Wrestlers have successful showing at UKC and Regional meets

Four Wildcats qualify for State

De Soto High School wrestlers Jackson Mocca, Zak Kalafut, Lane Warner and Luke Barger walk in front of the band during their State send-off on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Wildcat Photo

De Soto High School wrestlers Jackson Mocca, Zak Kalafut, Lane Warner and Luke Barger walk in front of the band during their State send-off on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Hunter Finerty, Staff Reporter

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The last few weekends have been very successful for the De Soto wrestling team.

On Saturday, Feb. 8, the team participated in the United Kansas Conference meet at Basehor-Linwood High School, placing fourth overall.

Many competitors placed in the top three of their weight class at UKC. Twelve wildcats competed, with seven earning All-Conference Honors.

Junior Luke Barger placed second in his weight class

Senior Nick Nguyen, juniors Lane Warner and Jacob Goodin, sophomores Zak Kalafut and Jackson Mocca and freshman Joe Chames each placed third in their respective weight classes, as well.

The team felt that each individual performance was the result of many years of work.

“I feel like I’ve improved a ton since I started in fifth grade. I just like the intensity of wrestling,” Kalafut said.

“I love to manage wrestling. I enjoy seeing the boys grow on the team,” said sophomore wrestling manager Haylee Hurt.

Following a successful finish at the UKC meet, the team competed in the Regional competition on Feb. 15-16 at Bonner Springs High School.

Regionals also went well for the team, resulting in four State qualifications.

Barger was the Regional champion, also qualifying him for State.

Mocca placed eighth in the 152 lb weight class, Kalafut placed seventh at 113 lbs and Warner placed sixth at the competition in the 126 lb class, qualifying each individual for the State competition.

“Our strength this year is our improvement. The mantra for the year has been to get one percent better every day,” head coach Shannon Sawner said.

Considering the results, the team seems to have met their goal.

The four qualifying wrestlers will compete in the KSHSAA 5A State competition Feb. 22-23, in Park City outside of Wichita.