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The Bobcat Wrestling team capped off a bittersweet 5A Sub-State tournament on Saturday. The Bobcat wrestling program had a landmark number of qualifiers in the tournament with 9 wrestlers competing, 7 of which all made it to the “heartbreak round” meaning they just needed to win one more match and they would have punched their ticket to being one of the Top 8 in the state! With that said 5 of those 7 completed their seasons Saturday falling just short of advancing to next weekends state and 2 wrestlers will move on!! I say bittersweet because as a team we had the potential to advance a few more in addition to one them being a senior in Zane Kincaid.
I can’t say enough about this young man. Zane has been a team captain all season long, improved his focus and work ethic every season since he moved to Basehor as a sophomore and it has been a true joy coach him and watch him develop and grow into the young man he has become. His weight class was arguably the toughest Sub-State weight class in the state of KS with 5 of the 6 5A state ranked heavy weights, including himself in the bracket and another one that was ranked earlier in the season so in the 8-man bracket 6 of the wrestlers were all contenders for a state medal this year!! Two of those wrestlers, Zane had beaten earlier in the season. Unfortunately, when all is on the line not everyone can be at the top and have their best tournament and it was not Zane’s best day of wrestling, however a wrestler is not and should not be defined by one day’s performance. Zane is without question one of the Top 6 best heavy weights in the state of KS and our team and his family are extremely proud of him for everything he has accomplished this season and look forward to seeing what great things he will do moving forward!
Zane is not the only incredible story in this heartfelt and emotional consolation semi-final round (the heartbreak round). Freshman Evan Vielhauer started off the tournament HOT knocking off the 1st place finisher from the the other Regional and also avenging a previous loss in the season. Next, in the semi-final had to face a sophomore, and 4th ranked 5A wrestler in 5A and fell short in a 0-8 Major Dec. loss. But then would to face a junior and wrestler that he had suffered two previous losses to in the season to go to state. Evan fought his tale off and came up just short in a 2-3 decision loss to end his season. Evan remarkably narrowed the margin of defeat each time he wrestled this opponent this season!
At 138 lbs. Cohen came out firing winning his first round match against a solid Spring Hill opponent winning 4-3 decision; next loss his semi-final match to by a major decision 1-9 to the #1 Ranked 5A wrestler in the state; and then the heartbreak round and the reason why they call it the “heartbreak round” because Cohen was winning 2-0 heading into the third period before a costly error that would lead to him getting tossed to his back and pinned. Cohen without question has dedicated himself to becoming the best wrestler he could possibly become since March of last year, training year round, and bringing a second to none work ethic to practice every day. A team captain, an academic leader on our team, exceptional role model and unquestionably the hardest worker on our team committing himself to getting better at this sport year round! Cohen has much to be proud of with the jump in levels he made from last season to this season and closing out his junior year as a Sub-State Qualifier and an 18-5 record!!!
Junior, Aidan Baker capped off his season with some heartfelt tough losses as well. Aidan entered the tournament with the potential and strong aspirations of finishing his season in the top 6 at 5A state! Aidan faced in his first round match the #5 Ranked 5A wrestler in state from STA and wrestled his closest match with him yet falling short in a decision loss 1-5. In his second match, backside consolation match he won by decision 8-4; then came the “heartbreak round” where he was winning and controlling the entire match before giving up a 5 point exchange (reversal & three backpoints before the end of the 2nd period to fall behind by a point. Aidan would quickly work for a nearfall to regain the lead. Back in the drivers seat until the closing 2 seconds of the 3rd period, Aidan allowed an escape that took the match into overtime. In overtime, Aidan took a shot shortly after the whistle and would end up giving up the takedown to lost in overtime 6-8. Such a heartbreaker with a loss to a kid that he had previously defeated in the season and needed to beat again to go to state and enter into the top 8 kids for his weight class! A disappointing loss for sure but one that will undoubtedly fuel his off-season training and help him to enter into his senior year next year as a strong contender at his weight class!! Aidan has much to be proud of this season, with several quality wins and a season record of 17-10. Aidan is another great example of a wrestler on this team that has came a long way in the past few seasons!!
