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Morning Sun
  • Pittsburg High wrestling pursues title

  • A hungry, battle-tested team. Check. Experienced “stingers” who rank among the best in the state in their weight classes. Check. Seniors looking to end their careers on top. Check. Youngsters looking to make their mark. Check.

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  • A hungry, battle-tested team. Check. Experienced “stingers” who rank among the best in the state in their weight classes. Check. Seniors looking to end their careers on top. Check. Youngsters looking to make their mark. Check.
    A state title? Well, that’s the final check on the list of the Pittsburg High School wrestling team, a scrappy bunch that just last weekend qualified 10 wrestlers for state at regionals in Wichita. A week later, on Friday and Saturday, those wrestlers will travel back to Wichita with a shot at the ultimate goal.
    That state championship.
    “Great things,” said senior Beau Bennett, when asked what he expected this weekend. “A top-three place for everybody on the team. All of our guys medaling. And a state championship.
    “I have high goals for this weekend,” Bennett said.
    That’s exactly what Coach Scott Rieck has preached all season.
    “I’m always telling the guys to aim high,” Rieck said. “Even if you do fall, you’re going to be closer to your goal than if you didn’t give it a real shot.”
    Pittsburg is 1-1 on those goals for the season. The Purple Dragons were oh-so-close, but fell short on their goal of winning a league championship. They then countered by qualifying 10 for state, a goal before the season started.
    Rieck said the next goal was to have each wrestler win a match, and have any wrestlers who lose battle back to fight through the back side of the bracket to capture extra points. Rieck pointed to Goodland, a school that captured a recent state championship despite not having a single wrestler take part in the state final.
    “It’s important for your whole team to go well, and for anybody who loses to pick themselves back up and battle to get points on that back side,” Rieck said.
    But Rieck also insists that any one of Pittsburg’s 10 wrestlers has the potential to end the weekend with a medal of their own. The state qualifiers include Jeremiah Jones at 103 pounds, Parker Fields at 112, Aaron Seybold at 119, Austin Haake at 125, Mario Corado at 130, Brent Koehn at 140, Daniel Blair at 152, Austin Winner at 189, Broc Bennett at 215 and Beau Bennett at 285. Beau Bennett and Mario Corado each won their regional.
    It’s a new position for Pittsburg, and one that’s been a long-time coming. Rieck said he remembered starting 10 years ago with no middle school program and a limited roster. Now, he boasts a roster where six of the 10 qualifiers qualified for state last season, and only two of the wrestlers — Beau Bennett and Daniel Blair — are seniors.
    “It’s been amazing to see everything grow,” Blair said. “This week, I had a couple of people that I haven’t talked to in a while call me and wish me good luck. And in the hallways, people are asking how we’re doing. It’s been great.
    Page 2 of 2 - “To win a state title ... it would be amazing,” Blair said. “It would be everything that we’ve worked for. And I think we can do it.”
    Rieck said he believes as well, and credits the wrestlers and their support systems, from other coaches to the administration to friends and family members with helping the wrestlers succeed.
    “I just want to thank everyone who supported these athletes during the course of the season,” Rieck said.
    Kevin Flaherty can be reached at kevin.flaherty@morningsun.net or by calling 231-2600 Ext. 134
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