Mason, Callahan undefeated in Dallas
Dallas Two Baldwin youth wrestlers went a combined 10-0 and won four gold medals at the Southern Plains Freestyle/Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships on June 7-9 in Dallas. Kevin Callahan, competing at 105 pounds, and Gabe Mason, competing at 112 pounds, dominated their divisions by winning all 10 of their matches by fall or technical fall.
The wrestlers were surprised at their success, as it was their first year competing in freestyle and greco-roman competitions.
"I didn't expect to do this well because it was my first year here," said Mason, who placed third at the Kansas Kids State tournament in March and missed All-American status at Nationals by one match. "I feel I improved this week because of all the moves I learned from the coaches and the hard practices. I was coached by the best."
Mason and Callahan first participated in a training camp in McPherson in preparation for the camp. The camp coaching staff included 12 of the top high school and collegiate coaches around the state. Three coaches were current NCAA Division I wrestlers who were all four-time state high school champions in Kansas. Dusty Spaulding (Emporia HS and University of Nebraska), Billy Gabel (St. Francis HS and Oklahoma State University) and Bo Maynes (Salina South HS and University of Oklahoma), were on the coaching staff as well as Baldwin High School head coach Kit Harris. Maynes was not only a four-time state champion, but he also was undefeated and never taken down in those four years and he won a junior national championship in Fargo in freestyle.
"It was a great privilege to be able to experience working with those high level wrestlers as coaches," Callahan said. "They made things fun and serious at the same time."
"I thought I was going to have a tougher time hitting my techniques, but I trained hard and wrestled older and tougher competition in practice each day during the camp and that helped me," Callahan said. "This experience opened my eyes to all wrestling has to offer. I made some great friendships and had a great time."
Mason had a 10-0 win over Ramon Marquez (New Mexico) and a fall over Wesley Kirby (Oklahoma) in greco-roman for first place. He then defeated Jacob Archuletta (Colorado), Kirby, and Marquez in freestyle for his second gold medal.
Callahan started with a 12-2 win over Cory Parker (Texas) and a fall over Roman Padilla (Colorado) to win the greco-roman title. He then defeated Parker, Padilla, and Cody Chamblin (Oklahoma) to win first in freestyle.
Callahan is continuing training for a trip to Fresno, Calif., for the freestyle and greco-roman national tournament in July. Having already won a folkstyle national title, Callahan has a chance to win the "Triple Crown" which goes to any wrestler who can win all three styles at the national tournament in one year. Only a handful of wrestlers win the honor each year.
Other Baldwin wrestling notes:
A contingent of seven Baldwin wrestlers made the trek to the Kansas State Freestyle/Greco-Roman Wrestling Championships last weekend and came home with the most hardware ever won by a group of Baldwin wrestlers at this yearly event. Callahan was a double champion as he won golds in both freestyle and greco-roman. Four silver medals were won by Mason, Seth Halford and Witt Hinton. Bronze medals were won by Mason and Adam Halford. Competing but not placing was Nathan Deel and Luke Halford.
Seth Halford, Deel and Charles Barnes will wrestle for Team Kansas in the Cadet National Duals in Denver June 13-17. Also representing Team Kansas will be Deel, Hinton, Luke Halford, Andy Breedlove and Kyle Flory at the National Tournament in Fargo, N.D., in July.