It was another solid weekend for Scott Community High School wrestler Alex Kough.
But no sooner had he claimed the regional title at the 3-2-1A tournament held in Norton on Saturday evening than the senior was looking ahead to state.
After all, regional titles are nice, but that’s not what Kough has been focused on this season.
“It’s all about winning state. That’s what this season has been about,” says Kough.
After dismantling the competition in the 126-pound division and being named the “Outstanding Regional Wrestler,” Kough certainly showed he’s in position to attain that goal.
Kough (30-4) was untouchable with a first round pin over Jude Wallinder (Oberlin), followed by back-to-back major decisions over John Solko (Atwood, 13-2) and Clint Rogers (Smith Center, 15-2).
That set up an anticipated championship match with Alec Hager (Norton).
Kough continued his dominance on his feet by attacking Hager until he was able to catch the Norton wrestler in a front cradle, getting the takedown and putting him to his back in one motion for a 4-0 advantage. Kough added another two-point near-fall in the second period while building a 6-2 lead.
The SCHS grappler finished a dominating championship match with an escape and another takedown in the third period for a 9-2 win.
“With my power and technique I’m very confident on my feet,” says Kough. “I try to stay aggressive until something opens up.”
3 Others Qualify
It was a rough weekend for the Beavers, who lost four matches in the championship semi-finals on Friday and qualified only three of those matmen for state.
James Jurgens (3rd, 120) and Michael McEachern (4th, 285) will be making return appearances at the state tournament while Warren Kropp (3rd, 160) is a first-time qualifier.
Even though this is the smallest number of state qualifiers in many years, it would be hard to call the weekend a disappointment, says head coach Jon Lippelmann.
“To be a big disappointment we would have had to been expecting a lot more boys to qualify for state and then come up short,” he says. “This isn’t where we wanted to be but, realistically, this is about where we thought we’d be. We had one more boy who should have been wrestling this weekend, but everyone else was a longshot. They would have had to come up with at least one, if not two, unexpected wins and that didn’t happen.”
Jurgens (30-6) cruised through the first two rounds with first period falls before running into Macrae Migchelbrink (Atwood) who had defeated the SCHS sophomore in the finals of the Norton Invitational earlier this season. Migchelbrink was a 7-3 winner in the semi-final match and went on to win the regional title.
Jurgens rebounded with a second period fall over Riley Juenemann (Phillipsburg) in the consolation semi-finals and in the finals had little trouble rolling to a 13-7 win over Gage Pfeifer (Hill City) who entered regional as the No. 3 ranked wrestler in 3-2-1A and was the tournament’s top seed, but was upset in the semi-finals.
Jurgens fell behind, 2-0, before scoring nine unanswered points. He put Pfeifer to his back three times while building an 11-4 lead.
“James got a couple of quality wins over Phillipsburg and Hill City,” says Lippelmann. “If we take care of business this weekend, we shouldn’t have to worry about Migchelbrink again until the finals.”
Kropp (33-6) had been battling illness throughout the week and that was evident in a 2-0 loss in the championship semi-finals to Dylan Wiesner (Plainville).
“The kid rode us the entire time and we weren’t able to do anything,” says Lippelmann. “I’m not making excuses, but he missed two days of practice and his lack of power in the semis was pretty evident. That’s not what we’re used to seeing from Warren.”
Outside of the semi-finals, it was a dominating weekend for the SCHS junior who pinned all four of his other opponents, including a third period fall against Oakley’s Cody Faulkender in the consolation finals.
Once again, close losses continue to haunt senior heavyweight McEachern who dropped a pair of one-point matches during the weekend.
McEachern rolled through his first two matches with a pair of falls, putting him into the semi-finals against Cody Wurm (Oberlin). The match was tied 4-4 at the end of regulation before Wurm was able to get the win with an overtime escape.
“What’s disappointing is that Michael was the more aggressive wrestler the entire match. He kept attacking and he saw no big reward for his effort,” says the SCHS coach. “We got rope-a-doped and at the end we didn’t have any gas left in the tank.”
In the consolation finals, McEachern was leading Fritz Berger (Sylvan) 4-3 late in the third period before giving up a takedown in a 5-4 loss.
The biggest disappointment during the weekend was the inability of Raleigh Wishon (170, 23-12) to extend his season for another weekend. After pinning his first two opponents in less than a minute, the Scott City senior dropped an 11-6 decision in the semi-finals to Cameron Staples (WaKeeney).
