Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Rossville Trio Finds Redemption at State

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Rossville Trio Finds Redemption at State

Article excerpt

HAYS -- It was a helpless feeling a year ago for Nick Reesor, sitting in the stands watching his Rossville teammates go after Class 3-2-1A state wrestling titles.

The Bulldawg knew he should have been on the mats doing his part. Instead, he was rendered mostly to being a cheerleader and moral support after a knee injury wiped out his junior season.

"It really sucked last year -- I felt like I let my team down in a way being injured," Reesor said. "I probably could have made finals last year and really helped them out as a team."

Friday at the state meet in Hays was a bit about redemption. And it showed as Reesor made up for lost time, making quick work of his three opponents to get a shot at his first state title.

Reesor dominated his semifinal match with Atwood's Shelton McCain, rolling to a 9-4 win to gain a spot in Saturday's finals. Now 38-6 on the season, all that stands between Reesor and the title is Eureka's Chuck Schmidt, who improved to 20-3 with a 9-3 win over Bennington's Kyler Mick in the other semifinal.

"It's indescribable," Reesor said. "My sophomore year was the only year I haven't been injured besides this one, and in the state semifinals I kind of gave it away. That and being injured last (year) just fueled my fire to want to be in the finals this year."

Reesor will have plenty of company in Saturday's finals as teammates Bryce Gfeller and Isaac Luellen each earned their second straight finals berths. Gfeller, last year's 106-pound state champion, dominated Norton's Skylar Johnson early and then held on for a 9-7 win in his 113-pound semifinal, while Luellen needed a takedown with four seconds left in his 182-pound semifinal with Russell's Dalton Brand to pull out a 6-4 victory.

"I don't feel like I wrestled that well," Luellen said. "He was quick and strong, and he was blind."

For both Bulldawgs, the return trip to the finals was a bit of a relief as well, and not just because both entered the state meet ranked No. 1 at their respective weights.

Both suffered injuries during the football season that kept them off the mat for parts of the season. Luellen's was actually serious in nature, suffering a dislocated right elbow early in the Class 3A state championship football game

Laying on the turf in Hutchinson, one thing flashed into his mind: his wrestling season.

"That's all I was thinking about," Luellen said. "Wrestling's my life. I've dedicated my life to the sport. I was a little questionable at first, and even when I knew I would be back, I wasn't sure how good I was going to be."

Luellen has been nothing short of outstanding, taking a 20-0 record into Saturday's championship match with Cherryvale's Kaden Housel (33-2), who pinned Doniphan West's Kody Collins in his semifinal. …

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