Pratt High School junior wrestler Devon Weber became a second-time state champion, dominating his championship match against the 40-4 Misener of Chanute for 113 lbs. last weekend in Salina.
“He controlled the action the entire time and the result was never in question,” Thompson said.
“All my matches I wrestled I wanted to be the dominant wrestler,” Weber said. “My finals match was challenging, but I had one mindset the whole time, ‘I’m not losing.’”
His mindset paid off, and he became only the fourth two-time State Champion in Pratt history, winning his final match 2-0.
Even after winning his State Champion title for the second year in a row, he knew he needed to work even harder next year to win his third title.
“I’ve worked my butt off all season,” Weber said. “I've learned that being prepared and having that mental focus the whole time has changed my thought process and the way I’ve wrestled all season.”
Pratt’s other state placer, 132 pound sophomore, Koda Dipman, finished with a 6th place medal.
“Along the way he amassed a 3-3 record with some of the most exciting matches of the tournament,” Thompson said. “Koda was the only wrestler from Pratt to win in the blood round.”
Dipman’s most clutch match ended in overtime against the 26-5 Fort Scott wrestler, Coby Burchett, in the first consolation round.
“Koda showed grit in the long battle through the consolation bracket,” Thompson said. “Although the results did not match his goals overall, he did not disappoint any of us in Greenback Nation because he gave it his all, each time out against a very tough bracket.”
Junior Kaiser Pelland fought hard, but just fell short of a state placing after losing against the 38-4 wrestler from Louisburg.
“Kaiser was in it to win it and lost, but knew what he was capable of achieving,” Thompson said.
The three time state qualifier, 138 pound senior, Dylan Cox, came up short of a a state placing after wrestling two close matches.
Junior Hogan Thompson lost his first round match in a close 6-4 decision to the eventual 152 pound state champion, Sam Elliott of Buhler. He battled his way through the consolation bracket, but was unable to win a state medal.
“Hogan is much improved from the year prior,” Thompson said. “He and his fellow juniors look to do something special their senior year of 2021.”
On day one, Junior Iziah Cook lost his first round against the 34-4 wrestler from Smoky Valley, and won his first consolation side match the same day. Cook nearly made it to the blood round when he was up 4-2 with less than 30 seconds remaining. His opponent from Ottawa tied it up and had an unexpected victory, ending Cook’s season.
“Iziah left us with lots of exhilarating wins and upsets over the year and we look forward to seeing what he will do in 2021,” Thompson said.
Senior Hunter Huber didn’t come out of the weekend with a state metal, but had some exciting wins over the course of the tournament. He won his first round match against Johnson of Paola, but lost his quarterfinal matchup to Gerleman of Prairie View. On the second day, he won in overtime against Corpus of Ulysses, 4-1, but lost in his blood round against his Smoky Valley Opponent in a heartbreaker, 3-2.
“Hunter has battled every year for us, was a regional champion two years ago, qualified 3 times and gave us so many memorable matches,” Thompson said. “Hunter, along with all of our seniors will be sorely missed.”
The Pratt boys didn’t place in the top ten this year, but still placed two individually. The boys wrestled very well as a team with 4 out of the 7 qualifiers in the blood round and one in the finals.
The Greenbacks return 11 starters next year, 2 who are state placers and 7 seniors.
“One thing is for sure, these boys have something to prove and they want the whole program to be recognized for excellence,” Thompson said. “With two state placers and one state champion, the Greenback girls are also on their way as well.”
Pratt sophomore Livia Swift won a girls state wrestling championship title at 143 lbs. (separate Pratt Tribune story) on Thursday in Salina, and Pratt freshman Jadyn Thompson placed 5th at the state tournament at 109 lbs. As a team, Pratt High School tied for 4th at the first inaugural KSHSAA Girls State Wrestling Tournament this year.