Kansas girls' state wrestling: Five storylines to watch

Brent Maycock
Topeka Capital-Journal

The Kansas Girls State Wrestling Championships will be conducted this Thursday and Friday in Park City (Division I) and Salina (Division II). Here are some storylines to watch heading into this year's tournaments. 

Marysville's Elise Rose (top) has suffered only one loss to a girl during her high school career, coming in last year's state championship match. Rose is 13-0 this season and ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds going into Friday's Division II state championships in Salina.

Coming up roses in Marysville?

Elise Rose has only suffered one loss in her career to a girl. That came in last year's 123-pound finals at the inaugural Girls State Wrestling Championships, a hard-fought 9-4 decision to Paola's Jordyn Knecht, who finished the season 30-0. Rose had won the unofficial state title the year before at 113 pounds and this year is 13-0 and ranked No. 1 at 132 pounds. Rose has handed Mission Valley's Hope Blake her only two losses of the season and is on track for a showdown with Hoxie's Marissa Porsch (40-1) in the finals.

Council Grove's Jolie Ziegler (top) handed Larned's Ava Mull (bottom) her first loss of the season in last week's Girls Division II sub-state 170-pound title match. Ziegler won the 170 state title last year and will go for a repeat Friday at Salina's Tony's Pizza Events Center.

Sophomore statement for Ziegler?

At last year's state meet, Jolie Ziegler turned in one of the most dominant titles runs of any champion in winning the 170-pound title. Ziegler needed just more than two minutes to pin all three of her foes, including a 31-second pin of Abilene's Lyndsey Buechman in the finals. Ziegler finished the season 27-0 and this year has gone 11-1. Ziegler is coming off a win over previously unbeaten Ava Mull of Larned in the sub-state finals, riding out Mull in the ultimate tiebreaker of a 1-1 match. Ziegler is ranked No. 2, however, behind Baldwin freshman Hayleigh Wempe, who is 31-4 and handed Ziegler her lone loss.

Baldwin's Hayleigh Wempe (top) is ranked No. 1 at 170 pounds in Girls Division II and looks to lead the Bulldogs to the team state title Friday in Salina. Baldwin is ranked No. 1 and has six state qualifiers, more than any other school.

Are Baldwin's Bulldogs the top dogs?

No team at the Girls Division II state meet has more qualified than Baldwin, which has six and is ranked No. 1 after a dominating win at last week's sub-state tournament. In addition to top-ranked 170-pounder Hayleigh Wempe (31-4), the Bulldogs got a sub-state title from 143-pounder Emma Grossoehme, who is 34-4 and ranked No. 4.  Grosseoehme is on the same side of the bracket as returning state champion Livia Swift of Pratt, who was upset in her sub-state final, while Wempe must open with returning runner-up Lyndsey Buechman of Abilene and potentially face one-loss Ava Mull of Larned in the semifinals.

A foreign exchange student from Denmark, Emporia's Hannah Boa (top) had to Google wrestling to know anything about the sport before arriving in the United States. But she's surprised herself and others how successful she's been in her first year, posting a 22-4 record.

Emporia on the hunt

Emporia has spent the entire season trying to knock off Centennial League rival Washburn Rural, coming within only a few points at the league meet before seeing the Junior Blues open up the gap in the postseason. With six qualifiers, the Spartans have just two less than Rural does. An upset or two could go a long way toward Emporia pulling the upset and the Spartans have a feel-good story in 143-pounder Hannah Boa, a foreign exchange student from Denmark who finished runner-up at sub-state after a third-place finish at regionals.

Atchison County's Tannah Forbes (top) upset No. 1 Holly Colvert of Tonganoxie at last week's Division II sub-state 191-pound title match. Forbes moved up to No. 1 this week going into Friday's state tournament in Salina.

Ride the momentum

Burlington's E'owynn Codney and Atchison County's Tannah Forbes each could stake a claim for having the most impressive upset at last week's Division II sub-state tournament at Anderson County. Codney knocked off regional champion Keera Lacock of Rossville with a first-period fall in the semifinals before picking up the biggest win of her career, knocking off previously undefeated and returning state champion Alexis Allen of Independence with a third-period pin in the finals. Not to be outdone, Forbes pinned her way to the title at 191 pounds, including a first-period pin in the finals of No. 1 Holly Colvert of Tonganoxie. Both took over the No. 1 ranking at their respective weights going into state but know their upset victims will be out for revenge in Salina.

Burlington's E'owynn Codney (top) upset No. 1 and previously undefeated Alexis Allen of Independence at sub-state last week to win the 115-pound title.