Shutout, ‘surprise’ for BHS wrestlers
The Baldwin High School Bulldog wrestlers have conquered feats of immense difficulty within the past two weeks. Pride and perseverance occupy the minds and hearts of the wrestlers and their leaders as they shall continue on their streak of victory.
On Thursday, the team defeated two league opponents with ease. Against Gardner, all 13 matches were taken by Baldwin, resulting in a score of 72-0. They continued by defeating Louisburg by a 54-21 score to hold an undefeated league record of 3-0. The team is 7-4 over all.
"Shutting out Gardner was a pretty incredible accomplishment," said coach Kit Harris. "That is hard to do in wrestling. Peru (Radnaabazar) had a big win in that dual. All the kids wrestled hard."
Saturday the group got a feel for "big-time" competition at the Washburn Rural Championship Duals in Topeka, a tournament that was started by Harris when he was coach at WRHS. The competition is in its fourth year and each year has featured between five and nine state-ranked teams and this year had two nationally ranked teams.
The Bulldogs finished sixth out of 12 teams and proved to be the "surprise of the tournament" according to the Tournament Director. The Bulldogs fell short to nationally ranked Cuyahoga Valley Christian Academy in Ohio 55-21, Jefferson City Helias in Missouri 51-18 and Class 5A state-ranked Kapaun Mt. Carmel in Wichita 49-30. They posted exciting victories over previously third-ranked in 4A Columbus by a 36-35 score and also defeated a top 6A school in Olathe East in a 32-30 dual.
"We wrestled great. I just get more and more proud of these kids as the season progresses. We are competing with some of the top teams in the nation and state and holding our own. Our team balance showed in our wins over Columbus and Olathe East. Those are two very good teams we beat," Harris said.
The top records of the day were turned in by senior Andy Breedlove with a 4-1 record and two falls; freshman Derek Lang was 3-2 with three falls; freshman Kyle Flory went 3-2 with two falls; and junior Witt Hinton had a 3-2 record with two falls.
"It was awesome, man," Breedlove said. "Nobody thought we'd do anything, but we came out sixth, beating Columbus, who was ranked third in class 4A. That's a great accomplishment."
The final tournament placings were: first, CVCA-Ohio (ranked 40th nationally); second, Helias, Mo. (nationally ranked); third, Chanute (ranked sixth in 4A); fourth, Valley Center (ranked eighth in 5A); fifth, Kapaun-Mt. Carmel (ranked fifth in 5A); sixth, Baldwin; seventh, Columbus (ranked seventh in 4A); eighth, Blue Valley North (ranked fifth in 6A); ninth, Santa Fe Trail (ranked 9th in 4A); 10th, Olathe East; 11th, Shawnee Mission West; 12th, Washburn Rural.
"Just beating these teams will not make us ranked, however," Harris said. "Rankings are based on tournament success and not dual success."
The team faces their next challenge with a dual against Anderson County and Spring Hill on Thursday at 5 p.m. at Gardner-Edgerton High School. Five of the team's next duals are against teams who are or have been ranked in the state poll (Anderson County, Spring Hill, Eudora, Osawatomie and Paola.) On Saturday, the team will compete in the Atchison Invitational.
"We will go and compete hard and let the chips fall where they may. We will walk out of that gym with heads high, proud of our performance," Harris said. "These kids are winners."