Bulldog wrestlers prepare for nationals
Six Baldwin High School wrestlers will depart Sunday for training camp to compete on the Kansas National Greco-Roman/Freestyle Wrestling team. After a week of training camp, July 16-21, Team Kansas will take part in the Cadet/Junior National Championships, July 22-29.
The six Bulldogs on the team are: Andy Breedlove, senior; Adam Halford and Witt Hinton, juniors; Nathan Deel, Seth Halford, Joe Brown, sophomores. BHS coaches Kit Harris and Bobby Bovaird are assistant coaches for the Kansas team. Two other Bulldog wrestlers, juniors Matt Gammon and Chris Hirschmann, will attend the training camp as well.
The training camp will be held on the campus of the defending NJCAA National Champion wrestling team, Neosho County Community College, in Chanute. Bulldog two-time state placer Luke Lang has signed to wrestle for NCCC next season.
The National tournament is held on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota.
"This is probably the most prestigious national-level competition for high-school aged wrestlers," Harris said. "To compete in the event is a great honor and a lot of fun. The competition is very tough, these results are a foundation for most NCAA Division I recruiting. The Baldwin kids will certainly benefit from the experience. It will likely be one of the more memorable experiences of their high school years."
"I'm looking forward to being a part of one of the greatest wrestling tournaments in the nation," said Joe Brown.
"I'm hoping that with this experience, my wrestling skills will be able to go up to the next level," said Adam Halford.
Each bracket has anywhere from 50-200 competitors. The top eight are crowned All-Americans. Many benefits come with placing. The All-Americans and their coaches are automatically invited to attend one week's worth of training free of charge at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Also, many college scholarships are earned by success at this tournament.
The tournament is the largest wrestling tournament in the world. Twenty-three mats are used for the competition in the FargoDome, the indoor football facility of North Dakota State University. There are teams from 48 states that compete. Last year, Team Kansas placed fifth in the nation in the freestyle team scoring.
Only one BHS wrestler has ever previously competed in the event. Jay Harris, who was an undefeated Class 4A State champion in 1987, wrestled for Team Kansas in 1986. Jay Harris, the older brother of BHS Head Coach Kit Harris, went on to be a collegiate Academic All-American and is currently an assistant principal at Raymore-Peculiar High School.
"Again, these kids and I extend our sincere appreciation to all the sponsors and supporters who have helped us earn the funds necessary to make the trip," Kit Harris said.