HAYS — In Norbert Muth’s seven seasons as head wrestling coach at Great Bend High School, the most state qualifiers he had in the program was 10.
That all changed on Saturday at the Class 5A regional tournament in Hays.
The Panthers qualified 11 individuals for the state meet, which will be held this coming Saturday at Hartman Arena in Wichita.
Great Bend’s Chris Burley (112 pounds), Kade Sander (130), Louis Burley (152), Jake Schridde (160) and Simon Sullivan (171) all qualified for state while advancing to regional championship matches.
The five Panthers will be joined in Wichita by Ryan DesLauriers (103), Brett Roberts (119), Greg Burley (125), Willie Godfrey (135), Damian Pflughoeft (140) and Taylor Meitner (145) — all qualifying after capturing with top-4 finishes.
The Panthers, who finished second in the team standings to host Hays, can definitely hang their hat on their top-flight performances. The 11 qualifiers is the most for the Panthers since early in the 1990s.
“I think all of our guys wrestled pretty well today,” Muth said of his 14-man roster. “We’ve had 11 (qualify) before. I know when I was in high school (at GBHS), when we won the regional championship in 1990 and we qualified 11.”
Culminating the daylong performances for GBHS was Kade Sander (130) and Jake Schridde (160) capturing regional crowns.
“I think they both wrestled very well,” Muth said of the regional-champion duo. “Kade has matured pretty well as a freshman and he has matured quite. He’s peaking right now.
Sander won by decision 5-3 over Garrett McEachen of Newton, rallying back after McEachen had tied the match at 3 during the final period.
It comes as no surprise that Schridde captured a regional crown. After all, he has been ranked all season and was ranked No. 3 by the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association in their latest rankings.
“Jake pinned his guy in the championship finals, so he’s also peaking right now,” Muth said.
Up-and-coming Simon Sullivan (171) lost by decision to Dylan Archer of Newton in the finals.
The state qualification also included the three Burley brothers securing a trip to Wichita this coming weekend. Louis (152), a senior, is now a four-time state qualifier, while Chris (112) is a second-timer as a sophomore and Greg, a freshman at 125, is a first-timer.
Louis Burley lost by decision in the finals to Dylan Braun of Hays, 7-2, while Greg Burley lost in the consolation finals to take fourth place.
Chris Burley came into the regional with a 29-3 record and a top ranking by the KWCA. He lost in the finals, 4-2.
“Right now, we’ve split with that kid (Quinton Harrison of Newton) because (Chris) beat him at Garden City during the regular season,” Muth said. “I really believe in my heart that it’s hard to beat a kid three times in a season.
“Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, as far as having something to shoot for.”
For complete results, go to www.kwca.org
Class 5A Regional
At Hays High School
Great Bend state qualifiers
Great Bend results
112 — Chris Burley (second)
130 — Kade Sander (champion)
152 — Louis Burley (second)
160 — Jake Schridde (champion)
171 — Simon Sullivan (second)
Great Bend results
103 — Ryan DesLauriers (third)
119 — Brett Roberts (third)
125 — Greg Burley (fourth)
135 — Willie Godfrey (fourth)
140 — Damian Plughoeft (third)
145 — Taylor Meitner (third)