Wrestlers earn trip to nationals
North Dakota is normally not thought of as a summer vacation hotspot, but more than 200 wrestlers traveled to Baldwin City this weekend to earn a trip to Fargo, North Dakota, the site of the Freestyle and Greco Roman Wrestling National Tournament.
Seven Baldwin athletes competed in the two-day tournament earning eight wins, one gold, three silver and three bronze medals.
"The kids did great," said coach Kit Harris. "They are all first-year Freestyle and Greco wrestlers and they wrestled tough against a lot of experienced kids and some All-Americans."
To qualify for nationals an athlete must place in the top three of their weight class at the state tournament. A wrestler can also receive an invitation to compete for a spot at nationals by placing fourth. They can qualify in both the Freestyle and Greco Roman styles. The difference between the two styles is that all Greco Roman takedowns must be executed with the arms, while freestyle wrestlers can also utilize their legs.
During the Greco Roman competition on Friday, three Baldwin wrestlers qualified for nationals. Andy Breedlove finished first in his weight division, Nathan Deel second and Witt Hinton finished third. Joe Brown earned an invitation to wrestle for a national spot with a fourth-place finish. Adam Halford led the team with two victories and placed ????
"It will be a good experience to compete at nationals," said Hinton. "This is only my second year of wrestling and the experience will help me improve."
On Saturday Breedlove and Kevin Callahan were Baldwin's highest finishers in the freestyle competition, placing second. Although too young to compete in Fargo, Callahan qualified for a trip to Kids Nationals in Iowa with his performance. Deel placed second and Seth Halford had two victories on the way to a fourth-place finish.
"Seth, Adam and Joe had more wrestlers in their bracket because of their weight," said Harris. "They may not of placed as high as some of the others, but they had to wrestle more to earn their places."
Harris put in a bid to host the meet in Baldwin early in January and was pleased to be able to host such a large event.
"It was a great honor to be able to bring this event to Baldwin. Numerous people and businesses in the community gave us great support. We couldn't have done it without them. We appreciate their help very much," he said.
Those who qualified for the national meet will attend training camp at Neosho County Community College from July 16-22 and then travel to compete in Fargo from July 22-29.
Last year Kansas placed fifth out of 46 states in the Freestyle division.