Flory’s title leads way at state for BHS
For the second year in a row, Baldwin High School's Kyle Flory wrestled his way into the finals at the Class 4A State Tournament in Wichita last weekend. The only difference being a gold medal as a result this time around as Flory claimed his state championship at 171 pounds.
"This is what you work for all season -- to go to state and win," said Flory, a junior who finished 40-6 on the year with all six losses to state champions from Kansas and Missouri.
He became Baldwin's third state champion in school history.
Last year, Flory was second in state behind Marysville's undefeated Pat Vogelsberg. Flory, ranked third in the state, worked his way into the finals defeating Bryan Buck from Andover Central by technical fall in the first round, and then Tucker Olson from Colby with a third period fall. He then beat the state's No. 1 ranked wrestler Kyle Davis from Rose Hill 8-5. His final match was against second-ranked Kurtis Baylor from Columbus, with Flory dominating with a 12-3 win. Baylor had defeated Flory 13-9 at the Basehor-Linwood Bobcat Classic in January and was the 160-pound state champion last year.
"Kyle has turned himself into one of the state's premier wrestlers. He works hard and always looks for ways to improve," said coach Kit Harris, who has coached two of the three BHS state champions and is the younger brother of the third. "Evidence of that is how he lost to that kid (Baylor) in January 13-9 but came back and beat him 12-3 at state."
Flory wasn't the only placer for Baldwin. Senior Sam Coffey earned sixth place at 275 pounds. Coffey, who was fourth at regionals, beat Wellington's Derick Scott 6-2, a regional champ, and Colby's Brent Deibert 3-2, a regional runner-up, to earn a place in the semifinals. Coffey lost to Prairie View's Dennis Kimzey by a second period fall, and then again to Scott 5-4, and to Eudora's Shane Grant by a second period fall. For the last three years Coffey was junior varsity squad behind state champ Witt Hinton.
Other Bulldogs at state were sophomore Josh Kohn at 119 pounds, junior Derek Lang at 160 pounds, senior Dan Hamilton at 189 pounds and senior Seth Halford at 215 pounds. Kohn went 0-2, losing to Abilene's Jake Kreigbaum by a second period pin, and Holton's Jeremiah Hamer 11-1. Kreigbaum went on to claim his third consecutive state title.
"It felt great to go to state. It was a fun experience that I will never forget," said Kohn.
Lang finished in the top eight of his bracket. In the first round he fell to Goodland's Taylor Brack 10-6. Brack went on to place second. Lang then defeated Marysville's Ben Gurtler 5-2 and Topeka-Hayden's Kyle Ingenthron 9-3. In the consolation quarterfinals, Lang fell to Scott City's Nick Speer 8-1.
"It was a valuable experience to wrestle at state," said Lang. "I felt we did pretty good as a team and I was happy for Coffey."
Seniors Halford and Hamilton both went 1-2 at state. Hamilton fell to KC Piper's Nick Jobe 4-3 and then defeated Colby's Theo Kleinsorge by a second period pin. He then lost to Prairie View's Jason Matthews by a second period pin.
Halford defeated Atchison's Lance Gasper 2-1 and then was defeated by El Dorado's Tad Greer 6-0. Halford then fell to Mulvane's Derek Mason 2-1.
"These seniors were great. We will miss coaching them. They were a big part of continuing some winning trends with Baldwin wrestling. They accomplished a lot as a class and have come a long way," said Harris. "Both Sam and Seth had losing records on junior varsity as freshmen and for them to come to this far says a lot about their work ethic. And Seth and Dan are each two-time state qualifiers. That is a great accomplishment."
"It was cool. I would have liked to place my senior year, but it was a tough bracket," said Hamilton.
The Bulldogs finished in 16th place with 40.5 points out of 44 teams.
"Again, we closed the season with a strong state performance. I was real proud of everyone. They all fought like champions," said Harris.