BHS wrestlers log top league finishes
It was a monster week for the Baldwin High School Bulldog wrestling team. After tying for their first Frontier League dual crown since 1976 on Thursday, the Bulldogs turned around with a third-place finish in the league tournament on Saturday.
The dual title is still a matter left to athletic directors. But BHS went 1-1 in duals against Eudora and Paola Thursday to end the season with an 8-1 record, the same as Paola, although the Panthers did beat the Bulldogs head-to-head Thursday.
But, there can be no doubt about Saturday's results. BHS was third at league with 114 points. Paola had 153 points and Anderson County was second with 124. Spring Hill was a distant third with 103 points.
While those league marks may be good, coach Kit Harris likes what the finishes say about where the team is now heading into what really counts -- regionals and state.
"I was very pleased with our team effort," said Harris. "We looked sharp and are hitting the right techniques and are in real good shape for this time of year. I feel good about things heading into regionals and state."
BHS will be in the Santa Fe Trail regional beginning Friday (see story, page B-3). After that, it's the state meet in Wichita beginning Feb. 28.
There are numerous wrestlers who stand a chance at advancing through to state. But Saturday's champions and runners-up look the best positioned. BHS had two league champs, 171-pounder Kyle Flory and 160-pounder Derek Lang. Mark Jehle was second at 103 pounds.
Flory's victory was especially sweet coming against Paola's Nate Payne, who has a long wrestling pedigree. Payne was state runner up as a freshman and won the Class 5A championship last year as a sophomore. He was also fifth place and an all-American at the FILA Cadet World Team Trials in freestyle last summer. But, Flory worked him with a near fall Saturday late in the match to claim a 6-5 win.
"Kyle's win over Payne was huge," said Harris. "Kyle just never quits. He keeps on keepin' on, and when you do that, then you allow for big things to happen."
Flory kept the victory in perspective.
"It was a nice win," Flory said. "I wasn't really thinking, I was just wrestling hard. I just never quit going. He's good."
Flory had another big step with the victory -- he moved into a tie for third place in all-time wins at BHS. He tied his coach with 100 victories. Harris' last victory came in 1991. Flory is now only two wins away from second (Davey Kurtz, 1993) and 11 wins away from first place (Jay Harris, 1987). He is most likely to pass Kurtz this year and J. Harris next year.
Lang topped Paola's Jimmy Stewart 3-2 to win the 160-pound title.
"Derek wrestled well," said Harris. "He is getting to the legs real well and is scoring his mat points like he always has."
Also scoring points for the Bulldogs with fourth-place finishes were Joe Bonner at 112 pounds, Steve Hamilton at 135, Dan Hamilton at 189 and Same Coffey at 275. The rest of the squad also wrestled competitively and came up with valuable experience.
"Our young guys continue to develop real nicely," said Harris. "I sure like that group of freshmen and sophomores. We have nine starters that are freshmen or sophomores. Things look good for us down the road, especially with some tough junior high-aged wrestlers coming up."