Boys wrestling take 2nd; girls 8th

Kris Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

The Manhattan High boys and girls Varsity wrestling teams competed in the Bob Kuhn Prairie Classic and Rock Creek girls invitational on Friday and Saturday, placing second and eighth respectively. The boys finished with a team score of 120.5 and the girls earned 44.

“We wrestled pretty well as a team,” senior Easton Taylor said. “Our guys got some good competition… We’re just getting better day by day, and hopefully by the end of the year we bring home a ring.”

The boys placed five wrestlers at the meet in Hays over the weekend, earning second out of 26 teams from across the state, but not close to catching Hays, who finished first with 153.5 team points. Senior #138 Easton Taylor earned first, pinning his opponent Wyatt Weber – the No. 1 5A #138 wrestler from Great Bend – in the final. Junior #195 Jaxon Vikander placed second, senior #220 Talique Houston took third and seniors #152 Tucker Brunner and #145 Blaisen Bammes placed sixth. 

“I think I’ll be ranked third in all-class because there’s two guys above me right now,” Taylor said. “It feels good.”

Despite the high placements of the team, they are also missing a #106 wrestler and lost their #160 sophomore Isaac Sinks – who was ranked fourth in the state – to injury in the Newton Tournament of Champions last week. 

At Rock Creek, the girls placed eighth out of 19 teams. They placed two wrestlers: #120 senior Dache Island-Jones in second and #101 junior Madison Naaf in fourth. Island-Jones beat the fifth state-ranked Charly Goodwin in the semi-final before falling to the second state-ranked Addison Broxtermann in the final.

“I think overall, the girls did really [well],” senior Ameerah Alafailakawi said. “They put themselves out there. I was really happy to see they’ve improved throughout the season.” 

The girls team is also missing a significant amount of weight classes, currently traveling without a #109, #115 and the entire midweight section from #138 to #170 before picking back up again at #191. They hope to continue building up their team, as this is their first season. 

“We actually are down by half the girls, a lot of them are injured or out by COVID,” Alafailakawi said. “Especially in the middle weights, we do not have enough girls for every [weight] category.” 

Both teams are headed to Junction City on Wednesday for a midweek dual, before the girls head to Washburn Rural on Saturday. 

“It’s a big rivalry,” Taylor said. “You have to take it with an open mindset…. But the feeling’s different.”