Winning the Centennial League title last week was a nice accomplishment, but this one was even better.
The Manhattan High wrestling team won a Class 6A regional tournament on Saturday in Derby, qualifying 14 — yes, all 14 — of its wrestlers for next week’s 6A state tournament in Wichita.
And for the second straight week, MHS coach Robert Gonzales was honored, as he was named Regional Coach of the Year.
The Indians finished with 231.5 points for first place, going 33-10 on the day with 13 pins. Derby was second with 177.5, beating out Wichita Heights, which scored 146. Junction City was fourth with 144.5.
Gonzales said he couldn’t have been happier with the way the day went.
“They all did a nice job, I mean 14 qualifiers is crazy,” he said. “It’s a good day for the Tribe. They wrestled well and they have been doing so all year.”
Manhattan had five champions, including Jase Stone at 106 pounds, Drew Unruh at 126, Tre’ Davis at 132, Trey Campbell at 182 and Deion Parker at 220 pounds.
Gonzales said all five champions had great days.
“I can’t say enough positives about the regional champions, and really about all the guys,” he said. “Campbell had an unbelievable day. He set himself up nicely by winning all three of his matches by pins. And all the guys did so well.”
Second-place medalists included 113-pounder Kian Clemens, Taylor Hilgers at 138 , Davis Matthews at 145, Michael Leeper at 152, Brian Woods at 170 pounds and 195-pound senior Ty Suggs.
Gonzales said all the guys who made it to the finals fought hard, and the ones who took second got into some intense battles. Some of them also upset others to get there.
“Kian knocked off the number one-seeded guy at 113, who was third in the state a year ago, and it was like that with everybody,” he said. “They all had great days.”
Dallas Vesta finished Saturday in third place at 120 pounds, while Austin Chauncey was fourth at 160 and CJ Moorman-Meador was third at 285 pounds.
Gonzales said the day started off well, propelling the team into a position to finish off nicely.
“We had a great session, we got after it,” he said. “We wrestled really well this morning, and we had two byes and we had 12 matches and went 11-1 to start off the day. We just wrestled well in all phases.”
Gonzales said he was happy that all his coaches will get a chance to continue working with the wrestlers, and that no one wrestler had to be that guy who didn’t make it.
“I’m really happy for our coaching staff because those guys work so hard and each one of those five get a chance to work with those athletes and watch them wrestle,” he said. “And I’m happy for the kids because no one wants to be the one that doesn’t make it. “
Gonzales said they hope to use the practice time this week to prepare to make some noise at the state tournament.
“We’ve been wrestling at a good level and we have four practices left, and if we can get them to peak and get some positives to happen at state, we can set ourselves up for a nice finish at state and to go after that state title,” he said.
The team will have a state send-off ceremony for parents and fans on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the wrestling room at the high school.