BY JIM MISUNAS
WICHITA — Great Bend wrestling coach Nathan Broeckelman and returning state champion Bre Ridgeway (30-1, 132) will rejoin forces when the 6-5A girls wrestling regional is competed Saturday at Wichita North. No. 1 ranked Wichita North and No. 2 Dodge City headline the girls regional.
Several weights are loaded with state-ranked wrestlers, highlighted by Ridgeway’s 132-pound division that features five state-ranked wrestlers. Only four of the five wrestlers will qualify for the 6-5A state meet Feb. 23-24 at Park City.
Ridgeway has cruised through the 2021-2022 season with her lone loss to Mission Valley’s No. 1 ranked 4A Hope Blake. Ridgeway (36-0) downed Garden City’s No. 2 ranked Belle Hernandez 6-0 in last year’s state championship match. Ridgeway captured a non-sanctioned 132-pound girls state wrestling championship in 2019 at McPherson.
“Ridgeway has a big advantage,” Broeckelman said. “If she wrestles like we know she’s capable, she should win her regional bracket.”
Great Bemd’s other state-ranked wrestlers are No. 5 Daizy Gomez (31-8, 126), No. 4 Sierra Ferguson (35-6, 143) and No. 6 Haylee Holinde (19-10, 191). Gomez and Ferguson are returning state qualifiers.
That trio will face challenges. Gomez has lost to Dodge City’s No. 4 ranked Ariana De La Rosa. Ferguson has Goddard’s No. 1 Ashlynn Goodwin, Garden City’s No. 3 Alonda Guzman and Wichita North’s No. 6 Jaycee Tyler in her bracket. Liberal’s No. 5 ranked Leilani Torres is ranked just ahead of Holinde.
“Our top four girls will look to capture regional titles,” Broeckelman said. “Gomez, Ferguson and Holinde will look to beat an opponent that they have split with or have not beaten this year.”
Broeckelman is confident the four state-ranked wrestlers will qualify for state wrestling at Park City.
“We hope to get these four plus two or three other girls to qualify for the state tournament,” he said. “If so, we have a chance to bring home a state trophy.”
PANTHER LINEUP—101—Karley Stukey (7-5); 109—Mayra Gonzalez (12-17); 115—Rosa Campos (27-14); 120—Jaydon Davis (8-10); 126—No. 5 Daizy Gomez (31-8); 132—No. 1 Bre Ridgeway (30-1); 138—Katie Kuhlman (14-19); 143—Sierra Ferguson (35-6); 155—Danica Cline (15-16); 170—Jasalyn Vanaman (10-6); 191—No. 5 Haylee Holinde (19-10)
HOISINGTON—The Cardinals travel to Colby Saturday with the top four wrestlers qualifying for state Feb. 23-24 at Salina.
Hoisington’s No. 5 ranked Emily Lovett (24-6, 132) and Sheena Gocela (18-2, 101) both placed fourth at last year’s 3-1A girls state tournament.
Two-time state qualifier and No. 2 ranked Tally Wikum (19-0, 138) and state qualifiers Kiana Grandclair (16-10, 126) and Lyrica Orosco (13-6, 155) all placed fifth at 4-1A state.
WIkum will likely meet Hoxie’s No. 1 ranked Marissa Posch in the regional finals. Wikum lost a pair of last-second decisions 2-1 to Circle’s Courtney Holt and 5-3 to Rawlins County’s Kaileigh Morrison to miss last year’s state semifinals.
Other wrestlers will be Aubrey Brown (8-11, 109); Paige Schwartz (19-8, 115); Lillian Gradig (10-5, 120) and Daijah Jones (16-10, 132).
LARNED—Larned travels to Colby with Reese Watkins (14-16, 120) and Liliana McKenna (11-19, 101).
ST. JOHN—St. John heads to Whitewater Saturday with Diana Ibarra, (120) and Morgan Gunter, (6-10, 143).
STAFFORD—Stafford competes at Whitewater with Katelyn McCloskey, (22-10, 155).
ELLINWOOD—Keighyn Dombroski (4-5, 115); Gracyn Dombroski (3-4, 143) will compete at Colby Saturday.