The Marion High School wrestling team had one of the best showings in program history at the state wrestling meet Thursday and Friday in Hays, placing 14th in the team standings on the strength of performances by Brody Carroll, Colten Johnson, and Evan Slater.
“Ninth had 47 points and we had 41, and that was with only three kids scoring points,” Marion head coach Chad Adkins said. Wrestlers from 98 schools competed in the event.
Carroll entered the tournament ranked second at 138 pounds, and immediately showed why by dispensing of Zach Fischer of Smith Center in his first match with a fall at the 1 minute, 42 second mark.
Sam Wilson of St. George-Rock Creek was a tougher out in the second round, but Carroll prevailed 8-6.
Third-ranked James Landoll of Marysville brought Carroll’s quest for a spot in the championship round to a sudden halt in the third round. Carroll led 4-3 in the waning seconds of the match when Landoll surprised him with a sudden pull-down and control move that scored 2 points for the win, and sent Carroll to the consolation bracket.
“He was pretty devastated,” Marion head coach Chad Adkins said. “Our goal all year long had been to be in the finals.”
Carroll shook off the setback Friday, first defeating Michael Dusin of Phillipsburg and then fifth-ranked Mason Hurla of St. Mary’s to claim third.
“It was better than he placed last year. He got fifth last year, so third is an upgrade,” Adkins said. “Now we just need to make another next year.”
Johnson was ranked fourth at 160 pounds, and opened by pinning Cole Renner of Norton Community at 3:34 in the match. He knocked off sixth-ranked T.J. Setter of Waubaunsee 7-2 in the second round.
Johnson drew undefeated and top-ranked Eric Albers of Oakley, the eventual champion, in the third round, and Albers was a puzzle Johnson was unable to solve as he dropped a 10-3 decision.
Johnson’s next match went to overtime against fifth-ranked Matt Schneider of Pittsburg, but the Marion grappler prevailed 7-2, and went on to pin Steven Yergey-Dible of Hoxie in the third-place match.
“Colten wrestled extremely well this weekend,” Adkins said. “He has been a fun kid to coach because he does everything 110 percent. We will have to have a lot of kids step up next year to fill the void left by Colten.”
Evan Slater’s path to sixth place in the 220-pound class went through three state-ranked opponents. He scored an opening-round 7-2 upset over sixth-ranked Channing Fortin of Oberlin, but was overmatched by second-ranked Austin Veach of Doniphan West to drop to the bottom half of the bracket.
Slater dispatched Kane Washington of Hoxie in a close 7-6 decision, then dominated Joey Capul of Garden Plain 10-4. Third-ranked Tanner Taylor of Burlington turned the tables on Slater with a 10-2 major decision, and Michael McEachern of Scott Community claimed fifth place by defeating Slater 7-4.
“Evan has emerged as a team leader and he will be very important to our success next year,” Adkins said. “He has done everything the right way and had a great tournament.”
Freshmen Beretta Janzen and Kyle Palic and junior Eric Regnier were also part of the Marion state squad, and while all three were eliminated on the opening day, Adkins said the trio wrestled well and that the experience will be beneficial next year.
“The really important thing is that we got three out there this year who have spent their first time there. The ‘oo and ah’ of being there has happened, and next year they can get out there and get to business,” Adkins said.
Adkins was appreciative of the large number of fans that made the trek to Hays to support the team.
“It was a great showing. We had just as many people there as anybody else. That’s exciting and that means a lot to our kids,” Adkins said.