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“The Takedown”: EKS Wrestling Recap for 1/11-1/16

“The Takedown”: EKS Wrestling Recap for 1/11-1/16

Eastern Kansas Sports is proud to present a new weekly wrestling feature: “The Takedown”.

Each week we will recap noteworthy performances from the Eastern Kansas Sports coverage area.

This feature includes both boy’s and girl’s wrestlers.

Thank you to the coaches who submitted their student-athletes for consideration.

COACHES – you can submit your team’s stats to .

For the latest wrestling results, visit


Centennial League results / Manhattan Wrestling –

 The centennial league tournament only had five of the nine league teams participate in the 2021 league tournament. USD 501 school district elected to not have a wrestling season so, Topeka High, Topeka West and Highland Park were missing. Topeka-Seaman temporarily paused wrestling due to COVID, so that left member schools Emporia, Junction City, Hayden, Washburn Rural and Manhattan.

The Indians captured second place as a team while only having 12 wrestlers. The tribe had 4 league champions; Easton Taylor, Blaisen Bammes, Saben Williams and Damian Ilalio. Four runner-ups; Jantzen Borge, Jameal Agnew, Tucker Brunner and Devin Seibert. Third place finishers Jaxon Vikander, TJ Tiede and fourth place finishes from Kameron Banks and Ben DeJesus.

  Not only were the tribe short two wrestlers but also short a head coach in Robert Gonzales. Coach Gonzales had hip surgery back on Tuesday and is home recovering but that didn’t stop him from watching the tournament on the teams YouTube channel. He has extreme trust in his three assistant coaches Shawn Bammes, Danny Grater and Dayton Crist. 

     At the conclusion of the tournament, the coaches voted for the league newcomer of the year, wrestler and coach of the year. Manhattan’s Damian Ilalio took home league wrestler of the year. Not only is Damian Ilalio undefeated on the year at 19-0, ranked #1 in class 6A at 285 pounds he signed his national letter of intent to back in December to play football at Kansas State.

    With one last award left, league coach of the year it was presented to Manhattan’s coach Gonzales. His assistants coach Bammes and Grater accepted the award for him. I spoke to Gonzales and he will dedicate the COY plaque to his wrestling staff. Gonzales explained that back on November he was excited to start the wrestling season. ” I had my wrestling shoes on but I felt fragile. The next day I gave my size 15 wrestling shoes to a freshman wrestler who needed to be on the mat more than I did.” Coach said, Shawn, Dan and Dayton have taken my leave time and improved the team in a rebuilding process.”

   The Indians will travel next Saturday to Maize in Wichita to compete against Wichita South, Garden City and host Maize South. 

Jose Diaz, Olathe West HS – went 5-0 at the BVW Dual Meet. He beat David Sjoberg of Blue Valley North (#5 in 6A) by pin. 


Bonner Springs HS – Bonner Springs wrestlers accomplished a rare feat by defeated 3 state ranked #1 wrestlers.  Senior Cruz Lara and Senior Cassius Vanderpool both defeated 4A #1 ranked wrestlers at 138 and 145 pounds.  Cruz defeated Cael Lynch of Eudora 7-2, and Cassius defeated Holden Andrews 5-2 in hard fought matches.  155 Freshman Olivia Stean bumped up a weight class and defeated #1 ranked 170 pounder Hayleigh Wempe from Baldwin.  Cassius also defeated 4A #2, Dawson Lapping from Frontenac two days later at the Bobcat Dual Tournament. 

The Shawnee Heights Boys Wrestling Team won a tough Marysville Tourney Championship on Saturday, outlasting Beatrice, the #2 ranked team in Nebraska. Heights boys also went 3-0 in duals this past week, improving their dual record to 16-0 on the season.

(Photo courtesy of Chard Parks)

St. Thomas Aquinas HS – Saint Thomas Aquinas won the Bobcat Classic team title at Basehor Linwood for the second straight year improving our dual record to 14-2 on the season. Saints sophomore 152 pounder Dylan Elmore went 4-0 on the day and was voted the tournament outstanding wrestler. Other wrestlers for the Saints that went undefeated on the day include: Tobias Kriner 106, Jordan Haben 132, Johnny Akin 145, Jared Simma 182, PJ Cunningham 220, Danny Carroll 285


Alec Younggren, Louisburg HS – Alec Younggren of Louisburg is currently ranked #2 in Kansas 4A with a record of 19-0. Thirteen of those wins have been by pin, and he’s only seen the third period once this season — a 9-1 major decision over Shawnee Heights’ Garrett Peery. At the time, it was Peery’s only loss). Alec finished his junior season with a 3rd place medal at the 2020 Kansas 6A State Championships, where he competed for Conor Fitzgerald at Olathe West. His family made the move to Louisburg in the late spring. As a junior, he was 37-9, and as a sophomore, he was 30-15 and went 1-2 at 6A state. He currently has a career record of 87-24. 

