On Cloud nine — IHS senior secure state wrestling bid

Iola High's Korbin Cloud erased three years of frustration Saturday by nabbing a state wrestling bid. Cloud took fourth at the Class 4A Regional Meet in Independence in the 144-pound category.

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February 19, 2024 - 3:33 PM

Iola High's Korbin Cloud, right, wrestles against Paola's Elijah Younger Saturday. Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

INDEPENDENCE — The emotions of three years worth of blood, sweat and tears came to the fore Saturday as Iola High senior Korbin Cloud squared off in his Class 4A consolation semifinal.

Cloud, who finished one match short from qualifying for the state meet a year ago, found himself in a nearly identical situation once again.

After dominating his first opponent of the day in Saturday’s regional competition, pinning Scott Sloan of Frontenac in 23 seconds of their 144-pound match, Cloud took on top seed Cason Wyrick of Labette County in the championship semifinals.

Alas, Wyrick took control midway through the first period, and pinned Cloud with seconds remaining.

Rather than dwell on the setback, Cloud had one more shot at state, in the consolation semis — also known as the “blood round” — where a win would punch his ticket to state.

A loss would end the season.

Iola High wrestling coach Jason Bates hugs Mustang senior Korbin Cloud after Cloud qualified Saturday for the upcoming Class 4A state meet.Photo by Richard Luken / Iola Register

But Cloud got the early jump against Elijah Younger of Paola, netting two early points for a takedown, but unable to get a pin in the first period.

Younger, sensing an opportunity to make up ground, opted for the bottom starting position, and thus the potential to earn a quick point if he could escape.

Cloud had other plans.

A quick shift at the outset allowed Cloud to quickly flip Younger onto his back and get the pin, 19 seconds into the period.

Cloud gave an ebullient clap, and was greeted by head coach Jason Bates for an emotional hug afterward.

“It was mainly relief,” Cloud admitted.

The victory means Cloud is in Topeka for the Class 4A State Tournament in Salina, the sole Mustang grappler to qualify.

The  honor is well deserved, Bates said.

“Korbin’s been working for three years to make it to the high school state tournament,” Bates noted. “He’s been in some of the toughest weight brackets in our regionals for the last two years.”

The key, Bates said, was Cloud’s ability to erase the loss to Wyrick quickly.

“He stayed focused on what he still needed to do rather than wasting energy on that loss,” Bates said.

“I was hoping to get it over with as soon as I could,” Cloud said. “I was pretty nervous. I knew I could win, but I was nervous.

“It means a lot,” Cloud said. “It’s good to finally get it to pay off.”

THREE other Mustang wrestlers, all freshmen, also traveled to Independence for regional competition.

Tripp Mathes competed at 126 pounds, Kale Pratt at 150 pounds and Rohan Springer at 165 pounds.

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