BSHS wrestling squad returns significan talent, plans to raise the bar
Given what the Bonner Springs High School wrestling team has accomplished during the past two seasons, there isn’t much higher for the Braves to set the bar — but they’re going to try.
The next logical step is for the team to earn a spot on the Class 4A state tournament podium and bring home a top-three trophy. That’s a feat that narrowly eluded BSHS last season.
“Coming off a regional championship and a fifth-place finish (at state) last year — and only losing one senior — expectations are high,” third-year BSHS coach Brandon Jobe said. “We have a great group of wrestlers who are focused and will put in the work to succeed. I would like to repeat as regional champions and improve our finish at the state tournament.”
The one senior lost to graduation is a big loss. Caleb Seaton won a state championship as a senior. Still, the cupboard is far from bare. Among the 13 returning letter-winners are state champion Jonathan Blackwell, third-place state medalist Aaron Puckett and fifth-place state medalist Mark Hobson.
In addition, Justus Seaton, Josiah Seaton and Jared Clements all are back after qualifying for state a year ago.
Blackwell, a junior, is expected to wrestle at 145 pounds this season. Hobson, a senior, will compete at 152 pounds and Puckett, a junior, will wrestle at 160. That should give BSHS one of the most talented middle-weight nucleuses in the state — and that’s just from the returning state medalists. Sophomore Josiah Seaton earned 2011 Greco-Roman All-American honors and will compete at 106 pounds. Justus Seaton, a two-time state qualifier and a 2011 Freestyle and Greco-Roman state runner-up, will wrestle at 113 pounds. Two-time letter-winner Austin Cobb, a senior, will compete at 126 or 132 pounds, and junior Coltin Bulkley — a fourth-place finisher at state in Freestyle and Greco-Roman — will occupy the 138-pound class. Junior Jared Clements — a 2010 kids club state runner-up — will compete at 170 pounds, and two-year letter-winner Patrick Ballard, a junior, will wrestle at 182 pounds.
Jobe also expects to see newcomers D.J. Ballard — a fourth-place finisher at Brute Nationals — compete for time at 106 or 113 pounds, and Bryan Lanning to vie for a spot at 132 or 138 pounds.
Bonner Springs opens the season at 4:30 p.m. today against Piper and Basehor-Linwood at Piper. The Braves then compete at 9 a.m. Saturday at Wamego.