by Brian Turrel
Bonner Springs sophomore Olivia Stean took the top spot on the podium at the KSHSAA 5A-6A girls’ wrestling tournament Thursday, repeating her championship performance from a year ago.
She capped a group of four Wyandotte County medal winners from Bonner Springs, Harmon and Turner high schools.
The tournament took place Wednesday and Thursday at Hartman Arena in Park City.
Stean defeated Basehor-Linwood senior Mandy Wilson in the championship round of the 170-pound weight class. Familiar adversaries, they had already faced each other twice this season. Stean pinned Wilson just 49 seconds into the match to earn the win.
Forty-nine seconds was Stean’s longest match of the tournament. She blew through Wednesday’s preliminary rounds by pinning opponents in 15, 30 and 22 seconds.
Speaking after the tournament, she dedicated the performance to her friend, Hayleigh Wempe, a wrestler from Baldwin who took her own life last year.
“I’ve been thinking about her a lot,” Stean said. “I want to wrestle in her name. I want to win these titles for her because our goal was to win state together and now sadly that’s not going to happen.”
Stean finished the season undefeated with a 42-0 record, and she has her sights set beyond the Kansas state championship to becoming a finalist at the 16U national championships in Fargo, North Dakota, this summer.
Turner junior Arianna Ortiz earned state finalist honors in the 101-pound weight class, winning her way through the bracket with two falls and a major decision on Wednesday.
Ortiz faced Derby sophomore Amara Ehsa in Thursday’s final. Though Ortiz took control of the match early, Ehsa recovered and caught her momentarily off balance to make a pin and win the match.
Harmon freshman Kamahni Jackson earned sixth place in the 132-pound class. She won her first two matches Wednesday, pinning both opponents, but she lost in the semi-final to eventual champion Breanna Ridgeway of Great Bend.
Bonner Springs junior Jenna Knight won sixth place in the 120-pound class. She defeated Kaylynn Ottenschnieder of Spring Hill and Addison Otte of Hays in her first two rounds, but class winner Hannah Glynn of Blue Valley Southwest pinned her in the semi-final round.
The performances from Stean and Knight helped Bonner Springs place 15th in the team competition out of 58 schools at the tournament.