Grappler start off right
It didn't take long for the Baldwin High School wrestlers to benefit in the New Year from the tough pre-Christmas tournament schedule they put in.
The Bulldogs easily dispatched Wellsville 48-23 in a lopsided dual Thursday, then finished fifth in the Rossville Invitational Saturday. The pre-holiday schedule caused the Bulldogs to have lower records, but the Rossville tournament field paid for it.
"We did some great wrestling last week; we are getting better and better each competition," said coach Kit Harris. "At Rossville, we were seeded lower due to our tough schedule giving us a lot of losses, but we were knocking off seeded kids left and right.
"That tournament proved the benefit of wrestling a tough schedule," he said. "With an easy schedule, kids can get a false sense of being good and then have reality handed to them when they are up against tough competition."
Behind second-place finishes by a pair of freshmen, Derek Lang at 140 pounds and Kyle Flory at 160, the Bulldogs scored 92 points to finish fifth in the 10-team field. ACCHS-Effingham was first with 157 points, followed by Santa Fe Trail (148), Clay Center (142), Phillipsburg (106.5), Baldwin (92), Sabetha (86.5), Rossville (66), Hiawatha (20), Topeka Hayden (15) and St. Mary's (0).
"Our two freshmen (Lang and Flory) had great days," said Harris. "The thing I like most about those two kids is that they just wrestle. They don't get caught up in the goofy stuff the seeds, the records, rankings, who is supposed to be good and who isn't. They just have a mentality of 'show me the mat and let's wrestle.'"
Other top finishes by BHS included third-place showings by Nathan Deel at 112, Chris Hirschmann at 145 and Witt Hinton at 275. Adam Halford was fourth at 152. Matt Westgate at 119 and Andy Breedlove at 215 both finished fifth. Seth Halford at 171 and Jerrad Goodell at 189 took sixth.
It was good competition to get the New Year off right. The Wellsville dual wasn't much of an indicator the Rossville tourney was. Harris is excited.
"I like the competitiveness of our team," he said. "I would take them anywhere to wrestle anybody. That's how I feel about them. Because they compete and get after it, we have kids fighting off their backs like crazy and attacking and scoring points regardless of the match situation.
"If we lose a match, we're making the other guy go through heck to beat us and it won't be without a scrap," said Harris. "The kids are winners."
Against Wellsville, BHS won seven matches by forfeit. The only win was turned in by Hirschmann who pinned his opponent in 1:01. The victory improved the Bulldog's dual record to 2-1.
BHS will be back in action big time Thursday with a dual and more. The second-annual "Pack the House Night" and the first-ever "Wrestling Bash" are set for Thursday.
The "Bash" kicks the evening off with an all-you-can-eat pig roast beginning at 4:30 p.m. For $20, an entire family can get their fill in the BHS cafeteria, plus be admitted to the "Pack the House Night" dual against Burlington at 6:30 p.m.
The "Bash" is a fund-raising effort for a new wrestling mat. Along with the BHS wrestlers, the cheerleaders, pom pon squad and the Baldwin Kids Wrestling Club are involved.