Winter pins BHS grapplers
The weather wasn't any kinder to the Baldwin High School wrestling team than it was to their basketball playing brethren. Snow, ice and cold wiped out the scheduled Ray South Invitational Friday and Saturday, too.
The tournament has been rescheduled for Thursday and Friday. BHS coach Kit Harris is hoping his squad will actually be able to take the mat this time, instead of getting within 20 minutes of the school before the radio call came that the tourney had been postponed.
"We are just about at Raytown South High School when we received the call canceling the tournament," said Harris. "That was kind of disappointing. We were all down to weight and had our game faces on. But that is okay. Better safe than sorry.
"I am glad we get to still have the competition this week," he said. "It is a tremendous opportunity for us to compete in this premier event. The only disadvantage is we won't get to square off with Perry (Okla.), the No. 12 ranked team in the nation. That would have been a great experience."
Perry won't be able to make the return engagement and neither will Francis Howell High School from St. Louis, which is the No. 2 ranked school in Missouri's big class division.
BHS will be ready this time around, too.
"We had a real high-spirited workout Monday and we are looking better and better each day," said Harris. "I like where this group is headed and I love their 'bring it on' mentality when I throw hard drills at them during practice."
Also like their basketball counterparts, the Bulldog wrestlers had ranking news this week although it's individual, not as a team. Junior 275-pounder Witt Hinton is ranked No. 5 in the Class 4A poll this week, his first appearance.
"It is nice for Witt to see that he is gaining respect from coaches around the area, but rankings don't mean much," he said. "Kids get a kick out of seeing their names in there, but what really matters is who is there at the end of the season."
Hinton isn't the first BHS wrestler to be ranked this season, either.
"Kyle Flory was ranked No. 6 at 160 pounds for one ranking, but now is not ranked," said Harris. "This happens a lot in wrestling at this time of year because many kids especially the good ones are changing weight classes and dropping down a weight, etc.
"Kyle is certainly one of the better freshmen I have had, and so is Derek Lang," he said. "We have two tough freshmen in our lineup. They both have the potential to be real successful for years. But, again, rankings are not worth putting much stock into. All it really is is a hit list. But it is nice to see these young men get some nominations from coaches. Actually, there have been five Baldwin wrestlers receive ranking nominations from opposing coaches so far. Last year we only had one Luke Lang."
Also on the BHS wrestling radar is the "Wrestling Bash," a fund-raising event to help pay for a new wrestling mat and the second-annual "Pack the House Night." Both are set for Jan. 11 at BHS.
The "Wrestling Bash" is a combined effort of the wrestling team, cheerleaders, pom pon squad and the Baldwin City Kids Wrestling Club to raise $3,000 towards the purchase of a new mat. The school district has agreed to pay the other half of the cost.
The "Bash," a hog roast dinner, will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and it will be followed by the "Pack the House Night" at 6:30 p.m. with BHS against Burlington.
"For $20, you can buy a ticket to support this event," Harris said. "It will admit your entire immediate family into the 'Bash' dinner, as well as the wrestling dual. It should be an exciting dual as Burlington barely defeated the Bulldogs last year by one match. You can help the Bulldogs get revenge this year by attending the meet and making some loud noise in support of your hometown grapplers."
The pom squad will also be performing a feature during the event. Tickets are available in advance from any wrestler, cheerleader, pommer or Harris. Tickets will also be available at the door. Donations towards the purchase of the mat are also being accepted.