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Wrestlers deserve well-earned respect
Good luck at state
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Larned’s High’s Kaiden Reed is his school’s lone representative at the Class 4A state wrestling championship at Salina. Reed drew a defending state champion in his first match.
Such is the life of a high school wrestler. Just when you accomplish a goal, there is another challenge to overcome.   
It’s wrestling’s big weekend — a sport that deserves recognition. There are few high school sports tougher or more demanding than wrestling.
Practices are pure agony. Life away from the mat for wrestlers during the season requires a lot of work and discipline to keep track of their weight.
The magic number for the Great Bend High School wrestling team is 10. The Panthers qualified 10 wrestlers for the Class 5A state tournament Friday and Saturday at Park City’s Hartman Arena. The Panthers won the 5A regional tournament for the first time since 1999 at Wichita Heights.
The Panthers had three individual champions — Keaton Sander (120 pounds), Zack Schridde (138) and Kade Sander (152).
Four wrestlers finished as regional runners-up — Cody Liles (126), Christian Rivas (160), Justin Henry (220) and Jacob Crane (285).
Ryan DesLauriers (113) and Cody Lytle (132) claimed third place in their respective weight division, and Andrew Reed (170) finished in fourth place.
Hoisington’s state qualifiers for the Class 3-1A state championship at Fort Hays State University are led by top-ranked Brandon Ball (40-0) and his brother Jonathan Ball (38-2).
Other state qualifiers for the No. 2 state-ranked Cardinals are Landon Harmon (120), Austin McHenry (170), Avery Urban (195), Kagan Blackwell (220) and Chance Boor (285).
Stafford’s Mikey Aguilar (138) will journey to Hays for the Class 3-1A state championship.
All of these wrestlers have accomplished their first goal — reaching the state tournament.
Great Bend and Hoisington have aspirations of finishing high in the team competition.
Good luck on their quest of winning a state championship.