BY CHARLES CHANEY
Day 1 of the 2023 Kansas Women’s State Wrestling Tournament is complete and we have a girl who is still alive for a state championship. Of the 15 girls who made the state tournament, whether it was in Wichita for Class 5A or Salina for Class 4A, 12 are still alive for a medal on Thursday.
Jill High, a junior at Augusta, dominated her respective weight class and made it to the state finals with impressive major wins. There were first-time semi-finalists at Trinity Motter. There were ups and then there were downs as is always the case in state championship settings.
Olivia Randle, the only wrestler from Andover to make it to state, charged through to the state semifinals. In all, five wrestlers were in the semifinals on Wednesday. Bluestem’s Cadence Williamson ended her consolation bout wildly, while her teammate Payton Burton made it to the semifinals. Katelyn Schmidt was one of four wrestlers from the county to lose in the semifinals.
We’ll have comprehensive coverage of all of the remaining wrestlers here at the Butler County Times-Gazette for Thursday’s final day of coverage and comprehensive coverage of the boys’ state tournament this weekend.
100: Trinity Motter, El Dorado
Championship First Round: Motter wasted no time getting a pin in the first match of the tournament. Junior pinned Labette’s Belinda Thompkins in 31 seconds, advancing her to the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals: After giving up an early take down, Motter was able to ride Santa Fe’s Audry Johnson into the semifinals to a 5-2 win. Motter never really put herself in danger after the early part of the match. She is the first Lady Cat to reach the state semifinals in school history.
Semifinals: Motter was defeated with eight seconds left in the period by Winfield’s undefeated Sheena Gocela. Now, Motter will fight for a chance to place third on Thursday. He will finish no worse than sixth place in the tournament.
105: Payton Burton, Blue Stem
First Round of the Championship: The top seed in the 105 division showed why they sit at the top of the bracket. She earned a 9-2 win over a feisty Wabaunsee’s Sophia Castillo. Despite multiple knockdowns and a near miss, Castillo never gave up the pinfall to Burton. It doesn’t matter if Burton advances to the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals: It took her until the second period, but Bluestem’s second fought her way into the semis by pinning Clay Center’s Alissa Cowing.
Semifinals: Burton’s run at a state championship fell a little short when she ran into Holly Thacker, last year’s defending 101-pound state champion. division. Thacker won the game, 7-1. She will not finish in lower sixth place in the state tournament.
110: Ryleigh Page, Rose Hill
First Round of the Championship: Despite being the “underdog,” Page was able to get the second bout pin against Silver Lake’s Karley Holmes in the first round. Lui had a near drop in the first period and then took care of business in the second, earning the pin just one minute into the second period.
Quarterfinals: Credit Page for never giving up. While battling wrestler no. 1 in state, she went toe-to-toe, battling a near-fall and had her on the ropes before time ran out. She fell 10-8 but she gave the tournament favorite everything she could handle.
115: Tye Rozell, Douglass
First Round of the Championship: Rozell appeared to be struggling in the first period of his opening game. However, the elder was calm, calm and collected as he was able to get the inversion that landed her on her back and advance to the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals: Rozell was blocked midway through the second period by Lakin’s Josiah Ortiz, pushing her into the consolation side of the group.
115: Addison Evans, Remington
First Round of the Championship: Addison Evans was the only qualifier for Remington and her opening match didn’t go as planned as WaKeeney-Trego’s Adrian Wynn beat her in a big decision, 13-0, sending her to the bottom of the group.
First Round Consolation: Evans rebounded well in the consolation end of the bracket, getting the pinfall over Burlingame’s Willow Wyatt with 27 seconds left in the first period.
120: Bella Wernli, El Dorado
First Round Championship: The El Dorado senior made the Wildcats 2-for-2 in the first round when he found a third period pin on Bluestem’s Cadence Williamson in the first round of the state tournament. The first round all Butler County featured Williamson, who was the state’s runner-up a season ago.
Quarterfinals: Wernli had the daunting task of wrestling Kendra Hurla, the two-time defending state champion. Wernli made it to the second bout before Hurla got the better of her.
120: Cadence Williamson, Bluestem
First Round of the Championship: Williams went down on her back to Wernli in the first round of the third bout.
