The four Wellington High School wrestlers who advanced to state during the regional tournament held at WHS last weekend have been working toward this moment since they were in sixth or seventh grades.
The wrestlers are: Brennan Cantrell at 113 pounds, Kanden Young at 195 pounds, Kanden Young at 195 pounds, Kenny Fehrman at 220 pounds and Hagen Wright at 285 pounds.
They will take part in the 4A state wrestling tournament to be held Friday and Saturday in the Tony's Pizza Events Center in Salina.
Cantrell, a senior, is entering the state tournament with a 14-9 record. Young, a senior, has a 40-1 record. Fehrman, a junior, has a 37-3 record and Wright, a sophomore has an 11-3 record.
Making it to state is "honestly everything I’ve worked for since sixth grade," Cantrell said. "Even though I didn’t make it to state my last two years I kind of brought everything together, worked my butt off and finally made it.
Young described going to state as "the greatest feeling in the world. Now I get to go out and use everything I've learned in the past couple of years and see if I can’t get a state medal. I wanna get my name up on the middle school wall" where the names of Wellington state wrestling champions go.
Cantrell, a senior, is going to state for the first time.
""It was tough the first couple of years," Cantrell said "But I finally got motivated and dedicated to making state as my goal and I finally just put the hard work in and made it happen."
In past years "I think I lacked the mental motivation that it took to qualify for state and I finally just kicked it into gear this year," he said.
Wright was out with an injury during the first of the season and didn't get to wrestle until January.
"I love the sport," he said. "Like Brennan said, it’s a mental game and I kind of lost it for a while, but we got it back. I’m happy to be going to state"
Young said going to wrestling camps off season has "really helped out and I realized that I had to wrestle out of season to better myself."
Cantrell said he started wrestling in sixth grade after missing tryouts for basketball.
"My mom was like why don’t you give wrestling a try and I thought, why not? Something new," he said. "And i just fell in love with it. I didn’t really know what I was doing at first but i loved the feeling of winning after putting in all that hard work in the practice room."
The wrestlers agreed that the coach yelling at the team during practice is a good motivator.
"That’s what coach is there for, to push you, yell at you, If he doesn’t yell, he’s not getting his point across.," Wright said.
Young credited his coaches with "teaching me everything, keeping me going. Even when it’s hard, they’re there to pick me up."
And the wrestlers are there to lift their teammates up.
"We’re gonna stand right by each other right on the mat," Wright said.