SES athletes qualify for State Wrestling

When the mats roll up Saturday at the Gross-Memorial Coliseum at Fort Hays State University, SES may have a pair of medalists on the podium.

Both have already pinned opponents in the first round today and will wrestle again tomorrow. Matthew Rodriguez was ahead 8-2 when he pinned Hagen Taylor from Remington High School. 

Rodriguez’s next match will be against Derek Wallen from Wabaunsee who also won by pinning his opponent.

Sterling Harp’s round had barely begun when he dominated and pinned Will Madden from Maur Hill-Mount Academy.

Harp’s next match will be against Shadryon Blanka from St. Francis, who won his previous match by decision 10-2.

The two are leaders on Southeast’s eighth-ranked 3-2-1A Trojan team. 

Rodriguez is the number one ranked wrestler in the 160 weight class and has an impressive record of 35-1. 

“I’ve improved a lot since last year,” Rodriguez said. “There has been so much improvement for everybody on the team.” 

His improvement is coming at the right time.

For much of this season, he’s been ranked number two, but recently he knocked off the number one ranked wrestler Hagen Taylor of Remington High School to claim the top spot. 

He said he is confident he can do it again. 

“It was a good match, but I think I could’ve beat him by more points,” Rodriguez said. 

That number one ranking pleases him, but Rodriguez is not underestimating his competition. 

“My goal is to win state, (but) every match will be tough,” he said. 

Also looking to take home a medal at state is Sterling Harp. Harp finished the season as the number two ranked wrestler in 3-2-1A’s 195 weight class.

Harp is a seasoned wrestler, having made it to state as both a freshman and sophomore.

Something that both wrestlers share is a wrestling family. 

Many remember Matthew’s older brother Rudy as a wrestler who competed well at state numerous times in his high school career. 

Sterling’s father also serves as an SES coach, and his sister Peyton is the wrestling team manager.

Rodriguez and Harp will compete again tomorrow after lunch in the semifinals.