Consolation round one: It was almost a see you later for Williamson, but the youngster fought hard. After trailing 4-0 for most of the game, Williamson finally managed to get the take down and then brought up Mikayha Cain for the pin 47 seconds into the third period.
125: Jill High, Augusta
First Round of the Championship: Wrestler No. 2 of Class 4A-1A again dominated her Santa Fe Trail’s Kaysha Florance’s first round match, pinning her in 57 seconds to advance to the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals: She went the distance despite knocking on the door with a pin multiple times, but wrestler Augusta Oriole is heading into the state semifinals after making the big decision 14-3 over Colby’s Kathie Chavez.
Semifinal: Jill High has been waiting a few weeks for a potential rematch with Clay Center’s Gabi Koppes and after the way she dismantled Wellsville’s Olive Dubois, she’ll have that chance. High had multiple near-falls and a couple of knockdowns for the icing on the cake of the match than her.
130: Hannah Gantz, El Dorado
First round of the championship: The second El Dorado went up against the best records in her group and went out on short as Phillipsburg’s Isabella Keesee was able to get the second pin of the period over Gantz.
First round consolation: Gantz was pinned in the second round by Wellington’s Laney Farley. She had a breakaway in the second period but Farley managed to get an upset and the pin to take the win. Gantz finishes his season at 20-7.
140: Olivia Randle, Andover
First Round of the Championship: It didn’t take long for the only Andover High wrestler to send Hannah Sixkiller of Shawnee Heights for the first round pin. Randle’s loss by 19 seconds sent her to the quarterfinals.
Quarterfinals: Randle clinched her semifinal spot with a first period pin over Olathe Northwest’s Hailey Arthur.
Semifinals: Randle had his best fight, but the top-ranked Goddard wrestler was a bit too much for a sophomore as Ashlynn Goodwin pinned Randle late in the first bout to advance to the state championship game. Randle will go to the consolation semifinals on Thursday afternoon.
140: Katelyn Schmidt, Circle
First round of the championship: The senior Thunderbird started the state tournament in the best way possible, knocking Marissa Caray off McClouth in just 35 seconds.
Quarterfinals: After nearly pinning Brooklyn Lima of Columbus in the first two bouts, Schmidt had to struggle as Lima tried to take her to a pinfall, but Schmidt never gave up and was able to take an early 12- lead 0 and holding it for the 12 -1 big decision, working his way into the state semifinals.
Semifinals: A second turnaround bout was just enough for Baldwin’s Audrey Darnell, who is ranked no. 1 by the coaches, to beat Katelyn Schmidt, who is ranked no. Schmidt, who made the state final last year, will still have a chance to earn some hardware on Saturday, moving up to the consolation bracket.
140: Cheyenne Wagoner, Douglass
First round of the championship: Credit Wagoner, who is only a sophomore from never giving up. Although he gave up on the important decision, he fought several times against the pin to go far. He moves to the back of the bracket.
First Consolation Round: Second was unable to find leverage in the consolation round as Holton’s Morrisa Ware managed to get Wagoner in the first period, locking her 42 seconds into the round. The 20-18 season ends.
155: Emily Hess, Augsburg
First Round of the Championship: Emily Hess hit two overtimes before a closed-hands point gave her opponent, Marysville’s Rosa Latta, the lead in an overnight victory.
First round consolation: Hess took a moment but finally got the better of Columbus’ Jailyn Rodriguez, pinning her in the third period. Hess had already had a nearfall and an inversion and led 8-0 before the pin.
170: Brooklynn Smith, Aug
Championship First Round: Unfortunately, Augusta’s Brooklynn Smith was matched against a top seed in her bracket and went down by pinfall in the first period.
First Round Consolation: Smith’s season ended in the consolation round when Norton’s Kenya Goss pinned her in the second period. Smith suffered a loss in the first period, but Goss had the better of it from there on. Smith finishes the season 24-17.
190: Payton Sholander, Rose Hill
First Round of the Championship: Sholander controlled much of the first period until Girard’s Kara Pope was able to get the opposite and finally pinned Rose Hill senior, pushing her into the consolation bracket.
First Round Consolation: After being upset in the first round, Sholander returned to her form in the consolation portion, pinning Stockton’s Rivver Long 42 seconds into the match.