Trowbridge rolls to top billing

In a tough call for who was the area’s top wrestler, it all really boiled down to who had the biggest ring.

With a powerful, young Lansing program appearing to be set to turn the corner and reach Class 5A elite status in the next year, a Leavenworth squad that had great turnover and still put together a class showing and a Pleasant Ridge team that was shorthanded all year (again) and still made plenty of noise, it was a Bobcat that rose above them all.

Basehor-Linwood senior Jonny Trowbridge wrapped his prep career last week with a second state title, this one at 170 pounds, to wrap up a 42-3 season, a 160-16 career and claim the 2018 Leavenworth Times’ Select Wrestler of the Year.

What makes his journey even more impressive is that after a championship at 126 his freshman year and fourth-place finish at 145 as a sophomore, Trowbridge didn’t qualify for state a year ago and then turned his game around in such epic fashion.

He went 32-1 at 170 while also going 10-2 at the 195-pound weight class, which in itself speaks volumes of the Bobcat’s growth.

“Jonny is without a doubt the most talented wrestler I have ever coached and quite possibly one of the most talented wrestlers to ever wrestle in Kansas,” Basehor-Linwood head coach Jason Puderbaugh said. “Jonny has also now been selected to wrestle for team Kansas in the annual Battle of the Border Metro Classic at 170 pounds. I know without a shadow of a doubt that Jonny deserves to be named the wrestler of the year for his talent, his wrestling accolades, and his team leadership. Jonny was an incredible team leader and captain this season.

“He plans to go on to wrestle in college next year and give back to the community as well by volunteering his time to lead up a freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling program here in Basehor.”

The future Northeastern Oklahoma College commit will now move on to the junior college ranks in hopes of furthering his career.

“I want to wrestle there for two years and a hopefully a four-year college will then contact me and I can wrestle (the last two years),” Trowbridge said. “I want to get my money’s worth at (Northeastern Oklahoma).”

What is still remarkable is the turnaround in his game that propelled him to becoming a champion once again after a down year in 2017.

“It was a good year and I knew at the start with Puderbaugh in the room it was going to be a good year,” Trowbridge said. “My practice partner – Kaden Jacobson – and TJ Williams helped a lot and they did a lot for me, just practice-wise … (the coaches) are all great coaches and Puderbaugh is probably one of the best coaches to coach me in high school. It was an exciting this year and a good year for all of us. I was happy to be with all those people.

“Compared to last year at 152, the guys were a lot bigger, stronger and so the difference there was a huge difference. Going in at 170, the first match I went into, the kid was strong and that was kind of a game changer for me. The main thing was I had to keep my strength up so I was lifting three to four times a week throughout the whole year, trying to stay strong compared to these 170s and I really pushed myself in the weight room. That helped out a lot this year for sure.”

As did Puderbaugh.

“He played a huge part in my life,” Trowbridge said. “It wasn’t just me, it wasn’t an individual thing. It was a team thing, it was a family. I couldn’t have done it by myself.”

REST OF THE SELECT

Joey Hancock, junior, Leavenworth: Hancock went 33-6 and finished fourth in the Class 5A state 152-pound bracket. Only two of his losses were to Kansas grapplers who finished in the top three of their respective state tournaments and two others were by injury default. He recorded 17 pins, four technical falls and three major decisions. 

“That means 73 percent of his victories were for bonus points and 65 percent of his total matches ended in bonus-point victories.” Leavenworth High coach Jacob Beck said and added that Hancock had three wins over 2018 KSHSAA state placers.

Joseph Irwin, junior, Lansing: Veteran leader Irwin ended up 41-4 with his third-straight regional title and ended up in fourth place at 138 pounds at the Class 5A finals. He also earned his 100th career win at the state quarterfinals. “Joseph is a very strong wrestler,” Lansing head coach Nick Flynn said. “He doesn't deviate from his style a lot. He knows what he is good at and executes it extremely well. He is patient in his attacks, but aggressive in his wrestling.”

Kaden Jacobson, sophomore, Basehor-Linwood: The sophomore finished 34-6 and took fifth at the state tournament’s 145-pound field last weekend in Salina. “He is arguably one of the hardest workers I have ever coached,” Puderbaugh said.    

Dawson Lamberd, freshman, Basehor-Linwood: He took fourth place at the Class 4A state finals and shook the 106-pound weight class with his first-year performance, finishing 26-11. “He is one of the toughest freshmen I have ever coached,” Puderbaugh said. 

Camden Maestas, freshman, Lansing: The newbie finished 41-10 and took fourth place at the Class 5A state finals, becoming only the fifth freshman in Lansing wrestling history to place in year one. “He is constantly learning and advancing his wrestling,” Flynn said. “Being undersized, his technique has become incredible. He is a very motivated individual who has a true vision for who he wants to become.”

Braiden McKee, junior, Lansing: Arguably the biggest rise on the season saw McKee become a force to finish 42-8 and take sixth place at the state finals. “Braiden has really advanced this year and has learned a ton of technique. He has become much more motivated in wrestling and has found a passion in the sport. His dedication to the sport has really made him become a great wrestler.”

Hartwell Taylor, sophomore, Leavenworth: He finished 44-14 overall and his two losses at state were top-four finishers at 120, which Taylor ended up in fourth place at the 5A tournament.

HONORABLE MENTION

Tyler Green, sophomore, Lansing

Claye Howard, junior, Lansing

Dylan McLain, junior, Leavenworth

Luke Oatney, senior, Pleasant Ridge

Trevor Ragland, junior, Pleasant Ridge

Etena Truivaiti, senior, Leavenworth

TJ Williams, senior, Basehor-Linwood