SALINA — It was a lost year in 2013 for Smoky Valley’s Austin Cook as he was forced to sit out the wrestling season because of a concussion.
But did he ever make up for lost time.
Cook on Saturday became the second straight Viking to win the 170-pound weight division in the Class 4A State Tournament at the Bicentennial Center, following in the footsteps of Trevor Whittaker, now a standout at Bethany College.
Cook finished off a 44-0 season by defeating Atchison’s previously undefeated Tyler Harris 8-4 in the finals after trailing 4-3 after a period.
“We are really proud of Austin,” Smoky Valley coach Ben Elliott said. “He had a great season after having to sit a year out due to injury. He competed hard, wrestled smart and did a lot in the offseason to prepare.”
Behind Cook, the Vikings secured their first-ever team plaque in the nine-year history of the program as they took third with 72 points, trailing only Holton (114) and Chanute (76).
The Vikings’ Spencer Bird and Brix Brickey took third at 182 and 285 pounds, respectively. Bird won his third-place match 2-1 and Brickey won by a fall. Brandon Archuleta, at 132, missed medaling by one match at 132, while SV’s Caleb Sare contributed to the team’s point total with a consolation victory before being eliminated.
“The effort of all of the boys was outstanding,” Elliott said. “Spencer Bird and Brix Brickey both came back after losing a tough semi matches to place third. Brandon Archuleta was one match out of the medals and Caleb Sare picked up a win at the tournament to help with third-place team finish. Overall their effort was great. We are tremendously proud of them.”