In 2007, the Manhattan High wrestling team took 11 athletes to the Class 6A state tournament, and left Wichita with 10 state placers and the state title.
When the Indians travel to Wichita on Friday to open the 6A tournament at Hartman Arena, they will have 14 athletes.
MHS coach Robert Gonzales said this team is a little bit different than the 2006-07 team, but just as capable of the same result.
“I’m excited for this weekend,” he said. “In 2007, it was a little bit unknown for me. We had a few state champions and we had four kids that wrestled in college from that team, and they had a lot of talent. This year we’ve just been building and getting better.”
Gonzales addressed the wrestlers and their friends and family on Wednesday night in the wrestling room at MHS’ West Campus, and talked about each wrestler’s season, their personality and their chances at the state meet.
As the Indians head into the tournament this weekend, Gonzales said as he looks back on the schedule this season, he feels they are prepared for the level of competition they will see.
“I think we will show up and I think we will wrestle at a high level, and I have no reason not to think that because we’ve been competing at high levels all year,” he said. “I realized last week when we were ranked fourth and we go into a regional that had Derby, Junction City and Wichita Heights — the defending two-time state champion — and we competed and put 11 in the finals and the other three qualified, I thought OK, let’s keep our focus and keep them grounded because it’s all about building for this weekend.”
At 106 pounds, junior Jase Stone will take on Olathe South’s Benny Deaton to open the tournament, while sophomore Kian Clemens will take on Olathe South’s Bailey Yetmar at 113 pounds.
Junior Dallas Vesta will grapple with Shawnee Mission South’s Grant Jongorius at 120, and senior Drew Unruh will take on Lawrence Free State’s Maurice Jacobs at 126.
At 132 pounds, senior Tre’ Davis will take on Wichita South’s Caleb Warden, and 138-pounder senior Taylor Hilgers will take on Hutchinson’s Tim Wise.
Davis Matthews will wrestle for Manhattan at 145 pounds, taking on Shawnee Mission South’s J.W. Pabst. Michael Leeper will wrestle Lawrence’s Macon Ezell at 152 pounds.
The 160-pound match will feature MHS’ Austin Chauncey and Olathe Northwest’s Connor Middleton, while Brian Wood will take on Shawnee Mission West’s Jordan Dillard at 170.
Trey Campbell will wrestle against Blue Valley West’s Jordan Burgess at 182 pounds, and Ty Suggs will grapple with Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Maria Galvan.
At 220 pounds, Deion Parker will take on Blue Valley North’s Ryan Carter, and CJ Moorman-Meador will go up against Shawnee Mission East’s Dominique Atkinson at 285.
Gonzales said the key for this weekend will be to do what the team has done all season long, and to continue its high frequency of pinning opponents.
“We’ve pinned a lot of people, and I expect that it will continue,” Gonzales said. “We’ve seen 30 of the 32 teams in 6A with our schedule and I really feel that there is about eight teams that will be really tough and contend, and we’ve just got to go and be tough and take care of business.”
The first few rounds will start on Friday and the finals for all weight classes will be held on Saturday.