Out for most of this season with a shoulder injury suffered in a December practice, the Park Hill senior missed the two most competitive regular-season tournaments of the year. He didn’t shy away from coach Jeff Davis’ decision to bump him up to 145 pounds during a dual Thursday, Jan. 15 at Platte County to set up a battle of nationally ranked wrestlers.
Hayes won an 11-0 major decision against Pirates junior Ethan Karsten, helping the Trojans to a 37-20 victory in a matchup of two of the state’s best teams.
“Leading up to the dual, we were planning on what was best for the team,” Hayes said, “and originally, we thought I’d be able to bump up if the dual was already locked in, if my weight was one of the last ones. But yesterday, coach Davis came into my classroom and he was like, ‘You’re going 45. Let’s get it.’”
Park Hill (8-1 entering a Wednesday, Jan. 21 triangular with Liberty and Raymore-Peculiar) won 8 of the 14 matches and scored four pins to Platte County’s zero. The Trojans won the final four matches, the last two by first-period fall, to provide the final swing in momentum.
Overall, there were five lead changes and two ties after Platte County’s Matthew Schmitt opened with a win for the Pirates at 126.
One of five former state champions in the lineups, Schmitt — ranked No. 1 in Class 3 according to showmewrestling.com — drew Hunter Roberts, part of a ranked trio jostling weights between 120 and 132 for the Trojans. Roberts ranks No. 6 at 132, but the senior wanted a chance to take on Schmitt, who scored a first-period takedown to take control and only allowed a trio of third-period escapes in an 11-1 major decision.
“We felt like it was a good opportunity for him,” Davis said, “and get aggressive against a nationally ranked guy as a senior was a bonus.”
Park Hill immediately took the lead back on Weston DiBlasi’s first-period pin of Luke Rogers at 132. The teams continued to alternate wins all the way to 195 when Platte County won a pair of matches to take its final lead. Then the Trojans began their string of four straight victories to end the dual.
At 145, Hayes turned Karsten to his back twice in a dominating 11-0 major decision. Karsten — No. 1 in Class 3 at 145) gave up a first-period takedown, which changed the dynamic of the match, and an illegal slam called against him in the second all but derailed any hopes of an upset vs. Hayes, No. 1 in Class 4 at 138 and a two-time defending state champion signed to wrestle at Ohio State.
Park Hill’s Canten Marriott, up to No. 2 in Class 4 at 160 after returning from injury the previous week, shut out defending state champion Johnny Blankenship in their matchup to put the Trojans up 13-10. A two-time state medalist, Marriott scored the match’s only takedown in the first period and rode out Blankenship for the final 2 minutes.
At 182, Colston DiBlasi — another two-time state champion for Park Hill — scored a quick first- period pin to break the other tie at 13 and give the Trojans a seemingly solid six-point lead.
Platte County’s Adam Muehlebach (fifth in Class 3 at 195) and Casey Jumps (fifth in Class 3 at 220) followed with two straight victories. Jumps — a sophomore who didn’t win a varsity match last season — won an 11-1 major decision against Nate Smith to give Platte County its final lead at 20-19.
Anthony Enriquez started Park Hill’s closing 4-0 stretch in the next match despite some intrigue.
Facing recently promoted Platte County freshman Sage Smart, Enriquez took an 5-0 lead and narrowly missed scoring a first-period pin. However, Smart earned a third-period takedown and took Enriquez — ranked No. 2 in Class 4 — straight to his back for two near-fall points to close within 5-4.
Enriquez eventually settled for an 11-4 decision.
Smart briefly filled in at 195 for Muehlebach during the Allen Outlaw tournament to start 2015 and finished sixth. Smart has now moved into Jackson Baber’s 285 spot after winning a recent wrestleoff.
“(Smart’s) a kid who can’t get into our lineup anywhere else,” Platte County coach Reggie Burress said. “He’s made the decision to take that challenge, go to 285, battle and help the team out.”
