St. Thomas Aquinas sophomore Isaac Dulgarian’s quest for a second Kansas Class 5A state wrestling championship was derailed Friday at Hartman Arena when he was disqualified for an illegal slam that sent his opponent to the hospital.
Leading 20-10 midway through the second period in a 138-pound quarterfinal, Dulgarian had Salina Central sophomore Dayton Will in a clench around the waist.
Will countered with a standing Granby, a flying roll designed to break the wrist lock, but instead Will only made it halfway around and landed hard on his bent neck.
Despite the fact that Will clearly appeared to initiate leaving the floor, match referees immediately signaled an illegal move.
When Will, who was strapped to a backboard and taken from the mat by stretcher to a waiting ambulance, wasn’t able to continue, Dulgarian wasn’t saddled with a loss.
“The bottom line is that it’s a judgment call, but it’s a sad situation with Isaac,” Saints coach Lorne Parks said. “His odds of eventually being a four-time champion were pretty good, so it’s a shame that one questionable call is going to take that away from him.”
Will was awake but unable to speak, though he had movement in his extremities when he was wheeled from the floor and taken to Via Christi Hospital on St. Francis in Wichita.
Dulgarian, who won the Class 5A championship at 120 pounds as a freshman, will be allowed to wrestle in Saturday’s consolation rounds but can’t finish higher than third as a result of the loss.
“I just told him there’s nothing I can do or you can do, but it’s rough,” Parks said. “He’s worked extremely hard over the summer and in weights, but the chance to be a champion again was taken from him.”
Five Blazers reach semis
Gardner Edgerton flexed its muscle by pushing five wrestlers into the semifinals.
Junior Dustin Williams (160), who won a championship at 145 as a sophomore, remained on track for a repeat with two easy wins in improving to 41-0 overall.
Freshman Jacob Bonham (106) and a trio of sophomores — T.J. Burger (113), Emilio Fowler (182) and Seth Pesek (195) — also powered into Saturday’s semifinal round, which starts at 9 a.m.
“It’s been worth the wait,” Trailblazers coach Matt Yeamans said. “We came down early and stayed in a hotel, but the kids have been great and stayed focused. We made a makeshift practice room at the hotel to get some wrestling in. It’s been a great week, and we look forward to finishing strong.”
Both Shawnee Mission East and SM Northwest placed three wrestlers in the semis. Seniors Chipper Jorns (132) and Jack Mitchell (152) remained in the title hunt for the Lancers along with junior Grant Hollingsworth (126).
Meanwhile, senior Colton Almost (145) and juniors Laphonso McKinnis (170) and Mario Galvan (195) stayed on the frontside of the bracket for the Cougars.
Thunder lurking as 5A title threat
Arkansas City appears well positioned to repeat as Class 5A champions, but any slip might open the door for St. James Academy, which pushed five wrestlers into the semifinal round.
The Thunder has three juniors — Andrew Tujague (138), Ben VanLerberg (145) and Trent Salsbury (170) — and two sophomores, Reese Cokeley (120) and Matt Pratt (152), one match from the state final.
“We had some inexperience, which makes it tough, but we’re hoping it makes us stronger in the future,” Thunder coach Mike Medina said. “Overall, though, it was about what I expected. There were some that maybe I thought would do better, but some also did better than I thought they would. It balanced out for us.”
Five more teams qualify two to semis
Five other teams qualified two wrestlers to the semifinals.
In 6A those teams were Blue Valley West, with senior Nadir Zayyad (285) and junior Chall Jenkins (220), and Lawrence with freshman Alan Clothier (170) and senior Andrew Denning (182).
In 5A, Leavenworth (Daniel Wilson, Nathan Butler), Blue Valley Southwest (Matt McWhorter, Sawyer Like) and St. Thomas Aquinas (Tyler Dickman, Ben Ewing) each had two reach the semifinals.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.
To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a>. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.