SALINA — Iola High School junior Logan Brown is one match away from wrestling history.
Brown stunned previously undefeated Evan Dean of Santa Fe Trail in the 285-pound division in their Class 4A state semifinal match Friday evening.
The win puts Brown one win away from becoming Iola’s first-ever state wrestling champion.
“It’s the best feeling ever,” Brown said breathlessly. “I just can’t wait to stand at the top of the podium.”
Brown will face off in the title match against Ayston Perez of Ulysses today at Salina’s Tony’s Pizza Events Center.
“It’s a great time, a great time to peak,” Iola head coach Jason Bates said. “He deserved that win.”
Brown, whose only loss of the season has been to Dean, narrowly avoided defeat with a nifty reversal late in the first round.
Prior to that, the pair grappled along the edge of the ring before Dean secured the upper hand with a takedown.
Dean was inches from pinning Brown before the Mustang grappler escaped, then flipped the brawny Santa Fe wrestler onto his back.
The round was seconds away from ending when Brown was able to get the pin.
Brown is the first wrestler to advance this far in the six years Bates has been at the helm at IHS.
“This is exciting, and really exciting for him because he has been working hard,” Bates said. “He really did earn it today.”
Out of the four Mustang wrestlers in Salina, three started off by advancing to the quarterfinals. Sophomore TJ Taylor (16-4) was granted a bye in 113-pound action after his opponent failed to make his weight at Friday morning’s weigh-in. In his quarterfinal bout, Taylor lost by a 9-1 decision against Pratt’s Devon Weber (31-1).
“Having those first-round byes at state is pretty tough because your first match is always your toughest match,” Bates said. “We missed the opportunity to get those first-match jitters out of the way, and he had a strong guy to go up against in his first match.”
Sophomore Trent Jones (26-5) earned a 3-1 decision win over Chapman’s Justin Wisner-McLane (26-8) in the 145-pound weight class. In the quarterfinals, Jones held an early advantage on points, but wasn’t able to pin his way to the semifinals.
Jones lost by a 9-7 decision against Augusta’s Garrett Davis (34-11), but still has a chance to come away with bronze if all goes to plan on Saturday.
Senior Gary Lower (21-8) earned a win by fall in the first consolation round to stay alive after a loss by fall in the opening round. Senior Gary Lower (21-8) earned a win by fall in the first consolation round to stay alive after a loss by fall in the opening round. With Lower’s win, each of the four Mustang wrestlers are alive and well for Day 2 action.
“It’s great to have each wrestler win a match at state,” Bates said. “To have the best year in this program’s history shows how much progress we have made this season.”
Follow @Iolasports on Twitter for all the latest wrestling updates as the tournament winds down.