By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Larned High’s state wrestling qualifier Kaiden Reed faces a tough luck of the draw in the 285-pound weight division at the Class 4A wrestling championship.
Reed (33-12), a third-place regional finisher at Colby, will meet top-ranked Class 4A heavyweight Justin Scott of Jefferson West (33-1) in his first match Friday at the Salina Bicentennial Center. Scott lost 5-2 to Holton’s Cooper Zeller in the Holton regional finals for his first loss of the season.
Scott beat Zeller twice during the season. Scott finished with a 43-0 record last year while winning the 220-pound championship last year. Zeller finished fifth at 285 pounds last year. El Dorado’s Jacobb Burnett and Chapman’s Jason Zook are returning state qualifiers on Reed’s side of the bracket.
Reed is a returning state qualifier who finished 1-2 last year.
“I’m better prepared this year and I know what to expect at state,” Reed said. “Last year has helped me get better for this season. I try and take every match and learn something from it.”
“I wanted to get first for my confidence, but my goal was to get to state. It was a tough regional, the toughest competition I’ve seen. Everyone was competing for a spot in state. To me, I could’ve wrestled better, but you can always do better.”
Reed said he doesn’t know anything about Scott, but expects that every wrestler will be good. By the time he wrestles, Reed said he will know a few tendencies on Scott. He will watch wrestlers that he might face.
“I watch for all the details from head-to-toe, all the little things that can make a difference,” he said. “ I watch for any weakness.”
At 250 pounds, Reed often faces heavier wrestlers, but his conditioning and strength are his advantages. Keeping his fitness and agility is always his goal.
“I try and wear out the other guy,” he said. “Sometimes those guys gets tired after the second period. Giving up some weight doesn’t bother me.”
Reed finished 3-1 in the Colby Class 4A regional. Reed pinned Buhler’s Braden Redenbaugh in 2:28 and was pinned by No. 3 ranked Jason Zook of Chapman in 2:50 in the semifinals. Reed pinned McPherson’s Michael McKinney in 2:07 and pinned Ethan Jay of Colby in 5:00 for third place.