Wrestling 49: Kansas

With the high school wrestling season's start nearing, InterMat is taking readers across the United States of America on a tour of scholastic wrestling. From mid-August until mid-November, InterMat is introducing readers to the top high school senior wrestlers in the 49 states with scholastic wrestling.

In this installment, Eric Johnson looks at the top senior wrestlers in Kansas.

Once again Kansas produced two elite upperweight wrestlers in the Class of 2013. Junior National freestyle finalist Nathan Butler is headed to Stanford and NHSCA Nationals champion Will Geary signed with Kansas State to play football. Kansas will sure miss those two exclamation points on its national teams. Rounding out last year's Division I signees were four-time state champion Zac Gentzler, who is chasing his destiny in Stillwater at Oklahoma State, and Dakota Leach at Southern Illinois.

This Class of 2014 is not short on talent. Kansas has two favorites to land their fourth state title, five Fargo All-Americans and two USAW folkstyle All-Americans. It is my pleasure to introduce you to Kansas' Top 10 and honorable mention!

1. Preston Weigel (Hays)
Projected High School Weight Class: 195
Projected College Weight Class: 197

Preston Weigel
Analysis: Weigel is a multi-sport elite athlete. He has dominated on the mat as well as the gridiron and will have quite a choice to make on whether he wants to wrestle or play football at the next level. With a career record of 122-4, he is a three-time state finalist and two-time state champion. After running the table in 42-0 fashion he placed second at the USAW Folkstyle Nationals in Iowa, coming within one point of bringing home the title. He passes everybody's look test and is sure to make another splash at the national level this season.

Words from the Corner: "Preston is without a doubt one of the most talented wrestlers to ever come through Hays High. Not only is he talented, but he has a work ethic like no other. He is the kid staying after practice working one on one with coaches to improve. His dedication to lifting also shows. Preston was the first back-to-back champion in the 20-plus years I have been at Hays. What impresses me most about him is how humble he is. He approaches every match the same, never underestimating an opponent and win or lose his reaction after the match is always business like. Shake the opponent's hand, the opposing coach's hand and walk off the mat, no showboating." -- Coach John Hafliger

2. Tagen Lambotte (Rossville)
Projected High School Weight Class: 145
Projected College Weight Class: 141/149

Tagen Lambotte
Analysis: Most everyone starts a description of Lambotte by calling him a training machine. If the periods were five minutes long, I think he'd enjoy that. Lambotte has had a stellar career at Rossville High School, compiling a record of 123-4 while standing on top of the podium all three years. Besides being a three-time state champion, he was also the USAW Cadet National folkstyle champion in 2011. He is a true artist on his feet and comes from a close-knit wrestling family. Some fortunate college coach will be getting themselves a gem in the fall of 2014.

Words from the Corner: "Tagen will be looking for state title No. 4 this season. He worked his tail off this summer to separate himself from his competition. Off the mat Tagen is a great kid and great student. On the mat there are very few if any that work as hard as him. He has determination, grit and a motor that doesn't shut down. He will continue on after high school and be very successful at the next level." -- Coach Curt Brecheisen

3. Andrew Millsap (Junction City)
Projected High School Weight Class: 160
Projected College Weight Class: 149/157

Andrew Millsap (Photo/John Sachs,
Analysis: Millsap is a two-time state champion and three-time state placer with a career record of 103-15. He finished runner-up at the InterMat JJ Classic last fall, losing by injury default in the finals. Millsap is a two-time Fargo All-American, making the Junior National Greco-Roman finals in 2013. He is also a FILA Cadet Greco All-American. Millsap has been a veteran of several of Kansas' national teams, going undefeated and making the All-Tournament Team in freestyle at the Junior Duals in Oklahoma City in 2013. Based on his performance last year, it could be argued that he's the best prospect in Kansas.

Words from the Corner: "Andrew was an integral part of our success last season. He became our all-time career and season win record holder. This year he has an opportunity to become our second three-time state champion." -- Coach Robert Laster

4. Dustin Williams (Gardner-Edgerton)
Projected High School Weight Class: 160
Projected College Weight Class: 157

Analysis: What a year that Williams had in 2013! He finished an undefeated 43-0 campaign without giving up a takedown! He beat four other state champions and won the Rocky Mountain Nationals in dominating fashion. This guy is a worker! His aggressive style has earned him national hardware, reaching All-American status twice in Fargo, including a runner-up finish in 2012 along with placing at the USAW Folkstyle Nationals in 2013. This three-time state placer has compiled a 119-11 career record to go with his two state championships.

