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  • PHS wrestling finishes first day of regional in 5th

  • The Pittsburg wrestling team finished the first day of the Class 4A regional in fifth place with 77 points, 38 behind second place Fort Scott and 50 behind first place Chanute.

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  • The Pittsburg wrestling team finished the first day of the Class 4A regional in fifth place with 77 points, 38 behind second place Fort Scott and 50 behind first place Chanute.
    “It’s not a surprise,” Pittsburg head coach Scott Rieck said. “It’s a microcosm of our season. They’ve wrestled poor all year, a lack of dedication and a lack of caring. It continued on into today. Even being able to host their first regional tournament at home with a home crowd cheering them on, they still performed at a poor level.
    “It is a lack of dedication to each other and a lack of caring. Next year, we’ll do a lot of reevaluating with 35 eighth graders coming in and we will be freshman-heavy because the kids we have up here right now . . . I don’t know any other way of putting it, the coaches want it more than they do.
    “There’s still a handful, four or five kids, and four or five kids are in the semis. The rest of them don’t know how to dig deep and win. A champion always finds a way to win and that’s what these kids . . . they get put on their back and it’s easier to give up than to fight and dig deep, get up off your back, come back and win the match. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of effort to do this sport because you are out on an island by yourself and for say a football coach, it’s a perfect sport to find out who the tough guys are in your school.
    “The tough guys find a way to win when they’re by themselves because they’ve got to dig deep and they’ve got to go to war and they’ve got to get bloodied up. A champion will get bloodied up and he’ll find a way to win, to get the job done. This year, we have very few of those individuals who want to dig deep.”
    Three PHS wrestlers earned spots in the championship finals — 106-pound Levi Kester, 113-pound Jeremiah Jones and 220-pound Gershom Avalos. The rest of the Purple Dragon grapplers are in the consolation bracket.
    Kester pinned Blade Marmon of Anderson County in 55 seconds and will face Case Pemberton of Prairie View for a regional title. Kester, a defending regional champion, enters his match 21-12 and Pemberton 23-5.
    Jones got on top and stayed on top of Cole Stewart of Fort Scott during their semifinal match, winning a 8-0 decision. Jones improved to 33-5 and will face Chanute freshman Nick Ornelas (27-10).
    Avalos won a 5-2 decision over Tanner Foulk of Osawatomie in the semis and pinned Dakota Lewis of Labette County in 2:18. Avalos moved up to 30-6 and faces Stephen McDonald of Iola on Saturday night for a shot at his second consecutive regional title.
    Page 2 of 2 - “All three can win it and they need to win it for themselves so they draw a fourth place kid at the state tournament and get a good jump on things,” Rieck said. "Otherwise, they get a third place man out of another regional and there’s some tough regionals. A third place man could be as good as a second or a first place guy here. They’re going to have to bring their A game (today). Kester’s got a tough kid from Prairie View.
    “Nobody’s going to give it to them. They’re going to have to earn it and take it. That’s what a lot of our guys don’t understand. You’ve got to earn it in wrestling.
    Nobody on the left of you or the right of you is going to be able to help you out to win a state title. When you win in this sport, it’s all you and when you lose, it’s all you.”
    Joey Wools (120) and Brett Cobb (132) lost their semifinal matches.
    Making its first 4A regional appearance, Frontenac won three matches Friday — Tanner Craig (138) won a 22-6 tech fall over Lane Whitt of Labette County, Ethan Hess (145) won a 8-7 decision over Ethan Davis of Pittsburg and Chase Turner (170) won by pinfall over Cooper Skeem of Louisburg.
    Southeast Kansas League champions Chanute parlayed semifinal wins by Ornelas (113), Adam Cole (126), Chase Cole (132), Jared Fiscus (145) and Alex Son (170) into a first day lead.
    Fort Scott wrestlers earned five championship final spots — Tyler Sharp (120), Jerad Heckman (126), Victor Hughes (138), Jacob Durossette (145) and John Metcalf (195).
    The second and final day begins at 11 a.m. today and the finals are tentatively scheduled to start at 6 p.m.
    Team scores: Chanute 127, Fort Scott 115, Prairie View 89, Osawatomie 80, Pittsburg 77, Columbus 76, Coffeyville 48.5, Iola 35, Paola 35, Anderson County 34, Labette County 24, Parsons 16, Louisburg 10, Frontenac 9.5, Independence 5.

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