Wishon’s season ended on Saturday with a tough 11-7 loss to Rex Diederich (Oberlin) in the consolation semi-finals. After falling behind 4-0 in the first period, Wishon took the lead for the first time, 7-6, when he scored a takedown with only 1:12 left in the match. He was unable to keep the lead, giving up a reversal and near-fall in the final 42 seconds.
“Considering this was Raleigh’s first year of high school wrestling, he did a great job for us,” says Lippelmann. “He gave us great effort throughout the season and deserved a chance to wrestle at state. It just didn’t work out that way for him.”
Six of the other seven SCHS wrestlers competing at regional won at least one match, though none advanced as far as the consolation semi-finals.
“We were hoping for more. I was hoping for more, but it wasn’t going to happen,” says Lippelmann. “Even though we only qualified four (for state) we’re still expecting big things.”
Class 3-2-1A Regional
Feb. 15-16, 2013 • at Norton
Team scores: Norton 188, Oberlin 145.5, Plainville 134.5, Hoxie 124, Scott City 106, Oakley 101.5, Smith Center 100, Phillipsburg 97, Russell 80, Atwood 58, St. Francis 49, Leoti 45.5, Hill City 40, WaKeeney 37, Ellis 34, Sylvan-Lucas 24, Lincoln 20, Hays-TMP 17, Stockton 10, Tribune 6, Kensington 3, Osborne 0
106: Zach Tucker dec. Shea Ward (Stockton), 10-5; pinned by Kyle Witmer (Phillipsburg), 1:09; received a bye; pinned by Gunner Kerns (Plainville), 2:36.
113: Camren Wolfe pinned by Joey McFee (Atwood), 2:33; received a bye; pinned by Isaac Stone (Tribune), 0:45.
120: James Jurgens pinned Lance Hall (Osborne), 1:01; pinned Brody Frieling (Smith Center), 1:17; dec. by Macrae Migchelbrink (Atwood), 7-3; pinned Riley Juenemann (Phillipsburg), 2:54; dec. Gage Pfeifer (Hill City), 13-7. Third place.
126: Alex Kough (26-4) pinned Jude Wallinder (Oberlin), 1:44; maj. dec. John Solko (Atwood), 13-2; maj. dec. Clint Rogers (Smith Center), 15-2; dec. Alex Hager (Norton), 9-2. First place.
132: Wyatt Kropp dec. Zach Fisher (Smith Center), 7-4; pinned by Dayton Dreher (Oberlin), 1:24; dec. Corbin Schoenthaler (WaKeeney), 7-0; maj. dec. by Taylor Murphy (Oakley), 10-0.
138: Marshal Hutchins pinned by Weston Bainter (Hoxie), 0:54; pinned Layton Tankersley (Leoti), 1:50; pinned Tristan Houser (Plainville), 0:20; pinned by Jonathan Markland (Atwood), 3:55.
160: Warren Kropp pinned Devyn Naegele (Osborne), 3:28; pinned Dylan Wolaver (St. Francis), 3:34; dec. by Dylan Wiesner (Plainville), 2-0; pinned Matt Glading (Oberlin), 2:39; pinned Cody Faulkender (Oakley), 4:27. Third place.
170: Raleigh Wishon pinned Randall Martin (Lincoln), 0:56; pinned Dylan Kinter (Phillipsburg), 0:55; dec. by Cameron Staples (WaKeeney), 11-6; dec. by Rex Diederich (Oberlin), 11-7.
182: Cooper Griffith pinned by Kyler Atwood (Smith Center), 2:32; pinned Grant Gilliam (Oberlin), 2:25; pinned by Kolton Harting (Norton), 1:54.
195: Lane Hayes pinned by Harrison Gilliland (Plainville), 1:26; received a bye; pinned Braden Higdon (Stockton), 2:11; pinned by Luke Jacobs (Phillipsburg), 1:29.
220: Keigun Wells pinned by Skyler Mason (Leoti), 1:29; pinned Mason Rains (Oakley), 2:27; pinned by Andrew Ochampaugh (Russell), 0:58.
285: Michael McEachern pinned Jonathan Chavolla (Leoti), 1:51; pinned Shakotah Blanka (St. Francis), 1:20; dec. by Cody Wurm (Oberlin), 5-4 OT; pinned Mark Schippers (Hoxie), 1:35; dec. by Fritz Berger (Sylvan), 5-4. Fourth place.