Harris is happy with wrestlers
With the just completed tough pre-Christmas slate of tournaments, etc., out the way, Baldwin High School wrestling coach Kit Harris likes what he's seeing from his team.
The Bulldogs got to see what big-time high school wrestling is all about at the Raytown South Christmas Tournament. The Dawgs held their own against the best competition Missouri has to offer from its upper classification teams.
"It was a beneficial experience for us," said Harris. "I was proud of the way our kids battled. We came away with some tough wins and these kids are starting to believe they can compete with anyone at any level and accomplish any goal they set their mind to and work for."
Junior Witt Hinton, who is ranked in the Kansas Class 4A polls, turned in the best performance for BHS with a third-place finish at 275 pounds. Hinton had a 7-1 record and won four matches by fall.
"Witt is wrestling great now," said Harris. "He's staying within the moves he needs to. He's wrestling real smart."
BHS's other placer was sophomore 112-pounder Nathan Deel, who was eighth with a 4-4 record. Deel recorded three falls. The only other winning record turned in by a Bulldog was Andy Breedlove's 4-3 mark at 215.
But, Harris thought all his wrestlers performed well.
"I don't think we ever got called for stalling and we were consistently attacking and scoring points," he said. "That is becoming our style of wrestling and it will take us a long way if we keep improving our techniques along with that attacking mentality."
He is also pleased with the development of the team to this point in the season.
"I don't think we ever got physically pushed around, but we were out-techniqued on numerous occasions," said Harris. "That happened mainly against the established big school programs that have very successful coaches, both on the scholastic and national levels. We can learn from that."
Prior to the Raytown South tourney, the Bulldogs had also faced off against Class 6A and 5A Kansas schools at the Leavenworth Challenger. While the Bulldogs may have taken a few lumps record wise, in the long run those experiences will pay off, he said.
"One thing these kids need to keep in mind is that you can't worry about your record when you compete against a tough schedule," said Harris. "We have some real tough wrestlers with quite a few losses, but that is okay. We are better off for it. But, all things considered, most of our kids came out of a tough pre-Christmas slate with decent records.
"We got a lot of mat time," he said, especially at the Raytown tourney. "Every match was tough. It gets the kids ready for what regionals and state is like."
But for now, the Bulldogs will set their sights on matches more close at hand. First up is a home dual Thursday against Wellsville. The match is set to start at 5 p.m. which is BHS league and home opener.
"We need a big crowd for our league and home opener," said Harris. "Wellsville is a tough team with some great wrestlers. They have holes in their lineup which makes it hard for them to win duals, but that is part of having a winning team. But each match we wrestle will be a tough one."
Next on the slate is Jan. 11 which is the second-annual "Pack the House Night" and the first-ever "Wrestling Bash." The dual meet against Burlington starts at 6:30 p.m. in the BHS gym. Prior to that, the "Bash" will be in the BHS cafeteria from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. For $20, an entire family can get all they can eat at the hog roast and also get into the dual.
"It should be a close dual. Burlington got us last year by one match. We're anxious to get back at them this year and we need all the help from the crowd we can get," he said. "They have some tough kids, so expect a lot of great matches."
The "Bash" is a cooperative effort between the BHS wrestlers, cheerleaders, pom pon squad and the Baldwin Kid Wrestling Club to raise funds to purchase a new wrestling mat.