BHS wrestlers throw rare shutout
It was a "perfect" night for the Baldwin High School Bulldog wrestlers at the third-annual "Pack the House" dual against Holton and Perry-Lecompton Thursday.
Not only did the Bulldogs get revenge for a loss to Holton last year, they also accomplished a very rare feat in the sport of wrestling. They earned a "perfect score" against Perry-Lecompton by scoring the maximum amount of points possible in the 84-0 shutout. BHS scored eight falls and six forfeits in the dual.
"I have never seen that done before," said third-year coach Kit Harris. "It was fun and all, but I want to keep things in perspective. It was just one dual. I don't want to take away from it because the kids wrestled great, but there are more things I want to shoot for later in the year."
Not only did the Bulldogs get revenge against Holton, they did so with domination. They won 62-6, losing only two overtime matches. On the evening, Baldwin was 26-2 in all matches.
"Holton scored 41 on us last year and Perry-Lecompton scored 24," Harris said. "That shows how much we have improved over the course of one off-season. Their kids weren't at all the off-season competitions our kids were at this past summer.
"We have established ourselves as a good area team, but we are now working towards trying to make a name for ourselves at the state level," Harris said. "That is not easy, 4A is very tough, but we take on any and every challenge. We may win, we may not. I don't care as long as we put forth a competitive attitude. I want us to simply wrestle and act like winners and I am one very happy coach."
The event began at 5:30 p.m. with a wonderful vocal performance of the national anthem by sophomore Lindsay Gastelum. It continued with pin after pin for the Bulldogs. Undefeated BHS wrestlers on the evening were Joe Bonner, Josh Kohn, Wayne Sage, Nathan Deel, Steve Hamilton, Matt Gammon, Derek Lang, Chris Hirschmann, Adam Halford, Kyle Flory, Dan Hamilton and Witt Hinton. Winning one match were Travis Barnes and Seth Halford.
Highlights, according to Harris, were Bonner's nine-second pin, Deel's hard-earned fall after bumping up a weight class and Hinton's nice bodylock throw against Holton.
"Out of all the duals I've been in I've never seen a perfect dual score," said Hinton, whose name is on two school records. "Last year we had a close dual with Holton, but this year we hammered Holton and Perry-Lecompton. They were good teams, but all the off-season work we put in set us apart from them. It was incredible to see all the people in the stands that came to support us even though there was also a basketball game that night."
"We looked good, but not great. We still need to sharpen some things up," coach Harris said.
"I thought the whole team wrestled real well. I was impressed with much of the team, especially with the younger guys. Being my first year, it was really exciting," junior Dan Hamilton said.
"It was fun to wrestle in front of all the cheering fans. It was an exciting atmosphere," Harris added.
The Bulldogs next meet is Dec. 21-22 in the Raytown South (Mo.) Christmas Invitational. That tournament is ranked by WRESTLING USA magazine as one of the toughest high school competitions in the country. It usually has several nationally-ranked teams such as Platte County, Blue Springs, and Jefferson City-Helias (from Missouri) and Perry (Oklahoma).
"We go there to get a lot of tough matches. It helps us improve and see where we are," Harris said. "Teamwise it will be tough to finish high because every other school there is a big school, but I think we can hold our own. We aren't afraid of anybody, they may beat us, we may beat them, but we will sure give them one heck of a scrap."