Next to speak about is Sophomore, Tyler Elven. Tyler lost a tough quarterfinal match by a decision loss of 2-5. Tough in this loss was that 4 of the 5 points scored by his opponent came off of go-behinds in the final 5 seconds of rounds 1 and 2. Tyler would then bounce back with a strong win by fall in his first backside consolation match; Tyler than had to face a nearby rival in Bonner Springs and a previous loss from the week before. Tyler fell short in a 2-6 decision loss, but would bounce back strong for his final match of his 20-21 season to win 7-0 for his 5th/6th place match. Tyler is such an incredible young man, another team captain on our team because of his impeccable character, he is an exceptional role model both on and off the mat, sets a great example of as a drill partner in the practice room and completed an outstanding sophomore season with a record of 19-7. Without question, next season Tyler will return as a strong contender at his weight class!!
Next to speak about is Freshman Ethan Kelley who went 0-2, but what an outstanding freshman season overall filling in as a young wrestler with not a ton of wrestling experience, Ethan finished the season 5-10 on varsity as an undersized freshman at 120 lbs. in addition to having a mid-season broken hand injury he had to overcome. This kid is tough, determined, and has a bright future ahead of him as we expect him to continue to do the right things and follow the path set before him by his coaches and upperclassmen. Keep your eyes peeled for Ethan Kelley and what he will accomplish in the seasons to come!!
Lastly, to mention is Junior, Emanuel Vazquez who is arguably the most improved wrestler on our team! Manny went from little to know experience only a few seasons ago to now being a strong competitor at the 220 lbs. weight class! Manny has grown into a solid positional wrestler who is still trying to find his way at the weight class but is not far off from being a contender proving that this season becoming a Sub-State Qualifier (Top 16 in the state of KS at 5A) and finishing with a season record of 11-9. Manny is also one of our harder workers in the room, is committed to the weight room and continuing to grow in size and strength into this 220 lbs weight class and as one of the toughest 220 lbs. seniors in the state next year!!!
CONGRATS to our two STATE QUALIFIERS (TOP 8)!!! Sophomore Connor McMillen and Junior Tanner Parish will now head on to Wichita on Friday to compete for a state medal!!
“MOST OUTSTANDING WRESTLER” for the tournament goes to Tanner Parish at 182 lbs.! Tanner wrestled by far his best tournament of the season going 3-1 with two wins by PIN and a 10-4 decision win for 3rd place over the same opponent he lost to in the quarterfinal round!! Tanner’s Consolation Semi-Final win by Fall to get qualify for next weekend came over the #6 ranked 5A wrestler in state from OP-BVSW!! We hope and look for Tanner to bring that same H.E.A.T. next Friday in Wichita with his eyes set on bringing home a state medal!!!
I will wrap it up by saying I am so proud of our entire team for all their hard work this season, their resiliency completing a full season through a pandemic, and continuing bounce back after each of their tough losses. This sport, our coaching staff, all of our behind the scenes volunteers, our Bobcat wresting families all play a vital role in making this program what it is and I am so blessed and thankful to call myself these kids Head Coach. My eye’s have watered on several occasions this season, my prayers have gone out to this team continually through the challenges, and I have experience some great excitement and joys through this tough but still tremendous 20-21 wrestling season!
Bobcat community, if you see a wrestler, please let them know how great of a job they did this season and how proud we all are of them navigating through such a challenging season like none we have ever scene before!
1 Shawnee-Mill Valley 204.0
2 Overland Park-St. Thomas Aquinas 156.5
3 Tecumseh-Shawnee Heights 144.0
4 Bonner Springs 130.0
5 Overland Park-Blue Valley Southwest 76.0
6 Lansing 72.0
7 Lenexa-St. James Academy 70.0
8 Topeka-Seaman 55.0
9 Kansas City-Turner 48.0
10 Basehor-Linwood 42.0
11 Leavenworth 39.0
12 Pittsburg 29.0
13 Spring Hill 4.0
14 De Soto 3.0
15 Kansas City-Piper 0.0
15 Kansas City-Sumner Academy 0.0
15 Kansas City-Washington 0.0