The Pratt Greenback wrestling team, fresh off a regional championship, marched into the state tournament with the goal of placing in the top 3 teams in Salina last weekend. Pratt just missed the mark, earning 4th place only 6 points behind Scott City. But the Greenbacks came home with 2 finalists, 4 placers, and a lot to be proud of, according to head coach Tate Thompson.
“We take shots at our goals and sometimes we just barely miss, but that is why we will succeed in the end because we are mentally strong and we put ourselves out there,” said Thompson. “With each accomplished goal, we create new goals and we will never be satisfied until we reach our ultimate goal.”
Pratt took 9 wrestlers to  state. Five of those wrestlers, Dylan Cox, Koda Dipman, Hunter Huber, Kaiser Pelland and Brice Winsor,  wrestled hard and won points for the team but didn’t break into the medal rounds.
Dipman, a freshman, ended the season with a 34-11 record, while Winsor went 14-10 for half a season. Pelland started off both days with a win but ended 2-2 in the tournament, with one of his losses being to the eventual state champion. Cox won bonus points for the team in his second match, pinning Lanter of KC Piper, and went 20-14 on the year. Huber, a senior, had a tough tournament but ended the season with a 24-22 record.
In the medal rounds, Riner, a senior, battled through the consolation bracket to make it to the fifth place match. He finished his career with a 10-2 major decision against Ohlmeier of Paola to earn fifth place. Riner completed his season with a 41-5 record along with a career record of 117-32 and two state placings.
In his second trip to state, senior Blankenship fought through his first four rounds to make it to the third place match. He went up against the 38-4 Tannahill of Holton. Blankenship was able to get ahead with only seconds to go when Tannahill secured a reversal and sent the match into over time. Blankenship lost in overtime in a heartbreaker in the last match of his career. He finished the season with a 38-8 record and a career record of 61-22.
Fellow senior, Koehler, entered the tournament ready to compete.
“Going into it I felt excited and ready to go all week long. I knew it was going to be my last tournament so I had to go all out,” Koehler said.
He began his last tournament with a 10-3 win in the first round. In his second match, he just barely won the match with 4 seconds left for an exciting win and a place in the semi finals. Koehler kept going to beat the #1 ranked wrestler in 4A to make it to the championship.
“I was the most nervous I had ever been but also super ready to compete. I felt like I was on top of the world for the whole match,” said Koehler.
Unfortunately, Koehler lost by major decision to the defending state champion, ending his season with a 32-9 season record and a 83-44 career record.
Weber, a sophomore, capped off an undefeated record with a state championship. He ran through his first two matches, pinning both. He then moved onto the semifinals to win in a 8-0 major decision to qualify for finals.
“I was pretty nervous at first because being in the state finals is a big deal and I knew that this match could be my first state championship,” said Weber.
In the finals, Weber controlled the match and beat Clements of Chanute with a 5-2 decision to bring home his first state championship. Weber went 41-0 for the season and is currently ranked #1 All-Class. He has also accepted the opportunity to represent Team Kansas at the best 106 lb. wrestler in the state.
“I was so happy that all the work I put in this season paid off,” said Weber.
“Overall, there is nothing for the Greenbacks to hang their heads about. We finished in 4th behind the returning state champions,” said Thompson. “Losing our seniors is always tough and this group leaves us with one returning placer, but make no mistake, we will be back to make yet another run at the top 3.”
Coach Thompson was  honored prior to the State Wrestling Finals as one of the four KWCA Regional Coaches of the Year.