Wrestlers win BIT debut
Thanks to a different scoring format, the first-ever Baldwin Invitational Wrestling Tournament here Saturday turned out to be interesting, as the home-town Baldwin High School Bulldogs held off the Tonganoxie Chieftains to claim the initial championship.
Unlike most tournaments, every wrestler was guaranteed five matches. That meant points were always up for grabs throughout the day-long event. In the end, Baldwin's depth proved too much for Tonganoxie as the Bulldogs scored 386 points to Tongie's 323.
"They were definitely right there on our tail," said BHS coach Kit Harris of the Chieftain's efforts. "With the scoring format we used for the tournament, you could score points quickly.
"We won five of our nine final's matches, which helped us," said Harris. "One was by a pin and that really helped out, too."
Other team scores behind BHS and Tonganoxie were: Royal Valley and Kansas City Sumner tied for third with 311 points; Marysville, fourth (261); Council Grove, fifth (207); Olathe North, sixth (204); Mill Valley, seventh (199); Kansas City Ward, eighth (174); Lansing, ninth (139); and Immaculata, 10th (0).
The tournament turned into a dual between Baldwin and Tonganoxie, which showcased two similar programs. Both had been down for years, but under new coaches have improved over the last four years.
"Tonganoxie's program is similar to ours," said Harris. "Their coach, Bill DeWitt, has brought that program up in the last few years like ours. They've greatly improved."
In the end, it turned out to be Baldwin's depth that made the difference. The Bulldogs scored points in every weight class, while the Chieftains had several open weights.
Baldwin had three individual champions, Joe Bonner at 103 pounds, Derek Lang (140) and Witt Hinton (275). Tonganoxie had titles with Ross Starcher (112) and Steve Adcox (145). Other champions were: Michael Tollefson, Royal Valley (119); Bud Terry, Royal Valley (125); Dustin Carson, Council Grove (130); Steve Goodman, Royal Valley (135); Christian Osuna, Kansas City Sumner (152); Troy Medill, Lansing (160); Vince Demarest, Lansing (171); Joe Douglas, Royal Valley (189); and Josh Carroll, Olathe North (215).
Carroll was named the tournament's outstanding wrestler.
"Josh Carroll is ranked in most national polls," said Harris. "He's also a draftable catcher and a real good football player. He's a tremendous athlete."
Finishing second were: Tonganoxie's Andy Koontz (103) and Josh Ferris (125); Baldwin's Wayne Sage (119), Adam Halford (160), Kyle Flory (171) and Dan Hamilton (215); Mill Valley's Eric Pingleton (189); John Sisson, Bishop Ward (112); Andy Foster, Kansas City Sumner (130); Mark Williams, Kansas City Sumner (135); Mike Bussman, Marysville (140); Russ Fitzgerald, Marysville (145); Dominic Cantu, Bishop Ward (152); and Ryan Friedrichs, Marysville (275).
Finishing third were: Mill Valley's Aaron Gladfelder (103); Baldwin's Luke Halford (145) and Chris Hirschmann (152); Tonganoxie's James Hartshorn (215); Bret Yates, Marysville (112); Matt Matheson, Olathe North (119); Brett Wright, Council Grove (125); James Preuss, Marysville (130); Mark Hartsock (135); Marco Leal, Kansas City Sumner (140); Stacey Lee, Council Grove (160); Daniel Brakenhoff, Council Grove (171); Chris Glenn, Bishop Ward (189); and Rhett Caviel, Kansas City Sumner (275).
Other Baldwin finishers were: Josh Kohn, seventh (112); Nathan Deel, sixth (125); Steve Hamilton, fifth (130); Matt Gammon, fifth (135); and Seth Halford, eighth (189).
Harris was pleased with how the tournament went in its first year. Some teams entered either didn't have a tournament over the weekend or canceled to participate in the first-ever event.
"I think it went tremendously well, considering it was our first year," he said. "We feel it will be even better next year. It was a good turnout.
"We had a great group of wrestling parents and families step and help put the tournament on," said Harris. "I don't know of any other sport that takes as much work to put on a tournament. We just wanted to showcase the sport to the community and I think we did that."