Mustangs wrap up season at regionals

Register Sports Editor

Register/Jocelyn Sheets
Iola High’s Lee Berg drives into Devin Mendoza of
Independence working for a take down in their consolation match at Saturday’s Class 4A regional wrestling tournament at Caney.

CANEY — Iola High’s Mustangs got their first taste of Kansas postseason high school wrestling. They want more.
The six Iola wrestlers in the Kansas Class 4A Regional Wrestling Tournament weren’t able to move on through their weight classes for berths at the 4A state tournament. They did experience what it will take to do so next year.
“We had hoped to go a littler further in the regional but when you look at it, our kids beat some kids at the regional and in the last two weeks of the season that we had lost to previously in the year,” said Ron Schomaker, Mustang head coach.
“Our kids got to see what it takes to wrestle and advance in the regional. They can take this experience and work toward next year.”
Five of the six Mustangs will return next season, which will be Iola High’s second season of competition. Four of the six reached the championship quarterfinals on Friday before losing and dropping into the consolation side.
“You don’t know how much it hurts to be done,” said Matt Riebel, senior 285-pounder for the Mustangs. Riebel opened regional action Friday being pinned by Greg York, senior from Coffeyville. Riebel lost in Saturday’s second round of consolation bracket matches, being pinned by Damone Hatch, a junior from Independence.
Chanute won the team regional championship with 184 points and have nine wrestlers, including four regional champions, advancing to this coming weekend’s Class 4A state tournament in Salina. Columbus finished second with 146.5 points. Iola scored seven points and finished last in the 15-team regional hosted by Caney Valley High School.
Iola’s Brent Clark, a freshman, and Lee Berg, a sophomore, were expecting to wrestle right out of the gate Friday afternoon. They found their 130-pound and 140-pound weight class brackets changed and both had first-round byes.
The byes put them into the championship quarterfinals later in the day.
Clark was pinned by Chanute senior Adam Leedy in the 130-pound class. Leedy went on to win the regional championship.
Clark had another bye in the second round of consolation then was pinned by Steven McGuire, a senior from El Dorado, in the first period of the third round of consolation action Saturday.
Berg, who began wrestling five years ago in the Allen County Kids Wrestling Club, was pinned by Augusta senior Cain McEwen in the quarterfinals of the 140-pound class Friday.
On Saturday, Berg lost a heartbreaker in the second round of consolation, 7-6, to freshman Devin Mendoza of Independence.
Marcus Sullivan, a sophomore, posted a 20-8 decision over senior Ryan Taylor of Independence in the first round of the 160-pound division. Sullivan took on Caney Valley senior Brad Terry in the quarterfinals and lost by a technical fall.
In Saturday’s consolation action, Sullivan lost 11-2 to Joey Dusenbury, a junior from Andover.
“I loved this first year. I was disappointed how it ended but I can’t wait for next year,” Sullivan said.
Iola freshman Devin Culler was pinned by sophomore Christian Farner of Circle. Culler dropped into the consolation bracket and received a bye moving to the consolation second round. On Saturday, Culler was pinned in the second period of his consolation match by Wade Rivera, a sophomore from Mulvane.
Josh Butler, a sophomore, pinned sophomore Isiah Grundy of Coffeyville in his 215-pound bracket opener. He faced Steven Garcia, a senior from Augusta, in the championship quarterfinals and lost by a pin.
On Saturday, Butler faced Stewart Firebaugh, a junior from Rose Hill, in the consolation action. Firebaugh pinned Butler with 1:09 left in the third period.
Iola had 10 wrestlers in its first year of high school competition. Two were seniors — Riebel and Orion Leigh, both at 285 — then they had one junior, Nate Pope, three sophomores in Berg, Butler and Sullivan and four freshmen in Clark, Culler, Denton Christian and Zach Crawford.