Dodge City High School’s effort in the semifinals at the Class 6A state wrestling championships began with a trio of highs. Damian Mendez won his matchup at 106, Couy Weil won at 120 and Garrett Edwards advanced to Saturday’s 138 final with a win, as well.
But the Red Demons’ day, which finished with them in fifth place with 92.5 points, ended on the sour note of heavyweight favorite Evan Darville losing his semifinal match, denying the senior a chance at a state title.
"I just feel like I worked an entire offseason and season towards getting to the finals, and I just won’t be able to accomplish my dream," Darville said immediately following the loss.
The Demons’ Jashon Taylor also lost in his semifinal, but the Demons got the other three into the title matches, including a pair of semifinal wins over the top-ranked wrestlers in the division. None were more dramatic than Couy Weil’s win over Mill Valley’s Zach Keal, who was 43-6 this year.
Weil scored a first-period takedown, before Keal drew even in the second period with a takedown of his own. But in the third period, Weil dominated, eventually pinning Keal and exploding off the mat in celebration with friends, family and fans in the stands.
He ran off the floor after his hand was raised giving high-fives all the way through.
"This means everything to me," Weil said of the win. "I worked my butt off this whole year, my whole career. This has been my goal for forever."
At 106, Mendez pinned Lawrence’s Kevin Honas in 5:32 to punch his final ticket, but at 138, Edwards got another upset of a No. 1 when he recorded an 11-7 decision over Shawnee Mission Northwest’s Curte’z Riley.
The Demons also have Danny Rojas (126) competing on the backside of the bracket after he opened the day with a win before losing in the quarterfinal match.
"I think we wrestled phenomenal," Dodge City head coach Lars Leuders said. "Obviously, that last match is disappointing. I feel sad for (Darville) because he’s worked really hard to get to that point … but our wins in the semis were huge."
Derby leads the team chase with 139 points, followed by Manhattan (131), Haysville-Campus (117) and Garden City (101)