A new team champion was crowned Saturday at the 55th Newton Invitational Tournament of Champions wrestling tournament as Valley Center topped the 27-team field.
The Hornets edged Ark Valley-Chisholm Trail Division II rival Arkansas City 184.5-169.5 for the team title.
Derby was third at 142, followed by Washburn Rural at 139, Blue Valley Southwest at 135, Maize at 128, Manhattan at 121.5, Newton at 105, Dodge City at 102.5 and Wichita South at 92.5.
Arkansas City won individual titles in three weight classes, followed by Newton and Maize with two each.
Valley Center won just one title and piled up the medals in the consolation rounds for the win. It was just the Hornet’s second year competing in the TOC.
“We got in this last year and placed fourth last year, so it was good to get over the hump,” Valley Center coach Tate Lowe said. “I challenged them yesterday because we had a really bad quarters. We lost some close matches we should have won. In all the seventh-eighth, fifth-sixth and third-fourths, we didn’t lose a single match. We beat kids that beat us on the front side.”
The Hornets entered the meet ranked fourth in the Class 5A coaches poll, finishing ahead of both Maize and Blue Valley Southwest, ranked second and third respectively, along with top-ranked Derby and third-ranked Washburn Rural from 6A and top-ranked Arkansas City and second-ranked Andover Central from 4A.
“Last year, our league went 1-2-3 at regionals and 1-2-3 at state,” Lowe said. “I firmly believe the AV-CTL is the toughest league in the state. In 4A Ark City ranked number one. In 5A, Goddard ranked number one. In 6A, Derby is ranked number one. It prepares us. This tournament shows us we have a lot of spots we need to work on. We still have a lot to do. We only had one champion. We need more.”
Lowe was named the outstanding coach of the tournament.
Top-ranked wrestlers clashed at 132 pounds as Aiden Campbell of Maize (5A) and Gunnar Murray of Washburn Rural (6A) traded escapes in the second and third periods. After a scoreless overtime and just under two minutes of blood time against Campbell, Campbell rode Murray out in the first tie-break period. After more blood time, Murray rode Campbell out in the second tie-break period. Campbell used more blood time before the final tie-break period. Campbell rode out Murray in the final 30 seconds for the win. It was Murray’s first loss of the season.
At 106 pounds, second-ranked (6A) Anthony Mariche of Dodge City jumped to an 8-2 lead over top-ranked (4A) Griffin Baker of Andover Central. In the second period, Baker got back in the match with a reversal and a pair of back points. Baker scored a takedown with two back points to take the lead in the the lead. Mariche countered with a reversal, but Baker scored an escape with about 20 seconds remaining for an 11-10 decision.
At 145 pounds, Arkansas City’s top-ranked Jake Beeson (4A) scored an escape and a takedown in third period for a 3-0 decision over second-ranked (5A) Dallas Boone of Valley Center.
At 152 pounds, second-ranked (6A) Cade Lindsey of Derby scored an escape early in the second period and a takedown late in the second period, riding out top-ranked (6A) Bubba Wilson of Manhattan in the third for a 3-0 decision.
At 160 pounds, Manhattan’s top-ranked (6A) Jalin Harper scored a reversal with a pair of back points in the second period, which allowed him to survive a third-period reversal from second-ranked Triston Wills of Derby (6A) for a 4-2 decision.
At 170 pounds, second-ranked (5A) Tyler Boone of Valley Center scored a third-period escape against sixth-ranked (5A) Ryan Murphy of Bishop Carroll for a 1-0 decision.
In a battle of 1 vs. 2 6As at the heavyweight division, top-ranked and unbeaten Kasdon Arehart of Wichita South and second-ranked Jacob Glendenning of Washburn Rural each traded an escape in the second and third periods. After a scoreless overtime, Arehart scored an escape in the first tie-breaker and rode Glendenning out in the second for a 2-1 decision. Arehart finished the match with less than a minute of blood time.
Top-ranked Marcus Robinson (4A) of Arkansas City jumped out 3-0 against Wichita South’s third-ranked (6A) Asiel Flores. Robinson added back points in the third period for a 6-0 decision.
Third-ranked (5A) Kyle Haas of Maize, a freshman, scored two takedowns, a reversal and three back points for a 9-1 major decision over third-ranked (4A) Owen Brungardt of Winfield. Haas remains unbeaten. Haas was named outstanding wrestler of the meet.
At 126 pounds, Olathe South’s top-ranked (6A) Jake Koelzer scored five back points in the second period en route to a 12-2 major decision over Maize South’s fifth-ranked (5A) Jayson West.
At 120 pounds, top-ranked (4A) Gabe Buckbee of Arkansas City dominated Valley Center’s fourth-ranked (5A) Carter Nold for a 14-2 major decision.