Pittsburg senior Aaron Seybold achieved something relatively few people do once and then achieved something even rarer by winning a second individual state wrestling title, closing out his illustrious high school wrestling career with the grand prize at the Class 4A state tournament in Salina.

Pittsburg senior Aaron Seybold achieved something relatively few people do once and then achieved something even rarer by winning a second individual state wrestling title, closing out his illustrious high school wrestling career with the grand prize at the Class 4A state tournament in Salina.

In the 145-pound championship match, Seybold faced Jonathan Blackwell of Bonner Springs, a showdown between wrestlers entering the championship match with a combined 81-4 record and who both won state titles during the previous year at 135 pounds.

On paper, it seemed like it would be an epic match and it turned out that way as Seybold won a 2-1 decision over Blackwell.

“Basically, going into it, I knew it was going to be real close,” Seybold said. “It was going to be a nailbiter. In the first period, I was trying to get a feel for him and I was trying to keep my distance for a second and see what the feel was because I like doing that when I'm wrestling somebody like that when there's so much at stake. I felt him out for that first period and that 2 minutes felt like it took 10 minutes.

“But then, in the second, I got first choice and I chose down because I wanted to get the first point. I got a reversal pretty quick and then I knew I had two more periods to not let him score. I rode him out for the whole second period. . . . That last 1 1/2 minutes of the third period, my heart was racing because I didn't want to make any mistakes. So I stayed on the attack and ended up beating him 2-1.”

Seybold finished his senior year with a 38-2 record and won state titles at two different weights in two different classifications. He closed out his prep career with a championship match victory.

“After my match, when Coach Rieck came over and gave me a hug, that's when I felt it,” Seybold said. “I was like, 'Dang, that was the last time he got to coach me.' It was upsetting, that's for sure.”

Pittsburg head wrestling coach Scott Rieck praised Seybold for not only his accomplishments but the way that he made his accomplishments.

“Seybold has done something that in 32 years has never been done at this high school and that's win two individual state championships,” Rieck said. “To beat Jonathan Blackwell from Bonner, he's a three-time finalist and returning state champion, was a great win and the pressure on Aaron all year, having a bull's eye on him from coming back and being a state champion, everybody wants to beat that guy. That's a feather in your cap and that's what I tell our kids, 'It's not the tournaments you win that makes you a great wrestler but it's the individuals that you beat that makes you a great wrestler.' For him to be a state champion, everybody wanted to beat him.”

Seybold qualified for state all four years of high school and medaled three times. He placed third as a freshman and finished outside the medal sweepstakes as a sophomore, something that motivated him to come back his junior year and win a state title. Seybold claimed his first state title with a 3-1 decision over Miles Johns of Newton.

That state title motivated Seybold in the offseason and he said he never allowed himself to slack off, citing his 6:30 training runs at Mac Fitness.

Talking with Seybold at the informal cake-and-punch ceremony honoring Rieck for his winning Class 4A Wrestling Coach of the Year, one quickly understood why Seybold won two state titles.

“Even though (high school) wrestling's over, I still feel like I need to train and I want to keep that No. 1 position,” Seybold said. “I don't like the thought of anyone getting ahead of me so I like to stay on my grind and keep doing what I do so I can be the best. My goal is to win a national championship next year at college as a freshman.”

Seybold and his six classmates — Broc Bennett, Brent Koehn, Parker Fields, Jacob Wools, Brendan Maxwell and Jake Cloninger — participated in two league championship teams, the first regional title in Pittsburg history and the highest team finish at the state tournament (fourth place).

“It’s not how you start the race but how you finish it,” Rieck said. “For those seniors, their race started the first time they walked in the wrestling room as freshmen. It wasn’t in November of this year. It was four years ago when their race started and how they finished it was incredible for those guys.

“I mean, we ended up with seven state medals, three first-place medals, four final appearances. Plus, they contributed to two SEK championships, one regional championship, a regional runner-up, two top 5 finishes in the state. They finished the race real well and in the big picture, that’s how you’ve got to look at it.”

Seybold talked about what he will miss about high school wrestling.

“Going to the tournaments on the weekend and just training in the practice room, being coached by Coach Rieck,” Seybold said.