Flory leads kid wrestlers at state
TOPEKA Three of the six state qualifying Baldwin City Wrestling Club wrestlers placed in the top six of their brackets at the USA Wrestling-Kansas Kids State Wrestling Tournament at the Topeka Expocenter on Saturday and Sunday. All six of the wrestlers won at least one match in the competition and Baldwin ended with a second, a third and a fifth place winner. The second-place winner was only the second state finalist in Baldwin kids wrestling history.
Kyle Flory was the wrestler who became a state runner-up. Flory, competing in the 14-under, 165-pound division, nearly became the first state champion in Baldwin kid wrestling history as he lost on a last second takedown in his finals match. Flory dominated his way into the finals going 3-0 and winning each match by fall without giving up a point along the way. He defeated wrestlers from West Elk, Phillipsburg and Clay County, before falling in the finals match to an opponent from Kaw Valley.
In the finals match, Flory was losing 5-2 heading into the final period. But a flurry of action sparked by a four-point Granby reversal by Flory gave the BHS freshman a 7-6 lead with short time remaining. Flory's opponent was then about to score a takedown but as action went out of bounds, Flory was penalized for fleeing the mat, tying the score at 7-7 with :14 remaining. Flory made a last second scoring attempt with a leg attack, but the Kaw Valley opponent countered and was awarded the takedown as time expired for a 9-7 win.
It was Flory's third consecutive state plaque, as he has placed fifth, fifth and third at state in the last three years. Flory was a freshman member of the BHS wrestling team and was the first freshman wrestler to qualify for high school state for BHS since 1993.
Placing third for Baldwin was Gabe Mason, competing in the 10-and-under, 110-pound division. Mason stormed his way into the semi-finals with a 7-4 victory and a fall, before facing two-time defending state champion and national champion Boaz Beard from Valley Center. After dropping a tough 4-1 decision to Beard, Mason rebounded to win two consecutive hard-fought matches to finish with third place. Mason earned his second state plaque as he placed fourth two years ago.
Finishing in fifth place for Baldwin was Kevin Callahan, competing in the 12-and-under, 100-pound category. Callahan also dominated his way into the semi-finals with two pins. After a tough loss to a Beloit opponent in the semi-finals and then to another opponent in the consolation semi-finals, Callahan was facing a defending state champion from Haysville for fifth place. In an exciting match, Callahan pulled off a narrow 5-3 victory to finish in fifth. Callahan also earned his second state plaque, as he placed fifth two years ago.
One Baldwin wrestler came one match from placing, as BHS junior Adam Halford went 2-2 in the 16-and-under, 155-pound bracket. Halford dropped a tough match in the first round by a 6-5 decision against an Augusta opponent who was a Class 4A state high school qualifier. Halford rebounded valiantly and won two hard fought matches against opponents from Colby and Oakley by 16-5 and 13-7 scores. Halford then lost a tough 14-9 decision to a Garden City 6A state high school qualifier one match from placement. Down 11-2, Halford stormed back and nearly scored a third-period fall with a headlock for the win, but time ran out. It was Halford's second trip to kids state and it was the farthest he has advanced in the tournament.
Winning one match in the tournament was Nathan Deel, competing at 16-and-under 120-pounds, and Joe Brown, in the 16-and-under 150-pounds. Deel, a BHS sophomore, won his first match in exciting fashion against an Andover foe. The two wrestlers were exchanging hip tosses and headlocks for high points, before Deel finished his opponent with a fall after building an 11-7 lead. Deel then dropped a tough 4-2 match to a Colby opponent and lost by fall to the same Wamego opponent who had pinned Deel in the consolation of the high school state tournament.
Brown lost in the opening round to the 6A state third-place finisher from Derby by a 10-2 score. After winning by default against his Hugoton opponent, Brown then dropped an elimination match to a Clay County wrestler by fall after being down by a 4-1 score. It was Brown's first trip to the state tournament. Brown was a sophomore on the BHS wrestling team and compiled a 15-2 junior varsity record this season.
The Baldwin wrestlers were coached by Brian Mason, Tracy Potter and Dennis Callahan. The club improved on last year's two state place winners this season.