State Bound: Half of WHS squad places at regional tournament

Juniors Eli Mumpower, Derek Wallin and Alex Warner all managed to punch their tickets to the State Tournament after competing in a tough regional at Council Grove.

Mumpower placed 4th in the 145 pound weight class. After falling to Colby Smith of Effingham, Mumpower was sent to the blood round on the consolation side of the bracket. He defeated Jonathan Heckman of Burlingame to advance to the 3rd place match and secure his spot in the State Tournament. Mumpower fell to Abram Huaracha of St. Marys by decision. Mumpower will head into State with a record of 28-13.

“I’m just going to work as hard as I can this week,” Mumpower said. “Whatever happens, happens.”

Warner also brought home a 4th place finish at 152 pounds. He came out of the first round with a bye and fell to Corey Catron of Rossville by major decision. Warner then battled back through the backside of his bracket, defeating Mickey Mullican of Osage City, Tabius Ballman of Horton and Colton Schulz of Effingham to land himself in the 3rd place match where he fell to Caleb Lisk of Mission Valley by decision. Warner heads to State with a record of 12-10.

“It was great,” Warner said of winning the blood round match that would send him to State. “I was surprised.”

Wallin, who wrestles at 160 pounds, drew a bye in the first round and then pinned Gunnar Koontz of Effingham. He then pinned Dylan Smith of Maur Hill to land a spot in the championship match. Wallin fell to Luke Horn of Wathena-Riverside in the championship match to bring home a strong 2nd place finish and secure his spot at the State Tournament. Wallin’s record stands 28-8.

“We were pushed harder in practices this year,” Wallin said. “More than we usually were. The coaches held us to a higher level. At first, making it to State was no big deal, but the day after, I was pretty excited.”

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“Derek and Eli did what they were supposed to do, both becoming state qualifiers for the first time,” wrestling coach Joey Heersche said. “Alex wrestled above his potential, he just flat out wanted it more than his opponents. We expect all three of them to wrestle their heart out and win a couple of matches at the state tournament, maybe even bring home a state medal.”

The tournament marked the end of the season for wrestlers Frank Gilbert, Jackson Havenstein and Marek Boatwright.

The State Tournament will be held in Gross Memorial Coliseum in Hays, with competition beginning on Friday. The opening ceremony will begin at 9:45 am and wrestling starts at 10.

— Hannah Mumpower, @Hlmump01

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