Seven wrestlers qualify for kids state
OTTAWA -- Seven out of the 11 Baldwin youth wrestlers continued their post-season run by placing in the top four at the District One Championships at Ottawa High School Saturday and qualified for this weekend's Kids State Championships to be held at the Topeka Expocenter on Saturday and Sunday, March 29-30.
Baldwin had three champions and two runner-up finishers, and added two third-placer. The seven state qualifiers is one short of the club record of eight set just last year.
"This has been one of the hardest working groups we have had," said head coach Tracy Potter. "They have worked hard all year and get better and better each week. Even the ones who didn't place wrestled real hard and came close."
The three gold medals were won by Kevin Callahan (14-and-under/115 pounds), Chase Abel (14-and-under, 155) and Mark Jehle (16-and-under, 100). Callahan has only two losses on the season which came at the hands of a state champion from Wichita and to a national champion from Missouri. Abel is a defending state champion, while Callahan was fourth last year in the 12-and-under division. Both wrestlers have moved up an age division this season. Jehle, the Baldwin High School starting 103-pounder this season, placed second at Sub-Districts but rebounded to take first at Districts. It is his first trip to state for Jehle, a third-year wrestler.
Two others wrestled their way into the finals before being beaten. Colton Bonner (12-and-under, 95) and Alan Callahan (12-and-under, 92) each won silver medals and qualified for state.
The two other Baldwin state qualifiers were Carson Wood (12-and-under, 150) and Joe Bonner (14-and-under, 120). Each came away with a bronze medal third-place finish. Wood has now qualified for state twice in two years, and he placed sixth last year. Bonner has qualified for state for past two years and qualified for high school state as a freshman for BHS. He was the Bulldog starting 112-pounder this past season.
Five other Baldwin wrestlers competed in district competition. First-year wrestler Bryce Shoemaker (8-and-under, 55) and Jordan Miller (14-and-under, 95) each went 1-2 and missed state by one match. Jeremy Wood (10-and-under, 70), Colin Busby (12-and-under, 105), and Josh Wood (14-and-under, 160).
Last year, Baldwin had five state placers: Chase Abel (first), Luke Halford (second), Kevin Callahan (fourth), Ethan Hebenstriet (fifth), and Carson Wood (sixth). Paul Halford was also one match from placing. It was a record for the most placers in one season for the club.
The USA Wrestling Kids National Folkstyle Tournament will also be at the Topeka Expocenter on April 5-6. Kevin Callahan has placed first and sixth at this tournament the past two years.