Cade Holtzen, Louisburg HS – is making the move up to 132 lbs. for the remainder of the season. Coming off a 5th place finish at the 2020 state championships, he’s currently 20-1 this season. His lone loss is to 2020 state champion Grayson Sonntag of Tonganoxie (a 6-1 decision). Cade has a 6-3 win over Osawatomie’s Chance Mitzner and a 9-1 major decision over Paola’s Charlie Zeller. He currently has 12 pins and 1 tech fall this season, and he’s sporting a career record of 137-18. 

Chanute HS Wrestling Team – Captured it’s 4th consecutive SEK League title with decisive wins on Saturday. The Blue Comets defeated Coffeyville 66-15, Pittsburg 70-6, and Independence 72-9. Courtesy of KOAM’s Jacob Lenard, since last season Chanute has outscored SEK League teams at SEK League meets 444-30.

Ryan Owens, Louisburg HS- is a 2-time state qualifier and is competing at 120 lbs. as a senior. He’s currently 13-2 with 7 pins and 2 tech falls. His losses this season are to Brock Ferguson of Shawnee Heights (3rd at 106 in 2020) and Clayton Younger of Paola (a 9th grader with a ton of USAW youth wrestling credentials). Ryan finished the 2020 season in 4th place at the Kansas 4A State Championships and a 38-8 record. As a sophomore, he bumped up a weight to 120 lbs. and was a state qualifier. He currently has a career record of 85-32. 

Sir Grant, Independence HS – In the SEK League semi-finals Independence trailed Fort Scott 35-30. In the final match, heavyweight Sir Grant pinned his opponent to launch the Bulldogs in to the Championship Round with a 36-35 score.


Buddy Claibourn, 182 lbs., Fredonia HS – has been hampered by an early season injury that did not slow him down in his return to action as he made short work of all 3 opponents on his way to his 2nd Consecutive Tri Valley League Title. Buddy is a 2 time state qualifier. 

Caidon Quinlan, senior, 138lbs., Perry-Lecompton HS – went 3-0 at the PL Mixer on Thursday and 3-0 on Saturday winning the St. Mary’s tournament. 

Jack Harvey, freshman, 170lbs., Baldwin HS – Harvey went 3-0 (all wins by fall) last Saturday to win the Abilene Tournament in a combined 170-182 pound bracket. He is 10-2 since the Christmas break, and has 14 falls on the season to go along with his 19-5 overall record. Pretty impressive for a freshman in the upperweights

(graphic courtesy of Mitch Budke)

Thad Metcalfe, senior 160lbs., Perry-Lecompton HS – also won the St. Mary’s invite at 160lbs and went 2-1 at our home mixer. He also defeated two state qualifiers this week as well. 


Jasmine Renyer, senior 191lbs. Baldwin HS – Renyer went 3-0 with 3 falls to win the Ladycat Classic at Basehor-Linwood HS. Her title helped Baldwin win the team championship. Renyer is now 14-3 on the season with 11 falls. She is ranked #5 in the KWCA state poll in Girls Div. 2 (all 4A and 321A schools). The Baldwin girls team has been ranked #1 and #2 in the last two consecutive polls, in their second year of existence. Also winning titles for Baldwin were Hayleigh Wempe (ranked #1 at 170 pounds) and sophomore Madi Hargett (ranked #3 at 235 pounds).

Layla Tindle, 126lbs., Fredonia HS – limited action this year so far for this dual sport freshmen from Fredonia. She is however the Tri Valley League champ at 126 lbs and is 4-0 this year all coming by way of pin. She looks to shake up the 126lb division at the state level this year. 

Shawnee Heights Girl’s Wrestling – The Shawnee Heights Girl’s Wrestling Team had a good week. On Wednesday they beat the #4 ranked Basehor Linwood girls team 54-18 in a dual. Then on Saturday the Heights girls won the Burlington Tourney Championship. (pics from Burlington attached)

(Photo courtesy of Chad Parks)

Topeka Seaman Girl’s Wrestling – Not only did Seaman High School establish its Girls Wrestling program in the 2020-21season, it also stepped
forward to host the 2021 Centennial League Tournament when COVID-19 protocols prevented the Boys and Girls tournaments from being held as a co-hosted event.

The Seaman Girls made the most of it by putting together a strong showing, finishing in third-place behind defending State Champion Washburn Rural and defending Centennial League Champion, Emporia.

Highlighting the individual performances were finalists Rylee Murray (junior, 115 pounds) and Jenna Best (freshman, 120 pounds). Best finished as Runner-up. She is 7-5 on the season.

Murray stole the show! She posted a 3-0 record in the deepest field in the tournament. She not only won the 115-pound title, she was also named Outstanding Wrestler of the entire tournament in a vote by league coaches.
She now carries an impressive 12-1 record on the season.

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