PARK CITY – No. 1 ranked Great Bend Panther Breanna Ridgeway and coach Nathan Broeckelman were a match made in championship heaven.
Ridgeway earned the school's first sanctioned girls wrestling championship for Broeckelman's first individual state title as a head coach. Ridgeway (36-0, 126) completed a historic perfect season with a hard-fought 6-0 victory over Garden City's Belle Hernandez. Ridgeway pinned Hernandez (1:12) at substate and regionals (5:05) the past two weeks.
"We're very proud of Bre," said Broeckelman "That's my first-ever individual state champion as a coach. We've been there with seconds and thirds. Finally, it's great to get a state title."
Hernandez competed aggressively with nothing to lose. Fortunately, Ridgeway pulled off a pair of takedowns and a reversal for a solid 6-0 victory.
"I'm very excited to win a state title. I was confident. It feels good," said Ridgeway, smiling from ear-to-ear. "Belle's a power wrestler. She's strong. She has technique, but her strength makes her tough."
Hernandez surprised Blue Valley Southwest's No. 2 ranked Hannah Glynn 7-5 in Thursday's semifinals.
Ridgeway believes she's light years ahead of the wrestler she was two years ago when she captured a non-sanctioned state wrestling title at McPherson High School.
"I have way better technique now," she said. "I've learned how to work harder to get better as a wrestler. I'm a stronger wrestler."
Coach Broeckelman said Ridgeway stuck to her game plan.
"Belle wrestled well, but Bre had a dominating 6-0 win," he said. "At this point, all that matters is you get the win. Bre was in control minus the time when Belle had a good shot at a takedown in the first period."
Ridgeway cruised past Emporia's Madelynn Griffin 9-3 in the semifinals. Ridgeway earned two takedowns and two near-falls to build a 9-1 lead. Ridgeway pinned Gardner-Edgerton's Jaidyn Andrews (0:47) in the opening round.
"Bre wrestled well," Broeckelman said. "If she does her things, she'll be fine. That's exactly what she did. It's nice to see a rematch of someone we've wrestled all year."
No. 2 ranked Panther teammate Breckyn Elliott wasn't so fortunate, losing a 4-3 semifinal heartbreaker.
Elliott was a few seconds away from a state championship berth leading Olathe East's Wetterstrom 3-0 after an escape and a takedown. Elliott missed a few golden opportunities to build the lead and it cost her. Wetterstrom escaped twice and then Elliott appeared to be holding on rather than attacking.
"Breckyn's loss was tough. She was deep in on some shots that she didn't finish," Broeckelman said. "When you don't finish a takedowns in a high-caliber match, you don't get the win. She wore us down. She got a 'go-behind' and Breckyn couldn't quite get out. Some of those semifinal matches come down to the last seconds."
Elliott's competitive heart was already broken, so it was no surprise when she was pinned by Kansas City Turner's Arianna Ortiz in 4:04 in her first consolation match. Elliott (18-7) forfeited to Derby's Amara Ehsa for fifth place.
Great Bend's No. 6 ranked Daizy Gomez (120) lost two consecutive matches to be eliminated.
The Panthers scored 29 points to tie for 11th-place. Washburn Rural scored 100 points to defend its state team championship.
