Wichita Baldwin senior Witt Hinton joked to his coaches and family Friday night after his weigh-in for Saturday's state wrestling championship match in the heavyweight class, "I'm under by about 70 pounds."
Hinton may be in the 275-pound weight class, but at times this season he has weighed little more than 200 pounds. But whatever works, right? On Saturday night, Witt's light weight worked all right.
Hinton, who trailed 1-0 to Eudora's Shane Grant in the 275-pound championship and found himself struggling underneath the burly Cardinal and in danger of a pin, pulled off the move of his career a quick reversal over Grant's back that gave him all the momentum he needed for an 8-1 victory and his first state title.
"As I heard the ref count down the finals seconds, I found myself almost going into shock," Hinton said in disbelief.
Hinton's quick move and some timely backdoor points by the Bulldogs gave Baldwin a seventh-place finish the best in school history. Hinton became Baldwin's first state champion in 15 years.
"I call it 'team magic,'" said Baldwin coach Kit Harris. "They came to work every day, and I'm just lucky to sit in the corner and watch."
BHS' other finalist, Kyle Flory, didn't have as much success. He lost to Marysville's Pat Vogelsberg, 15-7, in the 171-pound final.
Still, the Bulldogs' persistence Saturday helped pave the way to their best-ever finish.
While Derek Lang was Baldwin's only other medalist, Joe Bonner, Adam Halford and Dan Hamilton provided a workmanlike effort on the back side of the bracket to score points.
"It goes to show all the blood, sweat and tears of practice really pays off," Hinton said.
Harris only hopes that his seven qualifiers and seventh-place finish can help start a new wrestling tradition in Baldwin.
"Hey, it's a start," Harris said with a smile. "These kids deserve it. Each kid fed off the emotion and energy of each other and came together as one team."
103 JJ Pittman, Augusta, def. Andy Koontz, Tonganoxie, 11-3; Dexter Deeds, Goodland, pinned Joe Bonner, Baldwin; Ross DeVoe, Columbus, pinned Aaron Gladfelter, Mill Valley; Matt Fadenrecht, Anthony-Harper-Chaparral, def. Gladfelter, 5-2; Bonner pinned Drew Easterberg, Clay Center; Aaron Bladsi, Pratt, def. Koontz, 11-7.
112 Josh Peterson, Abilene, pinned Ross Starcher, Tonganoxie; Brandon Tracy, Coffeyville, def. Starcher, 5-4.
119 Chad Hinderliter, Ottawa, pinned Kyle Walter, Atchison; Hindliter, def. James Annon, Norton, 9-7; Trevor Charbonneau, Clay Center, def. Hinderliter, 17-2; Charbonneau, CC, pinned Matt Linzer, Eudora; Jesse Tibbles, Colby, pinned Linzer.
125 Cody Betsworth, Santa Fe Trail, def. Nick Zahm, Columbus, 10-6; Jordan Close, Clay Center, def. Betsworth, 9-5.
130 Chad Schmale, Santa Fe Trail, def. Ryan Demel, El Dorado, 14-2; Danny Grater, Clay Center, def. Schmale, 11-2.
140 Schuyler Sharpe, Colby, def. Travis McBurney, Santa Fe Trail, 11-2; McBurney pinned Andy Greenhaw, Independence; Eric Johnson, Norton, def. Derek Lang, Baldwin, 10-1; Lang def. Gabe Forbes, Parsons, 6-3.
145 Justin Wiscombe, Santa Fe Trail, def. Jared Daniels, Caney Valley, 6-4; Matt Dukes, Basehor-Linwood, def. Wiscombe, 12-10.
152 Kyle Johnston, Labette County, pinned Travis Eden, Santa Fe Trail; Ben Gurtier def. Eden; Ben Kersting, Douglas, def. Luke Powers, Eudora, 16-7; Powers, Eudora, pinned Bobby Krause, Nickerson.
160 Adam Halford, Baldwin, def. J.D. Jenkinsk, Atchison, 22-5; Kurtis Baylor, Columbus, def. Halford, 17-12; Zac Sheets, Chapman, pinned Pat Weyer, Tonganoxie; Chad Hamilton, El Dorado, def. Weyer, 5-3; Troy Medill, Lansing, pinned James Barr, Eudora; Barr def. Colten Bustos, Coffyeville.
171 Kyle Flory, Baldwin, def. Andrew Riner, Pratt, 6-2; Flory def. Jake Welshear, Atchison, 18-3; Flory def. Mike Howell, Nickerson, 9-4.
189 Chris Glenn, KC Ward, pinned Rick Croucher, Ottawa; Matt Peterie, El Dorado def. Croucher, 6-4; Justin Browning, Osawatomie, def. Eric Pingleton, Milll Valley, 4-3; Pingleton pinned Chris Delimont, Norton; Jacob Strait, Concordia, def. Seth Halford, Baldwin, 15-0; William Whitehead, Douglas, def. Halford, 5-2.
215 Dan Hamilton, Baldwin, pinned Kode Pacha, Marysville; Aaron Brockway, Independence, def. Hamilton, 9-1; Danny Lavole, Concordia pinned Daniel Squires, SFT; Ty Patton, Circle, def. Squires, 3-1; James Hartshorn, Tonganoxie, def. Keil Jahr, Spring Hill, 8-5; Tad Greer, El Dorado, def. Hartshorne, 6-2; Jason Marmon, Eudora, def. Kole Dierking, Hiawatha, 10-6; Justin Mathias, Nickerson, def. Marmon, 6-5.
275 Witt Hinton, Baldwin, def. Logan Mize, Clearwater, 14-0; Hinton def. Chris Perdue, Columbus, 18-2; Hinton pinned Daniel Kerr, Wellington; Shane Grant, Eudora, def. Eric Seemann, Colby, 7-2; Grant def. Matt Gillett, Basehor-Linwood, 8-4; Grant def. Alan English, Augusta, 6-3.