SALINA—Perfection. It was the perfect way for Jake Goldenstein to finish his brilliant season.
A sophomore for the Orioles, Goldenstein remembered coming up short in the state finals a year ago when he took only his second loss. He didn’t let the moment pass him this time around.
After the final whistle blew, he had to catch his breath as he sat up on the mat. But he quickly realized what he had just accomplished. Goldenstein beat Bonner Springs’ Josiah Seaton (34-3) by a score of 2-0 to win the 106-pound championship bout at the Class 4A state wrestling tournament in Salina Saturday.
“It’s great. I don’t know how to explain it,” Goldenstein said with a gleeful gaze on his face. “I’ve wanted this for so long, and now it’s here.”
With the win, Goldenstein completed the rare feat of an undefeated season with a perfect 39-0 record. He won seven tournament titles in all, including his second straight Regional title at home in Augusta, where he has worked through the youth wrestling club and middle school program to get where he is today.
“There’s probably not a more deserving kid,” coach Brandon Terry said. “Jake truly is humble, he’s passionate about wrestling. He works hard, he’s a good student. He’s an easy kid to coach.”
To start the championship match, Goldenstein fought off a shot by Seaton midway through the first period, then took a shot of his own. With his head between Seaton’s legs, Goldenstein lifted him up and spun him down for the first—and only—takedown of the match.
Goldenstein started the second period on top. He kept good pressure the whole period. Though he wasn't able to turn him, Seaton never really threatened to escape, either.
Seaton returned the favor in the third period, but that wasn't good enough. Goldenstein wrestled well from on bottom by not allowing Seaton to turn him the entire period, which sealed the win.
“Keeping hands away and not doing anything stupid,” Goldenstein said were keys to fending off Seaton.
There might’ve been a small opening or two that Goldenstein usually pounces on to score more points, but he made smart decisions not to give Seaton any openings to score points of his own.
“I think he had the monkey on his back just to get his first title,” Terry said. “...He did what he needed to do to win.”
Goldenstein became Augusta's first wrestling state champion since Nick Collins beat Andale's Levi Eck 3-2 in the 145-pound championship two seasons ago in 2011, Collins’ senior year.
Page 2 of 3 - Since joining the Orioles, his teammates have called him Goldie. On Saturday, he was golden. And now he can be called a state champion.
“I like that,” Goldenstein said. “I really like it.”
Orioles settle for 11th place at State
This wasn’t the way it was supposed to end for Augusta’s wrestling team.
The Orioles, who had nine qualifiers make it to the state tournament in Salina this past weekend, were primed to make a run like they did at their home Regional a week ago.
In that tournament, the Orioles had an incredible round where all five of their wrestlers still alive were able to win matches in the crucial round. At State, though, the Orioles came up empty in that round. With the exception of state champion Jake Goldenstein, all the Orioles took a loss on Day 1 and eventually got eliminated one or two rounds short of earning a medal.
For coach Brandon Terry, he said it was tough for the Orioles to swallow, but at the end of the day, he didn’t want the Orioles’ performance at State diminish what they had accomplished all season.
“It’s unfair in wrestling sometimes that you measure success by what you do here at State,” Terry said.
Augusta finished 14-1 in duals this season—and very easily could’ve been 15-0 if it was at full strength against Kapaun back in January. The Orioles had several finishes among the top few leaders at tournaments, including a runner-up title at their home Regional.
Senior Jacob Hill (170 pounds) and junior Wright Bosley (182) came the closest to earning a medal. Hill started 1-1, then won the first round of consolations with a 13-2 victory against Columbus’ Jace McDown before losing his final match against Spring Hill’s Blake Hampton 5-1 in a match that was closer than the score really indicated.
Bosley lost a 5-2 decision one round shy of a guaranteed state medal.
Senior Quentin Spainhower (160) lost one of the toughest matches of the season for him. He was taken down in the first period and reversed in the second as he trailed 5-3 going into Period 3. Spainhower came within a point twice, but couldn’t get the last takedown for the win.
Seniors Cory White (138) and Brett Hamilton (145) went 1-2, as did sophomore Nathan Moore (113) and junior Colton Clayborn. Senior Jake Ehrlich (295) went 0-2.
For the seniors, it was tough to deal with early exits, but Terry reminded them how far they’ve come the past few seasons and how they had great careers.
Page 3 of 3 - “Definitely changes you in a good way. Wrestling’s not just a sport. It’s more a lifestyle,” Hill said. “Teaches you a lot.”
“It’s made me a better man in general...Being under coach Terry’s command, it really puts something in you. It gives you that fire, that want to make yourself better, to do something with yourself,” Spainhower said.
“I’ve got a great group of seniors. And I wouldn’t want to coach any other group of kids at this tournament, win or lose, than the kids I have,” Terry said. They’re great guys. We have fun together. They work hard.”