GREAT BEND RESULTS
101–1–No. 1 Garcia, WNorth def. No. 3 Wetterstrom, Olathe East, 8-3; 3–Sullivan, GC def. Ortiz, KC Turner; 5–Amara Ehsa, Derby def. Breckyn Elliott, GB (18-7), forfeit; SEMIS–Garcia, WNorth def. No. 6 Sullivan, GC, 5-4; Erin Wetterstrom, OEast def. Elliott, GB, 4-3; QUARTERS–Garcia, WNorth def. Geronimo, Emporia, 11-4; No. 6 Sullivan, GC pinned Ortiz, KC Turner, 0:29; Elliott, GB pinned No. 5 Buce, Shawnee Heights, 1:14; Wetterstrom, OEast pinned Ehsa, Derby, 5:05; CONSOLATION–No. 4 Ortiz, KC Turner pinned Elliott, 4:04
120–1–No. 1 Redmond, OSouth def. No. 2 Broxterman, WR, 11-0; 3–DeLaRosa, DC def. Kepler, Gardner; 5–Thompson, SH def. Jennings, SC, forfeit; SEMIS–Redmond, OS pinned No. 3 Kepler, Gardner, 2:36; No. 2 Broxterman, WR pinned Thompson, SH, 1:46; QUARTERS–Redmond, OS def. Meneses, WH, 16-0; No. 3 Kepler, Gardner pinned No. 5 DeLaRosa, DC, 5:15; No. 2 Broxterman, WR pinned Gomez, GB, 1:24; Thompson, SH pinned No. 4 Jennings, SC, 0:50; CONSOLATION–Jennings, SC pinned No. 6 Daizy Gomez (22-13), 1:52
126–1–No. 1 Bre Ridgeway, GB vs. No. 6 Hernandez, GC, 6-0; 3–Glynn, BWSW def. Griffin, Emporia; 5–Fredrickson, WR pinned Dong, SC, 2:54; SEMIS–Ridgeway, GB def. No. 3 Griffin, Emporia, 9-3; Hernandez, GC def. No. 2 Glynn, BVSW, 7-5, OT; QUARTERS–Ridgeway, GB pinned Jaidyn Andrews, Gardner, 0:47; Griffin, Emporia pinned No. 4 Dong, SC, 4:18; Glynn, BVSW pinned No. 5 Colchado, Wichita North, 4:19; Hernandez, GC pinned Fredricksen, Washburn, 4:34
109–1–French, Wichita North def. Zimmerman, Hays, 8-5; 3–O'Donnell, Basehor def. Burkhart, Gardner, 4-0; 5–Leshler, JC pinned Yoder, Spring Hill, 5:00
115–1–McDougle, Wichita West def. Felkins, Goddard, 7-6; 3–Johnston, SM West def. Bengi, WNorth, 7-1; 5–Jackson, Campus def. Miles, WR, 7-4
132–1–Gray, Lawrence Free State pinned Serrano, GC, 2:37; 3–Bond, KC Sumner pinned Fishburn, OWest, 0:58; 5–LaForge, WSouth pinned Garcia, DC, 1:28
138–1–Lake, KC Piper pinned Bacci, Andover Central, 3:17; 3–Davis, Gardner pinned Munoz, Emporia, 3:17; 5–Cruz, GC def. Swango, JC, 12-2
143–1–Goodwin, Goddard def. Perez, Dodge City, 7-3; 3–Christensen, Basehor def. Konzem, Gardner, 12-8; 5–Boa, Emporia pinned Sherbin, WSouth, 3:29
155–1–Smith, WR pinned Arroyo, Dodge City, 1:48; 3–Timmons, VC pinned Finazzo, OWest, 3:22; 5–Guzman, GC pinned Murray, Newton, 4:29
170–1–Stean, Bonner pinned Jackson, Leavenworth, 2:22; 3–Johnson, WR def. Almarez, DC, 4-2; 5–Williams, WSouth pinned Angeles, Pittsburg, 2:34
190–1–Anderson, WR pinned Howell, WNorth, 2:44; 3–Bell, SH pinned Ruggles, ONorth, 1:36; 5–Ervin, Topeka def. Martinez, DC, 5-4
235–1–Rivera, Olathe West pinned Johnson, Wichita West, 4:00; 3–Franklin, SC pinned Tinsley, 4;31, OEast; 5–Conley, ONorth def. Olson, Emporia, 2-0
TEAM TOTALS–1–Washburn Rural 100; 2–Wichita North 74; 3–Garden City 71; 4–Dodge City 69; 5–Emporia 51; 6–Olathe West 50; 7–Gardner 44; 7–Goddard 44; 9–Wichita West 42; 10–Olathe East 30; 11–Great Bend 29; 11–Salina Central 29; 11–Shawnee Heights 29; 14–Basehor-Linwood 27; 15–Lawrence Free State 26