USD 501 wrestling programs cherish chance to return to competition

Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer


Topeka West was obviously thrilled to capture the team title in Saturday's Highland Park Invitational wrestling tournament.

But for West and fellow Unified School District 501 schools Highland Park and Topeka High, Saturday wasn't as much about winning as it was about having the chance to compete, something the three 501 schools waited nearly two years for.

FFzypaEWYAUbzUnTopeka West's wrestling team poses for a team picture after winning the team championship in Saturday's Highland Park Invitational by a 112-202 margin over St. Marys. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

Prior to the 2020-2021 season the USD 501 school board made the decision to put district wrestling on hold due to concerns over COVID-19, a ruling that kept Hi Park, High and West on the sidelines for the entire season.

And although the Scots, Trojans and Chargers are still playing catchup after the long layoff, all three schools were thrilled to be back on the mats Saturday for their first tournament of the season.

"It's just nice to be out here wrestling, and having kids coming to meets and things like that,'' Topeka High coach Tony Canacari said. "I'm just happy to be wrestling, absolutely.''

"That's all (the kids) have wanted,'' Topeka West coach Brandon Gengler said. "That's all I've heard for a year and a half, that they wanted to be back.''

Highland Park coach Freddy Maisberger, the dean of city wrestling coaches, agreed with his fellow 501 coaches that Saturday was a big day.

"After being two years off and not having any wrestling at all last year, it does (feel great),'' Maisberger said. "We're definitely playing catchup as as far as getting kids out, enthusiasm, and just the atmosphere. You're behind, but this is great just to see the kids competing again and enjoying it again.''

Gengler agreed that it will take awhile to get back to where the West program was in 2019-2020.

"The numbers stayed relatively the same, but it's more about just trying to get back in wrestling shape because we're just drastically behind,'' Gengler said. "Essential mat time we're way behind.''

But Gengler said it was great just to see the Chargers excited about wrestling again.

"It's almost a rejuvenation kind of thing,'' Gengler said. "They're so happy to be back.''

Topeka West claimed championships in three weight classes Saturday on the way to winning the team championship by a 112-102 margin over St. Marys while Highland Park earned the third-place trophy with 90 points.

West got titles from Dillon Jay (106), Malichi Kuebler (126), Mason Vickers (138) while the Chargers added two second-place finishes and three thirds.

FFz4l 3XMAYcMLhHighland Park 170-pounder Tanner Lassiter (right) wrestles Topeka High's Tre`Shawn James in Saturday's Highland Park Invitational. Lassiter won the 170-pound title to help the Scots finish third as a team. [Photo by Rick Peterson/TSN]

Highland Park got wins from Tanner Lassiter (170) and Adrian Burney (182) and had one second-place and three thirds while Topeka High was led by second-place finishers Nick Davis (145) and Gavin Matney (220).

Hayden also competed in Saturday's tournament and got championships from Ben Holmes (113) and Juan Roman-Perez (220).


Team scores

Topeka West 112, St. Marys 102, Highland Park 90, Bishop Ward 85, Oskaloosa 73.5, Hayden 72.5, Topeka High 69, Doniphan West 44.

Individual results

106 -- 1. Dillon Jay, Topeka West; 2. Myles Curry, Highland Park.

113 -- 1. Ben Holmes, Hayden; 2. Evan Dome, Oskaloosa; 3. Nick Williams, Bishop Ward.

120 -- 1. Jesse Thacher, Oskaloosa; 2. Preston Gengler, Topeka West; 3. Camron Yuill, Doniphan West.

126 -- 1. Malichi Kuebler, Topeka West; 1. George Rocha, Bishop Ward; 3. Preston Warbritton, Oskaloosa.

132 -- 1. Giovanni Rocha, Bishop Ward; 2. Jess Villasenor, Bishop Ward; 3. Aiden Yonning, Topeka West.

138 -- 1. Mason Vickers, Topeka West; 2. Adan Luna, Bishop Ward; 3. Alex Smith, Topeka High.

