Seven Braves, four Bobcats qualify for 4A wrestling state tournament
Holton From start to finish, the Bonner Springs wrestling team went toe-to-toe with St. James Academy in the battle for the Class 4A regional championship Friday and Saturday at Holton High School.
The Braves led by a mere point or two throughout the weekend, and St. James finally caught up in the final round of the weekend. The Thunder never surpassed the Braves, however, and the squads finished in a tie for first place with 147 points apiece. Baldwin was a close third with 139.5 points.
It was the latest accomplishment in a breakthrough season for the Braves, and they qualified seven individuals for the state championships.
“I’m extremely proud of the way the guys competed this weekend,” BSHS coach Brandon Jobe said. “We’ve been getting better every single week this year. Sometimes it many not feel like it, but we’ve been fixing a lot of things all year, and this weekend we really showed the hard work that these guys have put in, the dedication, the long hours they put in the wrestling room. They started to put it all together, and hopefully we can keep it going for one more week.”
Five Braves reached the regional finals, and two were champions. Two more Braves advanced through the consolation bracket.
Caleb Seaton cruised into the finals at 125 pounds before holding off Baldwin’s Andrew Morgan in a wild finish. Morgan led 2-1 late in the match, but he was called for a penalty for locking hands — a point that was awarded at the end of the match. In addition, Seaton earned an escape point in the closing seconds, allowing him to claim a 3-2 victory.
Mark Hobson also had a wild finish en route to winning the 145-pound championship. In a back-and-forth match, Hobson scored late against Jefferson County West’s Cass Steele to earn an 8-7 victory.
“Those were really big, especially setting us up nicely for next week and making the first-round match a little bit easier,” Jobe said, referencing the seedings for the state bracket.
Second-place finishes came from Justus Seaton at 112 pounds, Jonathan Blackwell at 135 pounds and Aaron Puckett at 140 pounds.
Justus Seaton entered regionals as the No. 7 seed, but he upset No. 2 Michael Torrez of Basehor-Linwood 2-1 in the quarterfinals and then pinned No. 3 Justin Twombly of Holton in the first minute of the semifinals. Tonganoxie’s Clayton Himpel, the No. 4 seed, edged Seaton in the finals, 4-3.
“Justus Seaton is a gamer,” Jobe said. “He was on his game this weekend. He came to wrestle. He came to win. Coming in as the No. 7 seed, he’d lost to a lot of those guys and some of them had common opponents over him, but that doesn’t matter to him. He doesn’t look at brackets. He takes it a match at a time, and he went out to wrestle to win — and he almost pulled it off.”
Blackwell lost a 6-4 overtime decision to Basehor-Linwood’s Symon Seaton in the finals, and Puckett fell in his finals match when he was pinned by St. James Academy’s Taylor Moeder — a two-time defending state champion and a national champion.
Also for Bonner Springs, Jared Clements advanced to state by placing third at 171 pounds, and Josiah Seaton finished fourth and qualified at 103 pounds.
Basehor-Linwood also had a strong showing at the regional tournament. The Bobcats placed 10th out of 15 teams with 65.5 points, but they did that with a lineup of just seven wrestlers. Of those seven, four qualified for state.
At 103 pounds, Sammy Seaton wrestled true to his seed as he entered as the No. 3 seed and finished third overall. His lone loss came in the semifinals to St. James Academy’s Reese Cokeley, 3-0, but he bounced back with two straight victories and placed third.
Michael Torrez qualified by placing third at 112 pounds, and his state berth was perhaps the most remarkable feat for the Bobcats. The No. 2 seed, Torrez was upset in the quarterfinals by Bonner Springs’ Justus Seaton and then had to win three straight matches in the consolation bracket to qualify for state. Torrez ended up winning his final four matches of the tournament, including a 3-0 decision against No. 1 seed Garrett Matthews of Royal Valley in the consolation semifinals — knocking the top seed out of state contention and securing Torrez’ state tournament berth.
Antonio Ferro entered as the No. 6 seed in the 119-pound bracket, but he used a first-round by and a quarterfinal pin of No. 3 Colton Steele of Jeff West to reach the semifinals. Ferro was pinned by eventual runner-up Kenny Gulley of Atchison in the semifinals, but he bounced back with two straight victories and finished third.
Basehor-Linwood’s final qualifier was its lone champion. Symon Seaton, the defending state champion, used two pins and a major decision to reach the finals before facing rival Jonathan Blackwell of BSHS in the finals at 135 pounds. Blackwell beat Seaton a week earlier in the finals of the Kaw Valley League Championships, but Seaton claimed victory this time as he won 6-4 in overtime.
The Class 4A state tournament will take place Friday and Saturday at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.