HAYS — Drayton Kennedy and Quinten Heady made history on Saturday as the first ever wrestlers from Erie High School to place at the state tournament.
Kennedy took fourth place at 106 pounds while Heady took sixth place at 132 pounds.
“These kids, Quinten and Drayton, wrestled through the middle school program and were always dedicated through the summers to get where they’re at now,” Erie head coach Will Weber said. “These kids have done a lot for the program. And they had past wrestlers on their back.”
Kennedy’s day at the KSHSAA 3-2-1A State Championships started with a 6-4 decision win over Carter Underhill of Hill City.
“Right away, the Hill City kid came out swinging,” Weber said. “Both of them wrestled hard. Drayton was down but towards the end, our conditioning kicked in. We just worked to get the points.”
In the semifinals of the 106-pound bracket, Kennedy dropped a 5-4 decision to Tate Weimer of Hoxie.
Kennedy rebounded with a pin of Chase Johnson of Minneapolis in the consolation semifinals.
“He was disappointed in his loss he had before that match,” Weber said. “But he came back and wrestled solid. He overcame the kid.”
Kennedy’s stay ended with a 12-6 decision loss to Underhill.
“His performance was pretty good. He had some very close matches,” Weber said. “They didn’t all go our way, but he wrestled hard. Now there’s a few things we can work on in the summer.”
Heady’s outing in the 132-pound division at state started with a narrow 2-0 decision over Aidan Hockman of Hill City. Heady suffered a shoulder injury in the first round of the match.
Heady was pinned in the semifinals by Mason Scholz of Atchison County Community before injury defaulting to Tarrant Young of Stafford.
“The last match of the day when I came out on the mat,” Weber said, “we tried to get through it. He, on his own will, to go for it and lasted as long as he could. That’s the vision of a wrestler.”
Weber was still proud of Heady’s ability to wrestle through the injury.
“He battled,” Weber said. “Yeah, he had to injury forfeit and you never want to see that. But that injury occurred in the first round of the first match of the day. So he stuck with it. After that first match, he could barely lift his arm up.”
Hoxie dominated the bracket to win the team state title at the 3-2-1A championships with 154 points. Hill City took second with 84 points. Erie finished 25th out of 44 teams.
“The wrestling campaign was one of the toughest seasons I’ve had to deal with in six years at Erie,” Weber said. “We didn’t know if we’d have a season week-by-week. Between that and the longer state series we had, the state tournament was the toughest I’ve seen in years. Everybody had brutal matches.”