Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

SALINA — Things did not go quite as planned for the Titan Wrestlers at state this year.

Four wrestlers qualified, but only one, Kyle Johnson, finished in the medals.

Underclassmen Derek Creel, a 103 pound freshman, and Gavin Houser, a 215 pound sophomore, lost their first two matches and were out of the tournament on Friday. Both faced tough early matches with regional contest winners.

Johnson had cruised through the early rounds like a man on a mission, taking down Jacob Morris of Piper, by fall, Ben Thoman of Andale on a 9-3 decision and Jake Gehring of Buhler on a 3-2 decision before colliding with Konner Kriss of Colby in the finals.

It was an eventful match, Johnson was down 2-0 going in to the final round and gave a push out to make the score 0-3 before scoring a take down to put himself in striking distance 3-2. Another push out gave him a 2-4 disadvantage but he quickly scored another takedown for a 4-4 tie.

He then gave up one more point on a pushout with 46 seconds left to make a stab at the win.

He simply ran out of time and with just as the clock ran out had what would have been  a takedown and the win with just a few more seconds of time. Johnson ends his Titan career 122-31 and 33-3 on the season.

Senior 145-pounder B.T. O‘Hara went 2 and 2 in the tournament winning his first bout by fall over Trent Salisbury of St. James academy before losing a 3-1 decision to Gavin Grater of Clay Center.

O‘Hara then won a 6-5 decision over Aaron Barnes of Spring Hill before being major decisioned by Mark Hobson of Bonner Springs to end his final season. He was 30-7.

“Over all we were kind of disappointed (in the tournament),” Head Coach Eric Napier said Monday. “We were looking for B.T. to place fairly high and Kyle to win it. They both wrestled well just came up short.”

Napier said Johnson had a couple of bad breaks in his final match and simply ran out of time.

Johnson, who is going to wrestle for Fort Hays State University in Hays next year, is a four-time state medalist, placing fifth at 125 in 2008, second at 125 in 2009, second at 130 in 2010 and second at 130 this year.