By Chris Parker & Zach Mason
Warsaw’s Kolby Estes has dreamed of a state championship his entire wrestling career. Each of the last two years that dream was six minutes from becoming a reality, but would remain just out of reach as he had to settle for back-to-back state runner-up finishes.
Standing one spot from the top of the podium is a feeling that has motivated Estes all season.
“Just remembering on how bad it felt falling short. I didn’t want that feeling ever again,” Estes said.
And he wrestled like someone who only wanted to experience one feeling. A state championship feeling.
Estes dominated Whitfield’s Matthew Schueddig 8-3 to win the Class 1 152-pound championship. As the clock hit zero, Estes pointed to his crowd, had his hand raised and then embraced his coach.
“It means the world. It’s been working for the past four years. I fell short the past two, so accomplishing this feels amazing,” Estes said. “He (coach Jared Steenburgen) said he’s proud of me. We’ve worked so hard for this and he’s fixed the things that I’ve done when I fell short the past few years and it’s emotional what we’ve gone through to become state champs.”
Estes finished the season with a 46-2 record.
Two matches later, Seneca’s Dayton Fields had his chance to go from runner-up to state champion at 170 pounds.
A quick start was going to go a long way in determining the outcome of the match.
“I knew I needed to keep scoring in the first period,” Fields said. “That was my plan throughout the whole bracket. It helped allow me to push the pace throughout the match.”
Fields scored a first period takedown of Lathrop’s Dorian Walters to finish the first period up 2-0. A reversal and takedown in the second period expanded his lead to 6-1 after two periods before another 4-1 advantage in the third period gave him a 10-2 win and state title.
“After all of the hard work I’ve put in over four years, all of the let downs, I finally have that championship and it feels great,” Fields said.
Teammate Levi Connelly also represented Seneca in the finals. He came up on the short end of a 2-0 sudden victory decision to finish runner-up a third consecutive season at 106 pounds.
Kendon Pollard (3rd at 113), Clayton Swadley (6th at 120), Dalton Hembree (5th at 145), Zane Cotton (3rd at 152) and Grant Durman (6th at 285) all placed for Seneca and helped the Indians to a second place finish as a team.