The Pittsburg High School wrestling team moved into the top five of the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association’s Class 5A rankings and sit at the No. 3 position as of the Dec. 23 ranking.

The Pittsburg High School wrestling team moved into the top five of the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association’s Class 5A rankings and sit at the No. 3 position as of the Dec. 23 ranking.

Expectations were high coming into the 2010-11 season after Pittsburg finished eighth as a team at last season’s Class 5A tournament, its best team finish in Class 5A.

“We have anywhere from eight to 10 individuals who could place in the top six and four or five individuals who could make the finals and possibly win it,” Pittsburg head wrestling coach Scott Rieck said. “It’s a realistic goal.”

At the season-opening Gardner-Edgerton tournament Dec. 4, Pittsburg finished tied for fourth as a team with Baldwin.

Eight Pittsburg wrestlers finished in the top five, giving them all medals, led by Aaron Seybold’s first-place finish in the 135-pound division. Austin Haake (119 lbs.), 130-pound Mario Corado, 189-pound Austin Winner and 285-pound Broc Bennett all took home second-place finishes.

Parker Fields (112 lbs.) and 125-pound Jacob Wools finished third in their respective divisions. Freshman Brett Cobb, in his high school debut, medaled with a fifth-place finish at 103 lbs.

Pittsburg traveled down to Tulsa for the Dec. 10-11 Union Classic, a tournament featuring nationally-ranked squads from Oklahoma and Texas.

Five Purple Dragon wrestlers placed in the top eight; Broc Bennett, continuing in the footsteps of his state champion heavyweight older brother Beau, finished second and Seybold placed fourth. Haake was sixth, Corado eighth and 215-pound Austin Waring finished eighth.

At the last tournament before Christmas break, in Emporia Dec. 18, Pittsburg finished 10th as a team, led by Cobb’s second-place finish at 103 pounds.

Cobb, a freshman, has medaled twice in three tournaments; Jeremiah Jones wrestled at 103 lbs. and medaled at state last year with a sixth-place finish. Jones injured himself before the season.

“He was preparing for a preseason tournament called the Fall Brawl and he broke his elbow,” Rieck said, a couple days before the start of the season. “We’re hoping to get him back by the end of January, first of February.”

When Jones returns from injury and if he remains at 103 pounds, Rieck will have two medal-caliber wrestlers at the same weight, a situation most coaches would love to have.

“Each week, Brett is getting better and is becoming an impact wrestler for PHS,” Rieck said.

Haake finished fifth, Wools sixth, 171-pound Brendan Maxwell fifth, Waring fifth and Broc Bennett sixth.

“(Emporia) is a tough tournament and we struggled in the later rounds,” Rieck said. “Those rounds have a lot of meaning. We will go back to work for a couple days before (winter) break. Mario Corado, Aaron Seybold and Brent Koehn will be back after the break.”

Pittsburg will host its first home meet of the season Jan. 6, with traditional SEK rivals Fort Scott and Iola coming into the Pitt.