The De Soto high school varsity wrestling team competed in the Kansas 5A Regional Wrestling Tournament Friday and Saturday. Eleven Wildcats participated in the 18-team tournament hosted at Bonner Springs. Junior Luke Barger (182) led the way as Regional Champion while teammates junior Lane Warner (126) finished sixth, sophomore Zak Kalafut (113) finished seventh, and sophomore Jackson Mocca (152) finished eighth to qualify for the KSHSAA 5A State Wrestling Tournament.
Barger’s path to a championship started Friday with a first-round bye. He defeated his next two opponents by pin, each in under a minute. This set up a match in the finals Saturday against the number one seed, an opponent Barger lost to twice already this season.
Their match Saturday started with Barger fighting to avoid a pin in the first period then unable to score in the second, and trailing 0-6. The third period started with both wrestlers on their feet. Barger quickly scored a takedown, locked into position, and secured his third pin of the tournament a few seconds later.
Warner, Kalafut, and Mocca will join Barger at State after finishing in the top of their respective weight classes. Warner took sixth, winning two of his first three matches Friday. Kalafut took seventh, winning twice Friday and once Saturday. Mocca took eighth winning twice on the backside of the bracket Friday.
Senior Nick Nguyen (103), freshman Joe Chames (120), senior Josh Padron (132), freshman Luke VanBooven (138), junior Dylan Dossett (145), junior Cooper Pflaum (195), and junior Jacob Goodin (285) all wrestled for De Soto at Regionals. Each of them advanced within one match of qualifying for State, helping the team finish twelfth with 68 points.
The action starts again Friday at 10:00 am in Wichita as Barger, Warner, Kalafut, and Mocca wrestle in the KSHSAA 5A State Wrestling Tournament. For more information on this year’s State tournament visit KSHSAA.org.