Class 6A wrestling notes
Deshazer machine continues
If the sophomore wrestling season for Sean Deshazer at Heights wasn’t perfect, his coach Mike Church would like to see something better.
Dominant might not even do Deshazer’s season justice. The season concluded Saturday with the Class 6A championship at 113 pounds — he’s 2 for 2.
When Church hears Deshazer is a 36-0 state champion that didn’t allow a single opponent to score an offensive point all season, all he can do is shake his head.
“It’s about as perfect as you can get,” Church said. “He’s so fast and his technique is superior. He’s just a step above everybody else right now. He’s a monster.”
After winning a 19-8 major decision over Derby’s Cody McDonald in the final, Deshazer displayed little emotion outside of the occasional smile. There was no leap into his coach’s arms, no screaming or beating his chest.
“It’s still special, but I don’t really feel as happy as I did after last year,” Deshazer said. “Right now it just feels like a machine right now.”
To accomplish what he did this season, Church isn’t too quick to dismiss the comparison.
“To go a whole year without one slip-up, one little mistake, is just phenomenal,” he said. “It’s probably the hardest thing you can do in the whole sport.”
Deshazer has plenty to live up to.
His cousins, Tristen and Daniel, were not just state champions, but Tristen was a perfect 4 for 4 at West and Daniel was a three-time champ at Heights. Not to mention Deshazer’s teammate last year, Matt Reed, now wrestling at Oklahoma, was a two-time champ.
“Actually, we were arguing about wrestling stuff earlier,” Sean Deshazer said. “We argue about all that stuff. About the stats and everything.
“Right now my cousins probably got me, but hopefully I’ll win that argument one day.”
Reed, who was in attendance, doesn’t see why Deshazer can’t get into the record book like that.
“He wants to be better than all of us,” Reed said. “He wants to be the best. I think he’s got a pretty good shot at it.”
Changes draw split review
Gone was the ceremonial Parade of Champions. Gone was the buildup of introductions. Gone was the spotlight solely on the championship matches.
Last week’s winter storm, and a forecast for another one beginning Sunday, forced officials to call an audible that was met with mixed emotions from the wrestlers and coaches. But they all came to a consensus it had little impact on the wrestling.
“No effect, no effect,” Derby coach Bill Ross said. “You show up ready to wrestle and you don’t make excuses. We all had the same time-schedule changes. The team that showed up and wrestled the best won.”
The most polarizing debate was moving up the third- and fifth-place matches to wrestle at the same time as first-place matches.
Some thought it took away from the title matches, but Heights coach Mike Church disagreed.
“It’s still wrestling,” Church said. “There’s a mat, there’s two circles and there’s two kids in the middle and they’re wrestling for a championship. I don’t think it mattered if there was one mat out there or six, you know who the state champions are.”
State champions, such as Derby’s Ben Becker, did notice the normal pageantry was toned down, but didn’t feel like their accomplishment had been diminished.
“Yeah, what they usually do is pretty cool with all eyes on you, but it didn’t really matter much to me,” said Becker, the 152-pound champion. “When you’re in the moment, you’re just worried about your match not what’s going on around you.”
Church actually lobbied to keep the changes.
“It kept fans interested,” Church said. “It wasn’t just a few teams out there scoring points. It allowed teams to score points at the same time. I would change a few things around like the times, but other than that I liked it like this.”
While the City League had five wrestlers reach a Class 6A title match, only Deshazer won.
Northwest suffered the most heartache, as Michael Lindlar (120 pounds), Dylan Beckner (132) and Saul Ortiz (152) all lost their finals, with Lindlar and Ortiz dropping decisions in overtime.
Lindlar, a state champion last season, wrestled up a weight class from what he had all season and rolled to the title match, but Junction City’s Kevin Perez scored on a takedown in overtime to win a 4-2 decision. It was the first loss for the senior to someone besides Deshazer.
South junior Kalin Collins also reached the finals, at 160 pounds, but lost a 3-1 decision to Gardner-Edgerton’s Dustin Williams.
“The City League, we’re as tough as anybody though,” South coach Brian Westhoff said.
The area was also represented by Maize freshman Brett Moon in the finals at 126 pounds, but he also lost 8-2 to Olathe North’s Blake Stovall.
Garden City stampedes to title
There was little debate on who the pre-tournament favorite was to take home the team title and the Buffaloes showed why by sending five wrestlers to the finals and winning by 48 points over second-place Junction City. Garden City had state champions Michael Prieto at 106 pounds and Tevin Briscoe at 132.
— Taylor Eldridge