braves and two Basehor-Linwood Bobcats wrestled well enough to earn a spot in this weekend's state wrestling tournament in Wichita.
All five wrestlers placed in the top four at regionals, earning them entry in their respective 16-man brackets at state.
Of the five, two will be making their first appearances on the grandest stage of them all.
Basehor-Linwood junior Dustin Sullivan and Bonner Springs freshman Timmy Vaughn cracked the top four and will head south wondering what lies ahead at a place they've only heard about.
Sullivan placed fourth in the tough 135-pound bracket, and Vaughn reached the regional final in the 103-pound weight class, but fell and finished second.
Basehor-Linwood junior Zach Davis completed the list of Basehor-Linwood qualifiers by finishing fourth in the 119-pound weight division.
Davis will be making his third straight trip to Wichita. Last year he finished with a 1-2 record and out of the medal rounds.
The other local qualifiers will be making return trips to state, as Bonner Springs heavyweight Brad Rittinghouse leads the pack with his sights set on a state title.
Rittinghouse, who earned a sixth-place medal at state last year, finished first in the heavyweight division at last weekend's regionals, making it two straight first-place finishes in postseason tournaments.
He also won the 275-pound Kaw Valley League title the week before.
Fellow Brave, sophomore Ian Seaton, is making his second straight trip to state, where he's hoping the experience he gained from last year's surprise appearance will land him on the medal stand in 2005.
Like Rittinghouse, Seaton also finished first at last weekend's regional meet, marking the best performance he's turned in since returning from a broken hand three weeks ago.
For more on the regional meets, as well as a more extensive preview of the state tournament, see Page 4B.