Five grapplers take state gold
Baldwin High School was the site of the top wrestling action in the state this past weekend as BHS hosted the 2002 Kansas State Freestyle/Greco-Roman Tournament.
"It was a lot of work but it is worth it. It is the state's premier event for the freestyle/greco circuit and I like to bring it to the area because traditionally it is held out west," said BHS coach Kit Harris, who ran the tournament along with the help of older brother Jay and assistant coach Bobby Bovaird. "Once again we had a lot of help from many Baldwin wrestling families and from area schools as well such as Santa Fe Trail. The help from Baldwin parents, managers, and wrestlers was tremendous. We would not have been able to host the event without their support."
The five Baldwin gold medals were won by Kevin Callahan, double champion Schoolboy 110 pounds; Gabe Mason, double champion schoolboy 120 pounds; and Sam Coffey, greco champion at junior 275-pounds.
Winning silver medals were Sam Hinton, cadet freestyle 125-pounds, and Nathan Deel junior freestyle 130 pounds. Bronze medalists were Alan Callahan, novice freestyle 85 pounds, and Seth Halford, junior greco 215 pounds.
Baldwin also had several fourth-places finishers who missed a medal by one place. They were A. Callahan in greco, Joe Bonner in greco, Hinton in freestyle, Halford in freestyle and Deel in greco.
By placing in the top three in the cadet or junior divisions, Hinton, Halford, Coffey and Deel have guaranteed themselves a spot on Team Kansas for the national tournament in Fargo, North Dakota, in July. Also signed up to attend the national tournament as spots become available are Bonner, Josiah Mason, Luke Halford and Adam Halford. Mason and the Halford brothers all could not compete at state due to injuries.
K. Callahan will next be participating in a Team Kansas training camp this week and will travel to Dallas to compete in the Southern Plains Regional Championships. This tournament features the top youth wrestlers from Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. This tournament is a preliminary qualifier for the Kids National tournament which will be held in Enid, Oklahoma.
There were 234 freestyle entries, 161 greco-roman entries.
This was the second time in the last three years Baldwin has hosted this event.
Freestyle and Greco-Roman are the styles of wrestling used in all international wrestling competitions, including the Olympic and World Championships. The United State is the only country that uses "folkstyle," which is the style used in high school and collegiate competition in the winter.
Coach Kit Harris worked the Quest for Gold Wrestling Camp Sunday through Tuesday at Washburn Rural High School in Topeka, a camp that will feature Olympic gold medalist Rulon Gardner, who stunned the wrestling world in Sydney when he defeated one of the most dominant Olympic athletes ever, Russia's Alexander Karelin, for the gold medal. Karelin had not lost or been scored on since 1989 when Gardner beat him 1-0 in overtime in the gold-medal match. Harris will be taking several Baldwin wrestlers to the camp as well.
The five gold medals were the most a Baldwin contingent has ever won in the State FS/GR Tourney. No club had more wrestlers entered in the state tournament than Baldwin (8).
Harris was also elected Cadet Director at the USAW-Kansas
elections meeting. Harris and Neosho County Assistant coach Richard Fergola will serve as co-directors for the Team Kansas cadet team, which competes in the Cadet Nationals in Fargo, ND, and the Cadet Duals in Greeley, Colo.