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Jackson part of Northwest wrestling contingent for state

Published Feb. 23 at 2:23 p.m. | Last updated Feb. 23 at 2:23 p.m.

Wrestling can sometimes be more about a state of mind than anything, and that was the challenge that faced Northwest’s Kyle Jackson in the 195-pound semifinals of the Class 6A regional at Northwest on Saturday evening.

Campus’ Devon Rogers seemed to have his number, defeating Jackson three prior times and all by a single point.

“I told myself that I can’t keep letting him do that,” Jackson said. “Losing four times, this one at regionals, just the idea of it really sucked.”

Armed with a new mindset, Jackson broke through with win a 6-3 decision that catapulted him to a second-place finish in the 195-pound division. Jackson was one of seven Grizzlies who made the finals and one of nine who qualified for the state tournament.

“It just shows that you’re only as good as you tell yourself,” Jackson said. “Today was big for my confidence going into next week. I believe I can win now.”

As expected, the defending state champions from Garden City cleaned up. The Buffaloes won the team title by 29 1/2 over Northwest, and in the process qualified 12 wrestlers to make their odds at defending that state title even more favorable.

“We’re going to try to give them a run next week,” Northwest coach Eric Prichard said. “We went toe-to-toe with them there for the first couple rounds. We’re looking forward to going in there and seeing what we can do.”

Northwest finished with four champions in Shane Brock at 132, Saul Ortiz at 160, Andre Turner at 182, and Jordan Bell at 220. While the other three won fairly easily in the finals, Ortiz showed the most emotion when he won a 6-4 decision over Garden City’s Zac Finch, who is ranked No. 3 in the weight class.

While Ortiz showed a lot of emotion immediately following the match, he toned down the significance of what he accomplished afterward. It was the first regional championship for him.

“You can’t really prove anything until next week, honestly,” Ortiz explained. “So I’ll just keep letting my wrestling on the mat do the talking for me.”

Maize was pleased with qualifying nine wrestlers, led by Brett Moon winning the 152 title and Jake Wilgers taking second at 126. Hutchinson will send eight to state, while Campus will send five and had three in Saturday’s finals.

But the talk of the tournament came from a decision, not a result. North senior Caleb Franklin, who was ranked No. 4 at 195, made a bold decision to chase a championship in the heavyweight division with the three top-ranked wrestlers in the division present on Saturday.

“It’s my senior year and I want a state title and I think this is the best way to do it,” Franklin said. “Not necessarily running from the 195 guys, I just want a state title.”

His decision, at least after Saturday, appeared to pay off. Franklin defeated Garden City’s Montana Fuller, ranked second in 6A, in the semifinals and then lost a 5-4 decision against Hutchinson’s Lex Plummer, No. 1 in the weight class, in the final.

For his first time wrestling heavyweights, Franklin was encouraged that his decision was the right one.

“I can’t rely on my strength anymore; it’s all about my quickness now,” Franklin said. “But I’m really encouraged by today. This whole week I’ve been fantasizing about this David vs. Goliath story and I think it can happen now.”

Team results—Garden City 189½, Northwest 160, Maize 118½, Hutchinson 117, Dodge City 116½, Campus 82, North 62, South 25.

106—1. Sanchez, Garden City, def. Schroeder, Campus, 10-6; 3. Wilson, South, def. Grantham, Maize, 12-2. 113—1. Prieto, Garden City, def. Bentley, Campus, 11-2; 3. Crider, Maize, pinned Gandeza, Northwest, 2:13. 120—Graves, Dodge City, def. McCracken, Campus, 7-5; 3. Kent, Hutchinson, def. Franklin, South, 3-1. 126—1. Weil, Dodge City, def. Wilgers, Maize, 4-1; 3. Gruver, Hutchinson, def. Marquez, Garden City, 8-4. 132—1. Brock, Northwest, def. Asebedo, Dodge City, 10-6; 3. Moses, Maize, def. Castillo, Garden City, 6-4. 138—1. Briscoe, Garden City, maj. dec. Garcia, Dodge City, 20-5; 3. Nuno, Maize, def. Carpenter, Hutchinson, 5-3. 145—1. Adler, Garden City, def. Beckner, Northwest, 5-2; 3. Hydock, Maize, def. Orrison, Hutchinson, 12-7. 152—1. Moon, Maize, def. Nunez, Garden City, 8-3; 3. Folsom, Northwest, def. Killion, Dodge City, 7-4. 160—1. Ortiz, Northwest, def. Finch, Garden City, 6-4; 3. Samilton, North, pinned Servis, Dodge City, 0:55. 170—1. Page, Hutchinson, def. Robinson, Northwest, 10-3; 3. Baker, Maize, def. Cook, Dodge City, 4-3. 182—1. Turner, Northwest, def. Ostrom, Dodge City, 14-2; 3. Herrera, Garden City, forfeit Nance, Maize. 195—1. Reyes, Garden City, maj. dec. Jackson, Northwest, 16-1; 3. Cushinberry, Hutchinson, pinned Rogers, Campus, 0:58. 220—1. Ball, Northwest, maj. dec. Escamilla, Hutchinson, 11-2; 3. Flores, North, pinned Hernandez, Garden City, 2:58. 285—1. Plummer, Hutchinson, def. Franklin, North, 5-4; 3. Fuller, Garden City, def. Bastian, Campus, 3-2.