Archive for Thursday, February 15, 2007

LHS wrestlers hope to defend regional championship

February 15, 2007

The Lansing High wrestling team will try to win its second straight Class 5A regional championship at 9 a.m. Saturday when it travels to Topeka West.

The Lions enter regionals on an emotional high after winning the Kaw Valley League title Saturday. It's their first league crown since 1996, and LHS coach Ron Averill said the success at league gives his squad lots of confidence entering regionals.

"Going into regionals, that's the only way to go into it," he said. "Especially a one-day tournament like that, we've got to be ready to go in and hit 'em hard, hit 'em quick and just keep on rolling."

Lansing had nine individual regional champions last year when it edged Turner for the title by 1 1/2 points. Turner no longer is in the same regional, but five of the Lions' individual champions from last year also are gone. The four who are back - Dennis Wood, Nick Flynn, Kyle Buehler and Kyle Grape - are considered favorites to win again. Wood (103 pounds) and Buehler (140 pounds) are ranked second in the state in their weight classes, Flynn (145 pounds) is ranked third) and Grape (152 pounds) is ranked fifth.

Senior 119-pounder Scott Keller also is a returning state qualifier, and sophomore 160-pounder Grant Hinckley advanced to state last year when he attended Manhattan High School.

Despite losing so many individual champs, Wood said he is confident LHS will contend for another title.

"I think we might have another regional champ team," he said. "If we step it up like we did (at league), we should be another regional championship team."

Other schools in Lansing's regional are Schlagle, Sumner Academy, Washington, Shawnee Heights, Highland Park, Topeka Seaman and Topeka West.

Heights is ranked No. 10 in the state by the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association and has two wrestlers ranked in the top six in the state with 285-pounder Chris Holly ranked No. 1 and 160-pounder Jared Brown ranked third. Seaman has three ranked wrestlers, West and Washington have one apiece and Schlagle has three. Schlagle senior Marcus Walker is ranked No. 1 in the state at 125.

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