The final blow for Platte County came when Park Hill’s Kelvin Eblen scored six unanswered in the third period of the 106 match to beat Derek Kincaid 8-4. Eblen scored all six on a pair of tilts to earn near-fall points and put the Trojans ahead 25-20.
Josh Steele (113) and Ethan Koan (120, but ranked fourth at 126) sealed the win and expanded the margin of victory with pins in the final two matches.
Park Hill continued to be without two-time defending state champion Sean Hosford, a junior who broke his leg in December and is out indefinitely, while Platte County was missing three regulars. That included Zach Rolofson (113) and Trey Dockery (132) at spots that could have helped the Pirates.
“I can definitely sympathize with them,” Davis said. “It was a very competitive dual, and they’re well-coached, obviously. It was exciting.
“That’s what dual meets should be like.”
Platte County dropped to 4-1 in duals entering a matchup with Raytown South scheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 20. Results were not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
Capital City Classic
Despite five champions and six finalists, Park Hill finished second in the team standings this past weekend. Holt finished with 285 points — 14½ in front of the Trojans in the 12-team field — despite winning only two weight classes.
Eblen (106), Koan (120), Hayes (145), Marriott (152) and Colston DiBlasi (170) were all champions for Park Hill. Marriott was especially impressive in his debut at a lower weight class after missing significant time this year with an injury.
Marriott won seven of his eight matches by fall and pinned Helias’ Jacob Schulte, ranked No. 8 in Class 3 at 145, in the first period of the 152 championship.
Eblen, also short on matches due to injury issues, improved to 11-4 on the season and beat eighth-ranked Jacob Smith in a 4-0 decision in the 106 final. Koan lost 8-6 to Holt’s Clayton Berry in the opening match of pool wrestling at 120 but came back to beat him 10-2 in the championship match and finish 7-1 on the day.
Berry ranks No. 3 at 120.
Hayes held off Holt’s Connor Urevich in a 6-3 decision to open pool wrestling while remaining up at 145 for the two-day tournament. Hayes won the rematch in the championship against the unranked foe by a 13-2 major decision.
DiBlasi won his first six matches by fall and then topped Fort Osage’s Elias Vaoifi 12-0 in the championship. Enriquez also made the finals but lost 4-1 to Chase Behrendt of Lafayette (Wildwood) to end up second. Roberts (third at 132) and Weston DiBlasi (fourth at 126) both lost in the semifinals.
Park Hill 65, Liberty North 12
Starting at 113, the Trojans won five straight matches to take control of a dual held Tuesday, Jan. 13. Hunter Roberts’ 18-3 technical fall against Nikoli Adams at 132 was the only win for Park Hill that didn’t come with maximum points (fall or forfeit).
Liberty North’s only two wins in head-to-head matchups were at 145 and 152. Park Hill, which was open to start the dual at 106, won the final six matches with four pins and two forfeits.
Enriquez pinned DeDe Richardson — the Eagles’ lone ranked wrestler at No. 8 in Class 4 — during the second period of the 285 match to cap the Trojans’ victory.
Platte County stormed back from a disappointing quarterfinal round to finish second out of 34 at Basehor-Linwood (Kan.)’s two-day tournament this past weekend.
Schmitt (126) and Karsten (145) were the only wrestlers to reach the semifinals for the Pirates, who were in fifth after Day 1. Both went on to win championships in the straight-bracket format, and Karsten was named most outstanding wrestler after going 5-0 with four pins and a technical fall.
Karsten pinned Kendall Frame of team champion Goddard (Kan.) in the 145 final. Frame, a sophomore, ranks No. 2 in Kansas’ Class 5A for that division’s top-ranked team according to the latest release from the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association.
Platte County went 2-7 in quarterfinals overall but rebounded to place seven in the top six and total 184½ points, 10 in front of third-place St. James Academy (Kan.).
