SHAWNEE, Kan. — Mill Valley has the 6A State Wrestling hardware in its trophy case. Now, the Jaguars are looking to collect more.
A year after winning Kansas 6A State in 2020, Mill Valley returns as a favorite in 2021 once again, but in a different class.
The Jags are 5A now.
"They're both tough," said Mill Valley wrestling coach Travis Keal. "It's tough to win in either one."
While Mill Valley is dropping down a class, they're not necessarily dropping down in competition.
"I think 5A is definitely tougher. It's a lot more competition," said senior wrestler Brodie Scott, who is the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 195 pounds in 5A.
Goddard is projected to be Mill Valley's toughest competition Friday at the state meet in Park City. And no matter which level is tougher, the Jaguars are just glad to be here.
"Grateful to have this opportunity with the season that we've had," Keal said.
Senior Ethan Kremer, a two-time state champion in the 285 pound class, said the team has had about half as many matches as in a normal year.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, Kansas will hold its State Wrestling Tournament on time. However, the number of wrestlers who qualify has been limited. So, instead of 16 wrestlers in each weight class, there will be only eight.
"Eight people left at each weight so everybody's going to be good," Keal said.
Kremer had similar thoughts.
"You've got to be ready to go for Match No. 1," he said. "If not, it's going to be a rough day."
That goes for whatever class you're in.
"It doesn't change anything," Scott said. "We've still got to go out and do our business."