Area grapplers ready to punch state tickets

Trojans, Pirates expect to qualify several wrestlers for state meet at this weekend’s district tournaments

Park Hill wrestling coach Jeff Davis gets it — this weekend’s Class 4 District 4 Tournament at Blue Springs South High School is a big deal to his wrestlers and Trojans wrestling fans. But Davis sees the tourney as more of a means to an end. “I know many of our athletes have very high expectations for this tournament,” Davis said. “I, however, look at this as simply a qualifier for the state meet.  Obviously, we would like to win the district tournament, but more importantly, qualifying as many young men as possible for the state meet is our goal and winning a state team championship is our main goal.” Park Hill, the defending Class 4 state champion, is no doubt the favorite heading into this weekend’s district tourney, which also includes Park Hill South, Blue Springs, Blue Springs South, St. Joseph Central, Fort Osage, Lee’s Summit, Lee’s Summit North, Liberty, North Kansas City, Rockhurst, Ruskin, Truman and William Chrisman. Top four finishers in each weight class advance to the state tournament, set for Feb. 20-22 at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. The Trojans, who were scheduled to finish their regular season with a dual versus Truman on Feb. 11, took second place in the Panther Classic at Oak Grove last weekend. Park Hill competed without senior 132-pounder John Erneste and juniors Ke-Shawn Hayes, 126, and Colston DiBlasi,152, whom Davis said were nursing minor injuries and “should be fine for districts.” Park Hill got first-place performances from Sean Hosford at 126, Canten Marriott at 145 and Anthony Enriquez at heavyweight. Other top-five finishers for the Trojans included: Ethan Sloniker, third at 106; Ethan Koan, second at 113; Ben Safford, third at 132; Nate Sumimoto, fourth at 138; Lucky Brockman, fifth at 152; Andrew Jimenez, fourth at 160; Tristan Hullaby, fourth at 170; Jacob Sobbing, fifth at 182; and James Schold, third at 220. “We had a couple of guys out due to injuries but I thought that the team wrestled very well considering the circumstances,” Davis said. “I was very pleased with the way Canten Marriott wrestled beating two state medalists en route to the tournament championship. Anthony Enriquez wrestled very well and has not lost since the KC Stampede.” •••••••••• For Platte County wrestling coach Reggie Burress, this weekend’s Class 3 District 4 tournament at Staley High School will be one of the high points of the year – until the following weekend at the state tournament, of course. “Everyone is excited and ready to go for districts,” said Burress, who will be leading the Pirates into the postseason for the first time as head coach after 17 seasons as an assistant coach to former coach Phil Dorman. Burress said not only do wrestlers have to deliver solid performances to place in the top four and earn a berth in the state meet, but they must hope for a good draw in their respective weight brackets. “Wrestlers need to have a good day to set themselves up in good position at the state tournament,” Burress said. The Class 3 District 4 field includes Belton, Grandview, Grain Valley, Jefferson City Helias, Kearney, Liberty North, Oak Park, Raytown, Raytown South, Sedalia Smith-Cotton, Staley, Warrensburg and Winnetonka. Burress said the teams to beat will be host Staley and Kearney. The Pirates dominated Grandview in their last regular-season dual last week, 64-12. Notching on-mat (non-forfeit) victories were Jacob Marquardt at 120 pounds; Trey Dockery at 126; Johnny Blankenship at 145; Matthew Boren at 152; and Louden Bredeson at 160. •••••••••• West Platte, led by undefeated sophomore 132-pounder Justin Rhodes, junior 152-pounder Kyle Howerton and senior heavyweight Harrison Attema, will wrestle at the Class 1 Division 3 Tournament in Richmond. The field includes Richmond, Carrollton, Lafayette County, Lathrop, Lawson, Lexington, Wentzville, Lone Jack, Mid-Buchanan, KC O’Hara, Orchard Farm, Plattsburg, Polo and Wentworth Military Academy.