Shoemaker tops Baldwin wrestlers
TOPEKA -- Bryce Shoemaker made the most of his first-ever trip to the Kansas Kids State Wrestling Tournament. Shoemaker, in only his second year wrestling, capped off an exciting season by winning the state title in the 8-and-under, 55-pound bracket, winning all four of his matches.
Overall, Baldwin qualified 10 for the state tournament, with six of those placing.
The club had another finalist in Joe Bonner, who competed in the 16-and-under, 120-pound division. In the semifinals, Bonner was down 4-2, but a third-period throw and pin advanced Bonner to the finals. Bonner placed sixth last year.
The club's two third-place finishers were Kevin and Alan Callahan. K. Callahan, at 14-and-under, 120 pounds, wrestled his way into the semifinals, before losing 7-5 to a defending state champion on a last-second takedown. He rebounded for two wins and a third-place finish. K. Callahan has now placed sixth, fifth, fourth, third and second at state.
A. Callahan had never placed at state, and nearly made the finals, losing only a 10-7 decision in the semifinals. He bounced back to win two more matches for third place and his first-ever state plaque. He competed at 12-and-under, 96 pounds and ended the year with only three losses, all to the same wrestler.
Two other club members placed fourth. Jack Mitchell went 4-2 at 8-and-under, 58 pounds to place at state in his first time qualifying. Mitchell is only a second-year wrestler. Carson Wood also finished fourth at 12-and-under, 165 pounds. Wood has now placed sixth and fourth at state.
The four other Baldwin wrestlers were Josh Hansen (12-and-under, 84 pounds), Colin Busby (12-and-under, 115 pounds), Chase Abel (14-and-under, 150 pounds) and Zach Hertzel (16-and-under, 125 pounds).
Abel went 2-2 and finished one match from placing. Hertzel was 1-2 in his first trip to state. Hansen and Busby each went 0-2 in their first ever trip to state also.
The team was directed this season by first-year head coach Craig Mitchell. The assistant coaches were Dennis Callahan, John Hansen, Kelly Hockey and Dennis Shoemaker.
Nationals will be held on the campus of the University of Northern Iowa this upcoming weekend. Four Baldwin wrestlers have signed up for the event: A. Callahan, Hansen, Mitchell and Shoemaker.