Two Jay wrestlers advance to State Tournament
The Sabetha Bluejay wrestling squad traveled to Council Grove on Friday, Feb. 21, and Saturday, Feb. 22, to participate in the 2020 Class 3-2-1A Regional Wrestling Tournament.
The tournament featured wrestlers from 23 teams. Nine wrestlers from Sabetha entered the tournament, and at the conclusion of the event, two grapplers would be moving on to the Class 3-2-1A State Wrestling Tournament in Hays on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 28 and 29.
“This weekend was an exciting one,” said Head Coach Ricky Creek. “We came out on the wrong side of some bouts, but this is what we have been talking about from day one. You have to trust the process and work every day to get better and not just focus on the end result.”
Five wrestlers came within one victory of qualifying for the state tournament.
“We wrestled our best matches of the year at the tournament, and the four underclassmen who lost out in the blood round wrestled absolutely fantastic,” Coach Creek said. “I was really proud of those kids.”
“It is hard seeing a stud like Colby Tinklin get beat out at regionals, but it is satisfying to know that he gave 100 percent out there on the mat,” Coach Creek said. “He is a great kid and his future is bright. That is where the victories are truly won in wrestling, preparing these kids for life after their careers are over.”
Senior 170-pound Walker Lowdermilk entered the tournament with an impressive 33-4 record. Lowdermilk won all four of his matches to claim the title of regional champion. Lowdermilk won all four of his bouts by fall and did not allow a match to go past the second period.
“It has been one of my goals all year long to get back out to the state tournament and come away with another medal,” Lowdermilk said. “I am wrestling really well right now and I am pleased at how I wrestled defensively the last two days.”
In the championship finals, Lowdermilk defeated Deon Barnes of Riley County by a second period fall. Barnes had defeated Lowdermilk last year in regional action.
“I really wanted a shot at Barnes again after he beat me last year,” Lowdermilk said. “I knew he was really quick and strong but I went right after him and took it to him.”
Junior 152-pound Kaden Dillon entered the tournament with a 20-6 record and took second place in his bracket. Dillon won his first three bouts to put him into the championship finals against Grant Roush of Perry-Lecompton. Dillon and Roush had met twice this year, with each grappler winning one match. Roush outlasted Dillon 3-2 in a close bout that went down to the wire.
“I felt like this was the best I had wrestled all year,” Dillon said. “I made it to state last year so it was definitely a goal to get back out there again. I really want to go out there and place in the tournament. I felt like my defensive wrestling was better this weekend so I want to put it all together and have a good tournament.”
“Kaden and Walker wrestled great, and they will be ready next week,” Coach Creek said. “They have unfinished business to take care of.”
Rossville captured the team title with 142 points, followed by Riverside with 126 and Silver Lake with 120. Sabetha finished the tournament with 68.5 team points.