Wrestlers attend state


Simon Hodge, Reporter

NHS has had a successful season this year with the boys placing third overall at state. This year, state wrestling for Kansas was hosted at Hartman Arena in Park City, KS and took place from Feb. 24-26. The Newton wrestling teams had 10 wrestlers qualify for state; nine boys and one girl. Out of the 10 people who competed, eight placed in the top six medaling at the KSHSAA state competition.

Womens wrestling is relatively new in the state of Kansas starting only a few years ago. The one girl who qualified to wrestle at state from Newton was Jaymie Murray who is a two time state medalist, taking fourth in the state this year and sixth the year before. 

KSHSAA has had girls wrestling for three seasons now and the state competition started the same year,” Murray said. “I think the tournament went pretty well, I improved from last year, taking 4th this year. The losses were definitely tougher than the year before but I’ve improved a lot as a wrestler and have to remember going to state at all is a great experience.”

Since wrestling is a seeded sport, many of the lower seeds have to go up against the top seeds during the beginning of the tournament. This may seem like a stressful experience for wrestlers who are considered to be the lower seed. Junior Brody Harper faced this situation for his first match of the prelims. Harper, being the lower seed, had to follow up the six consecutive wins from the other Newton wrestlers when competing in his first match.

“I didn’t think anything of [wrestling a higher seed],” Harper said. “I was just gonna go out there and wrestle and not worry about how good this kid could be… The reputation of Newton wrestling does put some pressure on me. For instance, in the first round everybody before me had won [their] match and they started to tell me that I can’t mess it up.”

This year was also a first for a pep bus to bring NHS students to the state wrestling meet. This was to ensure considerable support for the team from their peers at school.

“Several factors went into [taking a pep bus to the state competition], given that Newton is about 20 minutes away from Park City. Having some crowd behind us also helps us perform well, for example at the TOC tournament, we have a lot of people who come to support and cheer for us and we did very well. Looking up in the stands and seeing your friends, your family and your peers kind of gives the [athletes] a little more motivation, so we put in the work to get a pep bus to get the kids out to come support our team… and we wrestled phenomenal,” Wrestling coach Tommy Edgmon said.

Foul play was observed by the head KSHSAA referee in the 138 pound weight class. Bybee entered the state competition with over 100 career wins, and was contending for the 138 pound weight class title. For his final match he was to go against fellow senior, Wyatt Weber from Great Bend, who had allegedly committed foul play to make it past the prelims.

“[Weber] had stuck his finger in his opponent’s mouth and had just seesawed his finger on his opponent’s teeth… There was blood on the mat so they stopped the match and [Weber] had pulled his finger out of the other kid’s mouth, pointed at the ref and said, he bit my finger. As soon as the match was over and they started the next match it was over and done with, the kid got cheated. It was so bad in fact that when [Weber] and I were about to shake hands, about 6,000 people in the stadium booed him, which I’ve never seen,” Bybee said. 

Overall the nine boys who qualified for state did well, Newton as a team placed third. In the 106 pound weight class freshman Lucas Kaufman placed second, first in the 113 pound weight class was junior Nick Treaster, second in the 120 pound weight class was junior A.B. Stokes, second in the 138 pound weight class was senior Colin Bybee, fifth in the 145 pound weight class was senior Clayton Kaufman, fifth in the 220 pound weight class was sophomore Logan Buchanan and third in the 285 pound weight class was junior Rio Gomez.

“[State] was awesome, we brought home seven medals, even the two people who did not medal, Bailey and Brody, they scored some points and helped us capture that third place finish. So overall good performance by everybody,” Edgmon said.