The Pittsburg High School wrestling team departs late this morning for the Salina Bicentennial Center and the Class 4A state wrestling tournament which starts Friday and concludes Saturday.

The Pittsburg High School wrestling team departs late this morning for the Salina Bicentennial Center and the Class 4A state wrestling tournament which starts Friday and concludes Saturday.

Pittsburg won its regional Saturday at Fort Scott and qualified 10 wrestlers — Levi Kester (106 pounds), Jeremiah Jones (113), Parker Fields (120), Brett Cobb (126), Jacob Wools (132), Aaron Seybold (145), Brendan Maxwell (170), Brent Koehn (182), Gershom Avalos (220) and Broc Bennett (285).

“They are excited and they know winning state is a doable goal,” Pittsburg head coach Scott Rieck said. “It’s something they’ve wanted for a long time and we’ll find out in a few short days if we achieve that goal or not. If not, we’ve given our best this year and we’ve worked hard, we’ve trained hard and so far, they came home with a conference title, a regional title and they’ve placed top three at nearly every tournament we’ve competed in this year. Yes, we’ll be bummed out if we don’t place top three but we can’t fault their effort on the season.”

Pittsburg won its second consecutive Southeast Kansas League title and claimed its first-ever regional title, two goals down with one remaining.

Before practice Wednesday afternoon, Rieck addressed team performance at practice this week and team health entering the biggest tournament.

“We’ve had a nice week of practice,” Rieck said. “They’ve been really focused and drilling well a little bit live, enough to keep their shape going and they look good, real good. (Parker) Fields is a little sick but other than that, everybody’s healthy and we’re keeping the illness out as much as we can.”

The Kansas State High School Activities Association (KSHSAA) released its pairings on Monday.

“For the most part, we drawed good,” Rieck said. “(Brendan) Maxwell, he got Eck (Levi Eck of Andale, 36-1 this season), a tough draw. Other than that, the first round seems doable. Second round, they’re going to have a pretty good guy but it’s nothing that they can’t handle. It will obviously be a one-two match either way. Like we told them, you’re either gonna have to beat one good guy in the quarters which will medal them because they’ll advance into the semis or they get put on the back side of the quarters and they’re going have to beat two good guys to medal.”

Rieck believes six or seven Pittsburg wrestlers will get past that all-important first round match and make the semifinals.

“That very first match is everything,” Rieck said. “It gets them ready for that quarterfinal match. That first match is a tough match, especially at the state tournament. That’s where you see most of your upsets. That’s why we have to be mentally ready and focused when we walk out on the mat to wrestle. It will set the tempo for the rest of the tournament and hopefully we’ll get some bonus points in that first round.”

Rieck compared a first-round wrestling match with the first hit of a football game and said that wrestlers need tunnel vision in their first match. He predicted the winning team will be around 120 points and will need to accumulate at least 20 points in the first round.

“First and foremost, I just want them to wrestle their best,” Rieck said. “Our goal is to win a state tournament but for me, as long as they go out there and give it everything they have and I know they’ve wrestled their best and they know they’ve left it all out there, that’s all I can ask for. If they do that, we’re happy because we can’t win them all.”

First round matches start at 10 a.m. Friday morning. KSEK 99.1 FM will provide updates from Salina throughout both Friday and Saturday.

KSHSAA Class 4A State Wrestling Tournament
Pittsburg first round draws
106: Levi Kester (23-12) vs. Hunter Miller, DeSoto (19-20)
113: Jeremiah Jones (24-13) vs. Dalton Tavis, Tonganoxie (31-12)
120: Parker Fields (23-9) vs. Jaysten McClure, Maize South (23-8)
126: Brett Cobb (26-13) vs. Jake Wilson, Rose Hill (23-3)
132: Jacob Wools (18-13) vs. Kyle Wilson, Wamego (35-1)
145: Aaron Seybold (34-2) vs. Jason Haydon, Wellington (19-14)
171: Brendan Maxwell (20-14) vs. Levi Eck, Andale (36-1)
182: Brent Koehn (11-3) vs. Andy Muehlberger, St. James Academy (34-13)
220: Gershom Avalos (26-9) vs. Shane Schramm, DeSoto (18-18)
285: Broc Bennett (30-6) vs. Kyle Benz, Andale (13-18)
Time schedule
6 a.m. — Pass Gate opens
7 a.m. — Wrestler weigh-ins
8 a.m. — Ticket sales and gates open
10 a.m. — First round
2 p.m. — Second round - Championship Quarterfinals
4 p.m. — First round Consolation (four mats)
Championship Semifinals (two mats per weight class)
6:30 a.m. — Pass Gate opens
9 a.m. — Consolation cross-bracketing
10:45 a.m. — Consolation Quarterfinals
12:15 p.m. — Consolation Semifinals
2 p.m. — Fifth place (four mats)
3 p.m. — Consolation Finals (two mats)
Championship Finals start 45 minutes following the conclusion of the Consolation Finals