Manhattan wrestling team wins Salina Invitational

By Grant Guggisberg

Behind nine medalists, five in the finals and two individual champions, the Manhattan High wrestling team won the 24th annual Salina South Invitational on Saturday, finishing ahead of rival Junction City.

Manhattan’s two champions were freshman Mason Wallace at 120 and senior Erick Sanchez at 145, both of which won the first major high school tournament of their careers.

Wallace was the most impressive, pinning his way through four matches to get to the finals, where he won a major decision over Allen Heberly, 12-0.

For Sanchez, the win in the finals came over Sam Carver of Ottawa with a 5-3 decision.

“These two young men both won their first championships, so that was exciting,” Manhattan head coach Robert Gonzales said. “I’m really happy for Erick after lots of tough, close losses.”

Manhattan put three other athletes in the finals, with Kian Clemens at 132 dropping a 3-2 decision to Wichita West’s Marcus Phillips, Devin Norris at 126 losing 3-0 in the finals and Austin Chauncey dropping a 5-3 decision to Kalin Collins of Wichita West.

Joe Braun at 106, Darrion Taylor at 113, Kendrick Rivera at 138 and Michael Leeper at 152 all took third place.

Eldon Davis-Picou at 285 took fifth place on the day, while Josh Mullin at 170 was in sixth place.

“We’re pretty ecstatic — the kids wrestled really well,” Gonzales said. “It was a long week — after wrestling Emporia and Clay Center earlier this week. There’s just some great stuff going on with Manhattan wrestling right now.”

Indians defeat Clay Center, 64-6

On Thursday night in Clay Center, Manhattan put together a dominant effort over the Tigers, winning soundly and getting pins in 7 of 14 matches.

The only loss of the night came late, with Akira Alesha getting pinned at 220. The win was the 100th dual win of Gonzales’ career at Manhattan High. His career at MHS is 100-34, with a career record spanning 27 seasons of 271-121.

“I think the kids all thought my next one would be my 100th win, but I went and doublechecked,” Gonzales said. “I didn’t want to be passing along bad information.”

With one more dual on the schedule, the team has the chance to get its coach to 101 by the end of the year.

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