Maize beats Newton in league championship wrestling in a matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2

The number one seed Maize High’s boys wrestling team competed and won against the number two seed Newton in the league championship meet on Thursday night.

Carter Smith, Reporter

The Eagles beat the Newton Railers in a head-to-head wrestling duel on Thursday night, winning 55-24. Maize pinned seven Newton wrestlers out of their twelve matchups.

Junior Ronan Wunsch celebrates with the student section after pinning his opponent. Wunsch is ranked fourth in his individual 190 weight class. Myles Bowers

Facing off in the league championship as the number one seed in the state, Maize was in a big position. Junior Jayden Ford’s end goal he said is, “to bring this school their first ever state title in wrestling and my end goal is to win state.” 

“I go into this duel never underestimating my opponents,” Ford said.

Junior Ronan Wunsch pinned his opponent in just 53 seconds in the first period. Wunsch says that he doesn’t face any challenges heading into his meets. Wunsch has wrestled in the Maize Wrestling Club for nine years now and strives to improve everyday. Wunsch placed third in state last year and looks to win it all this year.

“[I want] to win a team title with my teammates because we have wrestled with each other since we were little kids and we have dreamed of it,” Wunsch said.

With just 44 seconds left in the first period, junior Ayden Flores pinned his opponent. Flores has wrestled in a Maize club for the last 10 years. To prepare for his duels, Flores says he doesn’t do much and “just gets PT.” He says his and the team’s mentality throughout the season has been “to keep working hard to be ready to win state.” Flores placed second in his individual weight class last season and strives to win it all this year.

“[My favorite part is] competing with my teammates and staying in hotels with them,” Flores said.

Reigning state champion, senior Connor Padgett, pinned his Newton opponent with 1 minute and 13 seconds remaining of the two minute first period. His brother, senior Camden Padgett, who placed sixth in state last year, pinned his opponent with 1 minute and 12 seconds remaining in the period. They have both been a part of the Maize Wrestling Club for 7 years.

Senior Cody Hughbanks pinned down his Railer opponent with 56 seconds left in his period. Hughbanks has been wrestling for fifteen years. Sophomore Michael Tran, weight 113, pinned his opponent quickly just 57 seconds into his matchup. Tran has wrestled in the Maize Wrestling Club for four years. 

“[My biggest challenge is] being undersized and knowing I’m going against people that are bigger and stronger than me,” Tran said.

Junior Daniel Gomez beat his opponent 4-2 in his matchup. Senior Clayton Bowers, who placed third in state last year, won his duel 10-2. Gomez has wrestled in the Maize Wrestling Club for 10 years now and Bowers has wrestled for 13 years.

The Eagles took home the league championship with their win over the Railers in the head to head matchup. Maize continues to work towards their first team state championship everyday. With many wrestlers placing last year in their individual weight classes, they look to continue that streak.

“We have been working tirelessly as individuals to achieve our goals as a team,” Gomez said. “Aches, pains, and injuries are being taken care of so we are ready for the coming weeks. Every single practice has come down to this last push. I know everyone has worked hard enough to do our job and take state for the first time.”