Karsten claims Platte County wrestling's only title at Gardner-Edgerton

DAVID BREDESON/Special to The Citizen Platte County junior Ethan Karsten, top, works to pin an opponent in the 145-pound bracket of the Gardner-Edgerton Invitational on Dec. 6 in Gardner, Kan. Karsten was the only Platte County wrestler to earn an individual title in the 16-team event. Platte County’s schedule does no favors in the efforts of wrestlers to rack up gaudy win-loss totals.

Early evidence: the Pirates placed three in the finals and ended up with one champion and five total medalists Saturday, Dec. 6 in the Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) Invitational. The 16-team tournament held in Gardner, Kan. featured teams from Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Oklahoma and included some of the nation’s top prep wrestlers.

The lone Show-Me State school in the field, Platte County placed fourth with 133½ points — 112½ back of co-champions Broken Arrow (Okla.) and Southeast Polk (Iowa).

Matthew Schmitt (126), Ethan Karsten (145) and Caleb Crabtree (152) all reached the finals but only Karsten walked away with an individual title. The junior and returning Class 3 state champion beat Olathe North’s Tyler Moulden — a fifth place finisher in Kansas Class 6A/5A State Wrestling Championships at 160 last year — with a takedown in overtime to win their semifinal match 6-4.

Karsten then outlasted Omaha Skutt Catholic’s Bailey Vanderpool 10-9 in the championship match. Vanderpool was a runner-up at 138 last year in Nebraska’s Class B State Wrestling Championships.

Schmitt, who went 54-1 last year on the way to a 106 state title, dominated his way into the 126 championship match but lost a 3-1 decision to Southeast Polk’s Nolan Hellickson, a Harvard recruit who has went 92-3 his past two high school seasons. Broken Arrow’s Blake Warren pinned Crabtree in the third period of the 152 final.

Johnny Blankenship — the fourth of Platte County’s returning state finalists and another 2014 state champion — ended up in the third-place match at 160. He beat Olathe North’s Nick Haug 14-4 to claim third after losing 1-0 in triple overtime of a semifinal to eventual champion Clay Lautt of St. James Academy, a sixth-place finisher in Kansas’ Class 5A at 138 last year.

Adam Muehlebach claimed Platte County’s final medal, going 3-2 overall and finishing sixth at 195. He lost a 3-2 decision to Dylan Prince of Pittsburg (Kan.) in the fifth-place match.

Jake Marquardt (132), Louden Bredeson (170) and Casey Jumps (220) all finished seventh.

Platte County’s Tyler Blankenship, a junior, wound up eighth at 182 — two days after he recorded a critical win to help the Pirates secure an opening dual victory. He won his matchup 3-1 with a takedown in overtime against Raymore-Peculiar’s Echo Demaranville during a Dec. 4 dual at Raymore-Peculiar High School.

The hosts opened with a 24-0 lead, but Platte County won eight of the final 10 matches to secure a 36-34 victory. The Pirates were scheduled to wrestle Thursday, Dec. 11 at Smithville against the defending Midland Empire Conference champions, but the dual was cancelled due to a miscommunication between the schools. The Pirates are at Winnetonka on Wednesday, Dec. 17.

Park Hill Dual Tournament

Park Hill went 5-0 and won the Black Division of its home meet, held Saturday, Dec. 6 at Park Hill High School. The Trojans were 3-0 in pool wrestling and went on to beat Blue Springs South in the semifinal and Kearney 42-28 in the championship dual.

In the eight-team Black Division, Park Hill ended up beating each of the teams that finished second, third, fourth and fifth. Park Hill South went 0-3, including a 66-12 loss to rival Park Hill South in the opener, during the pool duals and wound up seventh. The Panthers beat Harrisonville in the seventh-place dual, 44-36.

Both Park Hill School District teams opened their regular season dual schedule on Tuesday, Dec. 9 before wrestling in tournaments each of the next two weekends.

Park Hill wrestled at Lee’s Summit on Tuesday, but results were not available at The Citizen’s deadline. The Trojans travel for the Walsh Jesuit Ironman Invitational in Hudson, Ohio on Dec. 12 and 13. In its 20th year, the Ironman brings together participants from nearly 50 schools from across the country and is annually considered one of the toughest high school fields and will again feature a live webstream of the finals on flowrestling.com on Saturday night.

In addition to Platte County, Park Hill will be at Kansas City Stampede the following week.

Park Hill South opened vs. Lee’s Summit West on Tuesday, but results were not available at The Citizen’s deadline. The Panthers are at the Lee’s Summit North Invitational this weekend and the Lee’s Summit Christmas Tournament on Dec. 19-20.

West Platte undefeated

The Bluejays opened with a pair of dual victories on Thursday, Dec. 4 and enters Thursday, Dec. 11’s home triangular with Pembroke Hill and Hogan Prep unbeaten.

West Platte topped Wentworth Military Academy 40-28 and shut out Central Academy of Excellence, a school in the Kansas City Public School District, to start the season. Wentworth and West Platte split the six head-to-head matches wrestled, including a 9-1 major decision win for Bluejays junior and 2013 Class 1 state runner-up Justin Rhodes against Jarek Brown.

Kyle Howerton (160) and Brayan Rodriguez (126) also recorded pins, while the Bluejays were recipients of four of the seven forfeits in the matchup.

Rodriguez (126), Davis Piloni (160), Mitch Moppin (170), Michael Devers (182) and Dalton Larison (285) all won their matches by fall against Central. The other nine weight classes were either forfeits or double forfeits to complete the 60-0 victory.