Words from the Corner: "Dustin is a very technical and explosive wrestler with tremendous drive! More importantly, he's a class act on and off the mat and excels in the classroom as well. It's an honor to coach Dustin and to have him represent our community." -- Coach Matt Yeamans.

5. Brogan Humphrey (Fredonia)
Projected High School Weight Class: 138
Projected College Weight Class: 141

Brogan Humphrey
Analysis: You have to love this kid. A common theme in our top five is the dedication to training. Humphrey flat out puts the work in. Very little separates him from the first four as he is a three-time state champion that will likely cement his name in the four-time club in 2014. His career record is an impressive 131-2. He has been a valuable national dual team member and was very close to placing in Virginia Beach last season.

Words from the Corner: "Brogan is one of those kids that has always been willing to work harder than everyone else and that's why he is in the position he's in. He has stayed on the mat all summer and we look forward to a dominant senior season as he chases his fourth state title." -- Coach Jordan Stewart

6. Michael Olsen (Lansing)
Projected High School Weight Class: 138
Projected College Weight Class: 141

Analysis: Olsen is one of the most talented wrestlers in Kansas. He moved to Kansas after making the state finals in his freshman season in Missouri. In two seasons he has a career record of 78-15 and won a Kansas state title in 2012, dominating a very tough wrestler in the finals. He was a Fargo Cadet freestyle All-American in 2012 and a powerful force on our Junior Dual Team that year. Watch the videos on this kid. He's a crowd-pleaser!

7. Gavin Grater (Riley County)
Projected High School Weight Class: 182
Projected College Weight Class: 174

Analysis: Grater is a three-time state placer and a 2013 state champion with a career record of 103-19. In 2011 he was a Fargo Cadet Greco-Roman All-American and has 14 career Fargo wins. He has also been named to Kansas' national dual teams. Gavin comes from a strong wrestling family as his older brother (and current coach) Danny was a three-time Fargo All-American.

Words from the Corner: "Gavin is the model student-athlete, carrying a 4.0 GPA. His great work ethic, which he gets from being a farm kid, pays off for him in many areas of his life. Gavin not only excels on the mat but also on the football field. He has been a true leader by example on our team." -- Coach Danny Grater

8. Nick Wuthnow (Southeast Saline)
Projected High School Weight Class: 170
Projected College Weight Class: 165/174

Analysis: Wuthnow won his first Kansas State title last season after placing in both of his first two years. He has a career record of 111-8, completing an undefeated 40-0 record as a junior. He had a huge win over a multiple-time Fargo All-American in the finals. Expect to see him on top again in 2014!

9. Brandon Ball (Hoisington)
Projected High School Weight Class: 132
Projected College Weight Class: 133

Analysis: Ball is a two-time state champion with an 80-2 record over two seasons. He ran the table in dominating fashion last year with a 43-0 tally. He missed his freshman season due to a home schooling eligibility issue in his area of Kansas. Chances are pretty high that he would otherwise be in line to win his fourth state title in 2014.

10. Justin Scott (Jefferson West)
Projected High School Weight Class: 220
Projected College Weight Class: 197/285

Analysis: Scott is a two-time state finalist and won a state title last season while dominating Class 4A with a 39-0 slate. His two-year record is 78-3. He had some huge wins for Kansas All-Class Dual Team at the Rocky Mountain Nationals with his classic physical style.

Words from the Corner: "Justin had one of the most dominating state tournaments I have ever seen last season. His four first-period pins were an amazing accomplishment. He is so strong that he can dominate most opponents. We have been working hard to add more finesse to his skill set to help him grow into a more complete wrestler. Our team has changed our schedule for 2014 to give Justin and our other seniors more challenging matches." -- Coach Shawn Dolezilek

Honorable Mention:
PJ Cheney (KC Turner)
Reese Cokeley (St. James Academy)
Tyler Dickman (Mill Valley)
Parker Howell (Kapaun Mt. Carmel)
Kaleb Konitzer (Prairie View)
Tyler Mies (Andale)
Cesar Regalado (Pratt)
Josiah Seaton (Bonner Springs)
Andrew Tujague (St. James Academy)


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