145 -- 1. Ben Foster, St. Marys; 2. Nick Davis, Topeka High; 3. Kyren Paduilla, Topeka West.

152 -- 1. Tug Wilson, St. Marys; 2. Fox Cook, Topeka West; 3. Jordan Del La Torre, Highland Park.

160 -- 1. Jack Perry, St. Marys; 2. Jameson Kennedy, Hayden; 3. Michael Lackey, Doniphan West.

170 -- 1. Tanner Lassiter, Highland Park; 2. Broderick Desch, Hayden; 3. Rolando Calderon, Bishop Ward.

182 -- 1. Adrian Burney, Highland Park; 2. Kameron Yarbrough, Bishop Ward; 3. Mason Charvat, Hayden.

195 -- 1. Colson Perry, Oskaloosa; 2. Ben McCarthy, St. Marys; 3. Ryan Ostereich, Topeka West.

 220 -- 1. Juan Roman-Perez, Hayden; 2. Gavin Matney, Topeka High; 3. Jovanne Del La Torre, Highland Park.

285 -- 1. Justin Miller, Oskaloosa; 2. Cooper Clark, Doniphan West; 3. Morgan Dean, Highland Park.







Prep basketball roundup: Dodge scores 33, hits seven 3s in T-Bird rout

Rick Peterson, Top Sports News Writer


Sophomore Brennon Dodge singed the nets for a career-high 33 points and hit seven 3-pointers as Shawnee Heights' boys basketball team rolled to a 74-37 non-league win over Bishop Seabury in Friday's 2021-2022 season-opener at Heights.

Senior Nate Pewe backed Dodge with 15 points as nine players scored for the T-Birds.

Shawnee Heights built an 18-11 lead at the end of the opening quarter, used a 20-7 second quarter to take a 38-18 halftime advantage and rode a 24-13 third quarter to a huge 62-31 lead at the start of the fourth quarter.

SEAMAN GIRLS 69, JUNCTION CITY 12 -- Seaman opened its season with a 69-12 road Centennial League romp at Junction City, with nine players cracking the scoring column.

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Freshman Anna Becker paced the Vikings with a game-high 15 points while sophomore Taylin Stallbaumer, last season's Shawnee County newcomer of the year, added 14 points and sophomore Brooklyn Gormley 11.

Seaman will return to action next Tuesday at home against Topeka West.

TOPEKA HIGH GIRLS 63, MANHATTAN 41 -- Senior Talayah Thomas scored 21 points with three 3-pointers and grabbed six rebounds as Topeka High opened its season with a decisive 63-41 Centennial League win at Manhattan.

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Junior Kiki Smith added 17 points and dished out six assists while junior Faith Shields had 13 points for the Trojans, who are ranked No. 8 in Class 6A after finishing second in the state tournament at year ago.

Senior Dayshauna Wiley led Topeka High with seven rebounds.

JUNCTION CITY BOYS 80, SEAMAN 63 -- Junction City used a 31-point fourth quarter to put Seaman away in an 80-63 Centennial League win Friday night at Junction City.

Seaman 14-13 at the end of the first quarter but Junction City used a 24-13 second quarter to take a 37-27 halftime lead.

Seaman outscored the Blue Jays 15-12 in the third quarter to cut Junction City's advantage to 49-42, but the hosts outscored the Vikings 31-21 the rest of the way.

Mateo Hyman scored 20 points and Ty Henry 14 for Seaman, while Gavin Wilhelm added nine points on three 3-pointers and Kaeden Bonner also scored nine points.

Howard Johnson scored a game-high 30 points for the Blue Jays, one of four Junction City players in double figures.

MANHATTAN BOYS 67, TOPEKA HIGH 46 -- Manhattan opened its season with a 67-46 home Centennial League win over Topeka High, putting a damper on Ty Baumgartner's debut as the Trojans head coach.

Topeka High trailed by just a 30-28 margin at the half before Manhattan boosted its advantage to 45-37 at the end of the third quarter and put the Trojans away with a 22-9 fourth quarter.