Lions place eighth, but have no champs in 2007
Wood, Buehler, Flynn nab second-place finishes
Wichita It wasn't the three-for-three that the Lansing High wrestling team hoped for.
Three second-place finishes wasn't what the Lions had in mind after landing three in the state finals, but that's what happened. Junior Dennis Wood placed second at 103 pounds, senior Kyle Buehler was second at 140 pounds and junior Nick Flynn was the 145-pound runner-up.
In all, four Lions medaled at the state tournament this year. LHS also earned its third straight top 10 team finish by placing eighth with 80 points. St. Thomas Aquinas ran away with the title with 168 points, Wichita Bishop Carroll was second with 134 and Hutchinson was third with 130.5.
"I just couldn't be more proud of all of our guys," LHS coach Ron Averill said. "I could be a little happier, but I couldn't be more proud."
Fatigue finally set in on Buehler after recovering from mononucleosis and then getting sick again. Buehler showed weary legs against a physically stronger Mitch Arnold of Wichita Bishop Carroll. Buehler was unable to score any takedowns in the 3-1 loss.
Flynn's opponent, Kyle Detmer of Bishop Carroll, also was physically stronger. The strength factor was the difference in the match. Flynn wrestled aggressive and smart, but he was unable to take down Detmer and ultimately lost, 8-3.
Wood dropped a 13-8 decision to Tyler Stokes of Gardner-Edgerton in the 103-pound finals.
Wood went for an early strike, but he was unable to complete his shot. Stokes took advantage of it and earned credit for a takedown and a 2-0 lead. Early in the second period Stokes was credited with a second takedown that appeared to be questionable (LHS coach Ron Averill appealed the call, but to no avail). Wood then scored on a reversal and two-point fall to tie the match at 4-4. Wood almost had Stokes pinned, but Stokes rolled Wood into a reversal and two-point fall for an 8-4 lead. Wood pulled within 8-6 early in the third period, but he was then called for stalling. Stokes then landed another takedown that put the match out of reach.
Wood ends his season with a 40-2 record. Stokes, ranked No. 3 in the state entering the tournament, finishes with a 36-3 record.
In addition to the three finalists, sophomore Grant Hinckley also climbed the medal stand. The 160-pounder placed fourth in his weight class after making a dramatic run through the consolation bracket. He won his first match of the state tournament on Friday before losing later in the afternoon. Saturday morning he earned a 7-3 decision against William Bowles of Harmon. Then things got dicey. In his consolation quarterfinal match with Jonathan Truman of Wichita Kapaun-Mt. Carmel, Hinckley trailed for most of the match, including a 7-4 deficit with 1:10 left in the third period. After collecting a stall point, Hinckley earned an escape and pulled within 7-6. Then with five seconds left in the match, Hinckley shot and scored a takedown for an 8-7 victory that sent him into the medal rounds.
In his next match, Hinckley needed overtime before scoring the winning takedown against Bryce Shaver of Emporia for a 6-4 victory that put Hinckley into the third-place match. Finally out of gas, Hinckley was pinned by Paul Markey of St. Thomas Aquinas in the second period.
"I tried to get out of it whenhe had me on bottom, but after a while my legs just quit," Hinckley said. "He's better than me, I know that, but I got a takedown and I'm happy with that. I was just hoping I would place. I didn't think I'd make it to third and fourth."
Earlier in the day, 125-pound freshman Cullen Demarest picked up his second victory of the tournament when he earned a 59-second pin against Tavo Dikin of Emporia in the consolation second round. The win moved Demarest to within a victory of the medal rounds.
Demarest was unable to bring home any state hardware, however. He ran into Hutchinson senior Brett Newton in the consolation quarterfinals, and Newton proved to be too tough. He defeated Demarest 11-0.
Demarest ended his first trip to the state tournament with a 2-2 record, and he closed out his first year of high school wrestling with a 22-16 record.
For a full look back at the 2007 Class 5A State Tournament, pick up the March 2 edition of The Current or check back to lansingcurrent.com.