Blankenship lost a 4-2 decision to St. James’ Clay Lautt in the 160 quarterfinals — his third loss this season to Kansas’ top-ranked wrestler in Class 5A at that weight. Forced into the back side of the bracket early, Blankenship won four straight to reach the third-place match, including a 5-0 decision against Aryus Jones of Junction City — ranked No. 4 in Kansas’ Class 6A — in the consolation semifinals.
That win set up a rematch with Lautt in the third-place match, and Blankenship improved to 1-3 against him this season with a first-period pin.
Kincaid (fourth at 106), Dockery (fifth at 132 in a return from injury), Louden Bredeson (fifth at 170) and Muehlebach (sixth at 195) rounded out the top medalists for Platte County. Caleb Crabtree, a two-time state medalist, finished without a place at 152 after losing back-to-back matches by a combined three points against Baldwin’s Jon Pratt and Tonganoxie’s Asher Huseman — the top two ranked wrestlers in Kansas’ Class 4A at that weight.
Platte County 46, Belton 24
The Pirates scored a key victory when Crabtree pinned Belton’s Caleb Chevalier in the first period of their 152 match on Tuesday, Jan. 13 at Belton High School in Belton, Mo. Crabtree ranks No. 3 at 152 in Class 3, while Chevalier currently holds the No. 2 spot at 145.
Belton entered with five ranked wrestlers but went 2-3 in matches featuring them.
Muehlebach also pinned Malik Clayborn (fourth at 182) in the 195 matchup, and Blankenship won an 11-3 major decision against Jacob Benson at 160. Benson was listed at No. 6 at 152 in the most recent showmewrestling.com rankings.
Park Hill South collected four third-place medals in the Blue Division on Saturday, Jan. 17 at Center High School. There were no team standings, and wrestlers were divided into two pools based on ability.
In the top division, Carter Thomas (113), Kaleb Lenhert (126), Dylen Propes (170) and Ring Deng (195) were Park Hill South’s best finishers.
Propes went 4-1 but lost an 11-1 major decision to Cameron’s Marshall Colson, ranked third in Class 2, in the round robin at 170. Propes ended up third in tiebreakers with Colson and Raytown’s Braden Best, who both suffered their only loss by decision with Best taking the title via his win against Colson.
Thomas, Lenhert and Deng all went 3-2.
Park Hill South 51, Truman 27
The Panthers improved to 2-8 in duals, taking advantage of three forfeits on Tuesday, Dec. 13. Park Hill South was scheduled to wrestle St. Joseph Central on Tuesday, Dec. 20, but results were not available at The Citizen’s deadline.
Truman led 21-12 after six weight classes, but Zak Horton’s 4-1 decision victory at 160 started a string of five straight wins to help Park Hill South take control. That run included a pin for Propes, the lone ranked wrestler in the dual at No. 8 in Class 4 at 170.
West Platte finished 12th out of 18 varsity team on Saturday, Jan. 17 at Plattsburg High School in Plattsburg, Mo.
Justin Rhodes improved to 32-0 on the season and won the 152 bracket for the Bluejays’ lone title. He won his first three matches by fall before scoring decisions against Lawson’s Collin Bradley (5-2) and Polo’s Jacob Bolling (7-1) to complete his sweep.
Devin Driskell went 3-2 and finished seventh at 113, while Brayan Rodriguez had the same record but came in fifth at 120 for West Platte.
Maysville 50, West Platte 12
Justin Rhodes held off Maysville’s Reid Steiner for a 2-1 decision victory at 152 pounds on Thursday, Jan. 15 to highlight a busy week of duals for the Bluejays.
West Platte went 4-2 in a pair of triangulars, losing to Maysville and Riverside (Kan.) on the same night. The Bluejays beat Riverside, Central Academy of Excellence and Christ Prep (Kan.) on Tuesday, Jan. 13. Rhodes was the only wrestler for West Platte to win all six of his matches across those two days.
West Platte was scheduled to wrestle Central Academy of Excellence, ACE and Lathrop on Tuesday, Jan. 20, but results were not available at The Citizen’s deadline. The Bluejays are at Hamilton on Thursday, Jan. 22 before the Lathrop Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 24.