Bulldog wrestlers please packed house
Those who showed up for the annual "Pack the House Night" at the Baldwin High School gym Thursday were bound to be cheering for BHS wrestling, and the majority didn't leave disappointed as the hometown squad was victorious in its dual with Burlington by a hefty margin of 52-19.
Baldwin clearly dominated their fellow "BHS" foe, winning nine of the 13 matches, eight of which were by fall.
"Our team performed well and we had some guys really step up and give us some bonus points," junior Andreas Brandenberger said.
The Bulldogs opened with five consecutive pins from their lightweights. Freshman Michael Thurlow, sophomores Mark Jehle and Matt James, and juniors Joe Bonner and Josh Kohn's success had Baldwin up 35-0.
From there, Baldwin lost two matches in a row at the 140- and 145-pound weight class to two difficult opponents.
At the 140-pound match, Burlington's Nolan Strawder defeated Baldwin's Steve Hamilton by a count of 5-1. Last year Strawder defeated Hamilton by an 11-5 margin to qualify for state. Hamilton almost had his payback as he was up 1-0 with less than a minute remaining before Strawder issued five quick points to end the match.
"Steve almost got his revenge," coach Kit Harris said. "He almost had him beat, but Steve lost the position fight in the end."
After those two setbacks, BHS got rolling again as they received pins from sophomore Josiah Mason at 152 pounds, senior Derek Lang at 160 pounds, and a technical fall by senior Kyle Flory at 171 pounds. This brought the score to 52-7. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, it would be the last of their scoring.
Burlington reeled off a pin by a state qualifier at 189 pounds, and then two close decisions, 7-3 and 5-3, at 215 and 275 pounds to complete the dual.
The win improved Baldwin's dual record to 4-3. The three setbacks have come against state ranked teams in Kansas City Turner (No. 1 in Class 5A) Wichita Heights (No. 7 in 6A) and Emporia (No. 8 in 6A). The team remains at 1-0 in the Frontier League.
"I think our team has improved," Mason said. "We are strong across the board."
Harris echoed similar comments.
"This team has come along real well," he said. "We are having a fun year, and duals like these are our strong point."
Harris also said that BHS will face some tough competition in the upcoming weeks as the Bulldogs look to defend their league crown in duals.
They will next take to the mats at Louisburg against Louisburg and Gardner-Edgerton on Thursday.