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Congratulations, MHS wrestlers

By Walt Braun

Congratulations to the Manhattan High wrestling team and to MHS senior Ty Suggs for winning 6A state championships over the weekend.

As a story in Sunday’s Mercury pointed out, Suggs’ victory at 195 pounds, as impressive an individual feat as it was, was gravy. His teammates’ successes in earlier matches ensured Manhattan’s state title, the Indians’ second in the last five years and third since 2004.

This time around, Manhattan set the pace after the first day of competition with 137.50 points, well ahead of second-place Wichita Heights, which had 101.50 points. When the meet ended, the two remained first and second, with Manhattan scoring 165.50 points to Wichita Heights’ 152.50.

In addition to Suggs’ final match, which he won 1-0 in a rematch with a wrestler who had defeated him at regionals, three MHS wrestlers placed second: Jase Stone at 106 pounds, Brian Wood at 170 and Trey Campbell at 182. Three others placed fourth: Tre’ Davis at 132 pounds, Davis Matthews at 145 and Deion Parker at 220. Wrapping up the scoring for MHS were Taylor Hilgers, who finished fifth at 138 pounds, and Drew Unruh, who finished sixth at 126 pounds.

Although not everyone on the team scored at the state meet, Manhattan High’s depth and quality were evident in the fact that 14 wrestlers — the highest number possible — qualified for the state meet. Others who helped MHS to the regional title and earned spots in the state tournament were Kian Clemens at 113 pounds, Dallas Vesta at 120 pounds, Michael Leeper at 152 pounds, Austin Chauncey at 160 pounds and C.J. Moorman-Meador at 285 pounds.

MHS coach Robert Gonzales had reason to be jubilant and to lavish praise on his team. Appropriately, he focused on the seniors, whom he called “tremendous… The seniors are the ones I will never forget.”

Coach Gonzales also recognized Manhattan’s wrestling tradition, one that includes a state title in 2004 under the guidance of Lee Woodford before Coach Gonzales won his first at MHS in 2007. “It’s a tremendous feeling of pride keeping Manhattan tradition alive and strong.”

That tradition will extend into next year as well. Seven of this year’s starters, including five who medaled at state, will be back .

But next year can wait. This is an occasion to honor this year’s team for a job well done.

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