In its second year, the Herald’s all-area wrestling team features a strong mix of senior stars and promising underclassmen. Ten total prep student-athletes, including seven state qualifiers, from three programs represent this year’s top competitors on the mat in Franklin County.
Ryan Ware, Wellsville High School senior
Ware won every tournament he competed in this season except for 3A-2A-1A state, where he finished runner-up to rival Koby Beitz of Eureka. Ware finished 34-2 in the 113-pound weight class, making his career record as an Eagle 105-15. He is a three-time placer at the state tournament, improving every year (fourth as a sophomore, third as a junior and second as a senior).
Ethan Ewing, Wellsville High School junior
Ewing made his third trip to the 3A-2A-1A state tournament in as many years in February, finishing fourth. He won three tournaments this year — Chase County, Pioneer League and regionals — in the 126-pound weight class, and finished no worse than runner up at every tournament this season. His overall record was 34-8.
Anthony Signs, Wellsville High School sophomore
Signs made a big step in his second prep season, earning a trip to state by finishing fourth at regionals. While he didn’t place, the 138-pound weight class competitor finished with a 30-10 overall record, and placed in the top four at every tournament this season. He won his in his weight class at the Pioneer League tournament and the Chase County tournament.
Jared Parenti, Ottawa High School senior
The leading upperclassmen on a young Cyclone squad, Parenti left it all on the mat in his final prep season. Competing in the 152-pound weight class, he finished 40-9 overall with a first-place medal at the Frontier League meet. Parenti was third at regionals and sixth at 4A state, going 3-3 in Salina.
Kael Lane, Ottawa High School freshman
One of a number of promsiing young Cyclone wrestlers, Lane qualified for the 4A state tournament in his first high school season. In the 106-pound weight class, Lane was steay all season with a 25-15 overall record. He placed third at the Frontier League meet and third at regionals to reach state, where he finished 1-2.
Tucker Mace, Ottawa High School junior
Praise by his coach for being one of the hardest working team members, Mace finished his junior campaign 23-22. He was second at the Frontier League meet in the 170-pound weight class with a 5-1 performance, and finished one match shy of a state berth at regionals.
Bret Ferguson, Ottawa High School junior
A state qualifier his sophomore year, Ferguson finished one match shy of heading to the 4A state tournament again this season. He finished 26-11 overall in the 195-pound weight class, and placed second at the Frontier League meet. “He lost a close match at regionals to an eventual state placer, and when he puts in a lot of time on the mat, we will see good things next year,” coach Brent Lane, said.
Richard Blevins, Ottawa High School freshman
Blevins showed a lot of promise in his first prep season by finishing one match short of a state qualification as a freshman. He was 25-17 overall in the 113-pound weight class. “Richard is a big pinner with a lot of length at his possession,” coach Brent Lane, said.
Preston Allen, Central Heights High School senior
Allen was the Vikings’ top senior wrestler, finishing 19-7 overall record in the 182-pound weight class. He punched his ticket to 3A-2A-1A state by finishing fourth at regionals, going 2-2. Allen finished 0-2 in state.
Avery Stalford, Central Heights High School sophomore
Stalford notched 30 wins in his sophomore season (30-11), and went 3-1 in regionals to make it to the state tournament. In the 120-pound weight class, he won his first state match, but lost to the eventual state champion, Phillipsburg’s Jacob Sisson. This was Stalford’s second state appearance in as many years wrestling at the high school level.