PHS wrestling took 2nd in the league tournament Thursday.

The Greenback Wrestlers went to CKL knowing they had to be close to perfect to win as two starters were out for the tournament. So many different scenarios could have had the Greenbacks on top up to the very last three matches. Last year it came down to Nick Lucas winning over Christopher Ball as the marquee match. This year the marquee matchup was Justin Lamatsch #6 in 4A vs. Wyatt Pedigo #1 in 3A. The winner would get 4 points, which is a total of 8 points difference in the team standings depending on who won. Justin ended his day with a 4-1 record, and a 2nd place finish in an exhilarating match where Justin just missed scoring as time ran out for a well-earned CKL runner-up finish to get him ready for a tough regional bracket, showing great senior leadership!

Pratt had two more chances to close the gap at 195 and 220, but it was not meant to be this year.  Hunter Huber was wrestling well against Keaton Thompson of Larned and he had to stop for blood time.  After blood time ran out, he was given the chance to wrestle and the Larned wrestler upped his aggressive ties and head movements to ensure that the nose plug would come out to end the match as the 5 minutes of blood time was up.  Hunter still wrestled well for the tournament, ending in a heartbreaking way that was out of his control.  Hunter was 3-1 on the day, 2nd place.

The final opportunity to close the gap came at 220 with Sevren Hance, jr., who had pinned his way through the tournament.  With a pin, Pratt would tie Hoisington, with a regular win, the Greenbacks would be within 2 points. Sevren was close to getting one more pin and momentum got the best of him and the match turned in a moment, with Sevren losing by fall to Michael Schneider of Nickerson.  Sevren wrestled a great tournament, ending the day 4-1, CKL runner-up. With the sum total of all of the exciting wrestling, Hoisington won its first CKL title by 6 points over Pratt.  With every match mattering, the tournament was an exciting day for fans and the wrestlers.

Our two freshmen lower weights, came out firing on all cylinders and Devon Weber once again avenged an earlier season loss to win his first CKL title over Moore of Nickerson, 7-0.  Devon wrestled outstanding on the day and is wrestling at his best, at the exact right time.  Devon was  3-0 on the day for the championship!

Kaiser Pelland, fr., kept the trend going with a perfect day of his own.  Kaiser is looking tougher each week and our freshmen are truly performing now!  Kaiser pinned his first three opponents and ended his tournament with a major decision over Van Fossom of Smoky Valley, 13-4 to end with his first CKL championship as well!

Dylan Cox, so., kept the team scoring going by getting two falls and going 2-2 on the day for 3rd place at 120 lbs.  Our little guys really help the rest of the team get on a roll when they perform well, and they do perform well!

At 126 Camdon Nickelson, so.,  had a tough day, but his fight and desire kept the team striving to win the team trophy, which was evident as the wrestler at the next weight up, Cody James, jr., at 132# had his best tournament of the season, getting two falls for 4 extra team points, going 2-1 on the day for 2nd place, helping to keep the team motivated as the team lead kept changing with each weight class.

At 138 lbs. freshman Hogan Thompson stepped in and was leading his 3rd place match against Patton of Hillsboro up until the very end, and lost a close decision, leaving him just shy of the 7 team points available for placing 3rd, as he placed 4th on the day, wrestling with a lot of heart and a solid win on the day.

At 145 lbs., Kadence Riner, jr., got us back on track to make a push for the championship as he had 4 falls on the day, including an impressive pin over Fitzpatrick of Larned in the final matchup, which spurred his teammates on with a 5-0 day for a CKL championship, pushing his overall record to 29-3!

Derek Roadhouse, 152 lb. so., was next with 2 wins by fall putting him in the 3rd place matchup where the match was paused for an extended period of time as Derek finished a solid feet to back takedown. The rest changed the flow of the match and Derek ended up losing by fall. This was one more of our opportunities where if we win, we get 7 team points, if we lose, no points are awarded. Derek did his best and his teammates were still pumped to win as there were many exciting moments in his final match.

At 160 lbs., Luis Garcia, sophomore filled in, wrestling up a weight and getting bonus points for us with a fall over Edwards of Nickerson.  His losses on the day were to two wrestlers with a combined record of 52-10, and Luis was disappointed in himself for losing to those guys because he was thinking of team results, not skill of his opponents, which says a lot about his moxie and grit.

At 170 lbs., Caden Blankenship was 3-1 on the day, losing in the championship match to Sean Urban of Hoisington, the #3 in 3A, by a 5-1 decision.  Caden was on fire for the day and it is that kind of fire he will need come Regionals next week. CKL runner-up.

The CKL tournament was a learning experience for our team. We learned how to tackle adversity as we were down two starters.  We learned that we have a lot of underclassmen, but we are not a young team because we know what it takes to win as a team.  We almost beat the #1 in 3A team while being shorthanded.  That is no minor feat and Greenback Nation should be proud of the boys’ performances in an exciting, down to the wire team race that could have gone either way.  These boys will surprise people in the next few weeks and the next few years as we strive to continue to meet our goal of repeating in the top 10 of all of 4A.  The 1st step is the toughest regional in 4A in Ark City next Friday and Saturday.

Go Greenbacks!