With two No. 1 seeds and two No. 2 seeds, Free State High's wrestlers figure to be in the hunt for a Sunflower League title today at Olathe North.
The 11-team league meet will begin at 10 a.m. Semifinals are set to start approximately 1:30 p.m. Championship matches and third-place matches are scheduled for approximately 5 p.m.
"It's going to be a tight run between us, Olathe South and Shawnee Mission South," said FSHS coach Darrell Andrew, whose squad is ranked No. 8 in Class 6A. "All three teams have three quality individuals. This is the first year we've gone to the league tournament wanting to bring it all home. I think the league has gotten tougher every year. It speaks a lot for eastern Kansas."
The Firebirds have several wrestlers in the hunt for individual titles.
FSHS senior Ian Brk is the No. 1 seed at 215 pounds. Brk, a Stanford signee, has a 22-4 record.
Olathe North senior Josh Carroll is the No. 2 seed at 20-1, with that one loss coming to Brk. Carroll, who has just one loss in the past two seasons, defeated Brk in the Class 6A state 215-pound final last year.
A Brk-Carroll final seems likely.
"Those four losses on Ian came early in the season," Andrew said. "He wasn't quite focused or quite in shape. Ian can step on the mat and look like a state champ, but if he doesn't prepare himself properly he can disappoint himself. He's now in shape and wrestling to the best of his ability."
Sophomore Matt Somers is the Firebirds' other No. 1 seed. He has a 16-4 record in the 119-pound division.
Justin Stevens, a 189-pound senior and Free State's lone unbeaten wrestler, is the No. 2 seed behind two-time state champion Justin Dyer of Olathe South. Dyer, an Oklahoma University wrestling signee, is 29-0. Stevens, league runner-up to Dyer last year, is 28-0.
"We've been looking forward to it all year," Andrew said of a possible Stevens-Dyer final. "Justin Dyer is an extremely fine wrestler and quality kid. This year Justin (Stevens) has been totally focused."
Stevens needs one more victory to set a school record for wins in a season.
FSHS junior Kyle Frank is the No. 2 seed at 171 pounds with a 20-8 record. Olathe East's Jeff Schieber is No. 1 with a 22-7 record.
Brandon Allsbury (103), Alex Benson (112), Adam Berg (125), Kyle Case (130), Anthony White (135), Josh Sanderson (140), Dane Morris (145), Brett Shoffner (152), Nick McGovern (160) and Grant Steinbach (275) complete the Firebird lineup.
LHS, which will have eight entries at the league meet, is led by junior Aaron Madill, the No. 1 seed at 160 pounds. Madill has a 21-6 record.
"He's got a good shot to win the thing," LHS coach Jeff Tummons said.
Lawrence's Carl Lisher (171) and Kenny Poeverlein II (275) are No. 3 seeds. Lisher is 10-6 and Poeverlein is 16-8. Chris Hultine is the No. 4 seed at 135 pounds at 19-7.
Joey Kelly (112), Pharouk Hussein (125), Chris Cain (145) and Clayton Kellerman (189) complete the LHS lineup.
"I think we're ready," Tummons said. "They've had a really great week of practice and have been working hard."