Bulldogs set for state
Behind six state qualifiers -- led by Kyle Flory's 171-pound title -- the Baldwin High School wrestling team finished third in the Class 4A Regional meet at Santa Fe Trail Saturday.
Joining Flory at the state tournament will be Dan Hamilton (189) and Seth Halford (215) who both finished third; and Josh Kohn (119), Derek Lang (160) and Sam Coffey (275), who all finished third. Coach Kit Harris was pleased with those finishes, but was also happy with how the rest of the team did as well.
"It was exciting to have six qualifiers, but we also had three other sophomores who were just one match away," said Harris. "We had a lot of kids right in there fighting close. That is nice to see, especially with nine of our starters this year who are freshmen and sophomores. It is nice to see all five of our upperclassmen qualify, but it is also nice to see our youth show so much promise.
"We had a near-perfect tournament," he said of the team's finish. "We wrestled outstanding at the right time of the year. We have been trying to set a pattern the last few years of competing well late in the year. That is when I like to see us performing at our best. I was real happy with our team finish. We even got a revenge win over Anderson County who beat us at league."
Host Santa Fe Trail finished first with 181.5 points and qualified nine for state. Fort Scott was second at 176 points and eight qualifiers, followed by BHS at 119 and the six going to state. Other team scores were: Chapman, 108.5; Spring Hill, 92; Anderson County, 89.5; Prairie View, 89; Eudora, 85.5; Burlington, 75.5; Osawatomie, 65; DeSoto, 61.5; Council Grove, 45; Topeka Hayden, 41; Ottawa, 35; and Louisburg, 32.
It was the third straight year that the Bulldogs have finishing in the top four at regionals. During that time, 18 wrestlers have advanced to the state championships with at least fourth-place finishes.
Flory moved into second place on the all-time BHS win chart with his title. He passed Davey Kurtz as he improved his record to 104-28. Next up is Jay Harris, who had seven more wins before graduating in 1987. Flory's showing left his coach plenty impressed.
"He has always been a consistently tough competitor. You can always count on a solid performance from him," Harris said. "He dominated with two technical falls and two major decisions and his semi and final matches were against tough kids, too. The kid he beat in the finals was a state placer last year and is ranked fifth in the state."
Next up is state for those six BHS wrestlers. It begins at 8:40 a.m. Friday in the Kansas Coliseum in Wichita. First-round action is set for 9 a.m. and the day concludes with championship semifinals and first-round consolation at 6:30 p.m. The meet resumes at 9 a.m. Saturday and concludes with the finals at 6:30 p.m. Harris is looking forward to it.
"We have some tough draws from the western regional, but that is okay. Every round is tough at state," he said. "I think everybody we are taking has a chance of winning some matches and getting in there and fighting for a medal.
"Kyle has a real good chance of placing. We'll have to see how high," said Harris. "If he gets to the semifinals, he will likely run into the No. 1-ranked kids, Kyle Davis from Rose Hill. But we'll train hard this week and see what happens."
Tournament action can be followed online at www.kshsaa.org and www.holton.k12.ks.us/tech/kwca.