Lang, Haeffner headed to state for BHS wrestlers
It's a return trip for Luke Lang to the State Wrestling Tournament and this year he'll have Zach Haeffner to go along with him.
Lang won the Class 4A Regional tournament at Kansas City Piper Saturday in the 189-pound bracket. Haeffner qualified for state by finishing fourth at 160 pounds. Both are seniors and will head to Wichita Friday for the state's biggest wrestling extravaganza.
Lang qualified last year and just missed the title, finishing second. After being ranked the No. 1 189-pounder in Class 4A for most of the season, he dropped to No. 2 last week. He doesn't care. He's ready for the return and a shot at another state title.
"Let's roll," Lang said. "It's going to be tough, but it's going to be fun. I'm gunning for it."
Lang tuned up big time Saturday by winning all four of his matches by fall, all in the first period.
"Luke continued to wrestle in dominating fashion," said coach Kit Harris. "He is mixing things up on his feet and winning the scramble situations, staying safe and smart. And he has always been able to wrestle physical. So we feel very well prepared right now. We are working on a few things still, we're not done yet, but he is looking great.
"Everyone keeps asking Luke or I if he going to win state as if it is something real easy to do. Nothing is easy in sports," said Harris. "But we have a three-phase plan fire, desire and fun. We're going to Wichita and are going to wrestle with some fire, some desire and have a whole lot of fun and see where that takes us. We are setting performance goals, not result goals. That is our focus and I like our chances."
Lang will be joined by Haeffner, who put on his own heroics at regionals. Haeffner wrestled his way into the semifinals where he faced the No. 1 seed.
"Zach Haeffner showed some courage throughout the tournament," said Harris. "As the No. 5 seed, he was eight seconds away from knocking off the No. 1 seed in the semis. Then after that heartbreaking loss, he had to rebound and wrestle the No. 4 seed who had pinned us at league last week. Zach showed some true valor. I was real proud of his efforts because his back was against the wall."
Haeffner won by pin to advance to state.
Three other BHS wrestlers missed qualifying, but placed in the top six. They were Chris Hirschmann at 152 pounds, Zach Good at 171 and Witt Hinton at 275. Good just missed qualifying when he almost recorded a pin in his final match before losing 9-6.
"Zach Good had a great tournament," he said. "He won three tough matches by fall and nearly qualified when he almost knocked off a wrestler who pinned him earlier in the year. He was so close. But he had the right attitude the whole tournament. He wrestled to win and said that if these guys were going to beat him, they were going to have to go through heck to do it."
BHS finished sixth as a team. Scores were: Anderson County, 195; Eudora, 157; Basehor-Linwood, 151; Spring Hill, 135.5; Osawatomie, 101; Baldwin, 96; Tonganoxie, 89; Burlington, 79.5; Louisburg, 77.5; Piper, 57; Ward, 50.5; Gardner-Edgerton, 49.5; Sumner, 49; Prairie View, 46.5; and Ottawa, 44.
"We ended a fun season with a fantastic regional tournament," said Harris. "I would have liked to get a couple more qualifiers through to state, but I was real proud of the kids. They all made a valiant run at it. They all wrestled with some fire, desire and passion and really stepped it up. All tournament long we were knocking kids off that had beaten us earlier in the year."
Lang, Haeffner and Harris will head for Wichita Thursday.