PARK CITY — The scene at the Class 6-5A state wrestling tournament at Hartman Arena was more than exciting.
It was mesmerizing.
It was surreal.
It was downright captivating.
Great Bend High School sophomore Chris Burley pinned Newton’s Quinton Harrison in the 112-pound division early Saturday evening to capture the 5A state championship at Park City, located on the outskirts of Wichita.
“It’s overwhelming right now,” said Burley, trying to catch his breath in the aftermath. “I can’t put it in words.”
The dream that flickered in Burley’s mind since, like kindergarten, had finally taken a foothold.
“I’ve been wrestling for 13 years and I’ve been waiting for this,” he said. “Finally.”
After he put down Harrison, Burley thrust his fists triumphantly in the air while GBHS head coach Norbert Muth and assistant Justin Schwartz embraced just off the mat. Burley then embraced Muth and also Schwartz.
After that, he embraced his older brother, Louis (152), a four-time state qualifier who placed fifth. He then embraced his father, Bill, who proudly had three sons that qualified for the 2011 state extravaganza as freshman Greg (125) took home sixth place.
Chris Burley then jumped the arena wall, ran up the steps in the stands and embraced the GBHS fans and wrestlers before getting a big hug from his mother, Gui.
Burley, who pinned Harrison at the 3:38 mark in the second period, exacted revenge against the same guy who beat him one week earlier in the regional championship match at Hays. It was the rubber game of the match between the two as Burley beat Harrison in their first encounter earlier in the season at the Garden City tournament.
“Like I said last week, I think it was the best thing to happen for us to lose (at Hays),” Muth said. “Because it’s hard. I really believe in my heart that it’s hard to beat a good guy three times.
“Chris had a great state tournament. I’m proud of the way he wrestled and the way he prepared and our assistant coaches working with him with his weight. He didn’t like losing last week. Any time you have guys that hate to lose, you’re always going to be in good shape.”
Overall, according to Muth, it was a rock-solid weekend for the Panthers, who had 11 state qualifiers.
“As a team, I thought we wrestled really well,” Muth said. “Chris’ little brother (Greg) placed, coming off a shoulder injury, and hadn’t wrestled all that well and he got himself in shape and wrestled well this weekend and beat two kids that beat him last week (during regional competition).
“Louis, his older brother, placed finally. We got him over the hump (in placing) after being a four-time qualifier.”
GBHS senior Jake Schridde (160) took home fourth place in his first state appearance.
“I can’t say enough,” Muth said. “Kade Sander (130) was a match away, actually 10 seconds away from placing. I can’t think of any of our kids that didn’t wrestle hard and that’s all you can ask of them.”
For complete state results check out www.kwca.org.