Mustangs head to first wrestling regional

By JOCELYN SHEETS
Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High Brent Clark (left) and five other Mustang wrestlers are ready for Class 4A regional wrestling action at Caney this weekend.

Everything has been new to most members of the 2008-2009 Iola High School wrestling team. The Mustangs are in their first season of high school wrestling.
Four of the 11 wrestlers on the Mustangs squad had prior wrestling experience. Three wrestled in the first season of Iola Middle School wrestling a year ago and one wrestled for the Allen County Kids Wrestling Club for several years.
This weekend six Iola High wrestlers will have another new experience — Kansas Class 4A Regional Wrestling Tournament.
The regional tournament is hosted by Caney Valley High School in Caney, which is a 11⁄2-hour drive from Iola south on highway U.S. 75. The tournament is Friday and Saturday.
Freshman Brent Clark will be in the 130-pound weight class. Sophomores Lee Berg and Marcus Sullivan are in the 140- and 160-pound classes, respectively.
Freshman Devin Culler is wrestling in the 171-pound class and sophomore Josh Butler is in the 215-pound class. Senior Matt Riebel is entered in the 285-pound class.
“This weekend we don’t need to worry about who we’re wrestling or their records,” said Ron Scho-maker, IHS head wrestling coach. “All we need to do is go out and wrestle aggressively. The wins will take care of themselves. It should be an exciting weekend.”
Friday’s opening round begins at 2 p.m. There will be wrestling in two different gyms for the double-elimination event.
If a wrestler loses his opening round match, he drops into the consolation side of the bracket. If that happens the best he can do is third place. The top four wrestlers in each weight class in each regional advance to the state tournament.
On Friday, there will be two championship rounds, which is 96 matches, followed by the first round of consolation matches, which is five matches. The championship semifinal round is slated to begin around 6 p.m. Friday.
Consolation rounds start again Saturday at 11 a.m. All wrestling will be in the main gym on Saturday. Consolation semifinals will begin approximately at 2:50, followed by the consolation finals.
Championship matches for all 14 weight classes are scheduled at 6 p.m.
Admission to the tournament on Friday is $3 for students and $4 for adults. On Saturday admission is $5 for students and $7 for adults, which is for the entire day.
Going just for the championship matches on Saturday, people will be admitted for $3 and $4.
Schools competing in the Caney regional are Iola, Caney Valley, Labette County, Andover, Augusta, Chanute, Coffeyville, Columbus, El Dorado, Fort Scott, Independence, Mulvane, Parsons, Rose Hill and Circle.
Eight of the nine Southeast Kansas League schools are in the regional. Chanute is the SEK champion and ranked fifth in Class 4A as a team by the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association (KWCA). Columbus and Caney Valley also are ranked in the top 10 in Class 4A.
Seedings for the respective weight classes was done by coaches Wednesday night. The pairings and brackets for the weight classes were finalized.
Fans who can’t make the trip this weekend can find the brackets and other information on the wrestling regional by going to kansaswrest-ling.org/caney/caneyhome.htm or log on to kansas-wrestling.org and click the Caney Valley 4A regional tournament link.
At 130, Clark’s opening match Friday will be against Darion Ray of Andover, a sophomore.
There are 10 wrestlers in the weight class.
Berg’s first match in the 140-pound class will be against freshman Devin Mendoza of Independence. There are 10 wrestlers at this weight.
In the 160-pound class there are 13 wrestlers. Iola’s Sullivan takes on Chanute freshman Skylar McGinnis.
The 171-pound class is one shy of being complete — 15. Iola’s Culler takes on Christian Farner, a sophomore from Circle, to open the tournament.
Butler faces Labette County freshman Bryce Baker in the opening round of the 215-pound class. There are 13 competitors in the bracket.
At 285 there are 10 wrestlers in the class. Iola’s Riebel wrestles Aaron Pierce, a junior from Labette County, in the first round.
Iola wrestled most of its matches in junior varsity competition this season. There were times the Mustang wrestlers did take on varsity wrestlers from other schools.
There are four class 4A regional tournaments this weekend. The 4A state tournament is next weekend, Feb. 27-28, at the Bicentennial Center in Salina.