Busy week for BHS wrestlers
By Jeff Myrick
Baldwin City Signal Editor
It was a big week of dual action for the Baldwin High School wrestling team and, when it was over, there were some lessons learned to go along with wins ... and losses.
The Bulldogs opened up with a pair of big Frontier League victories in dual action at Louisburg. BHS beat host Louisburg 51-24 and Gardner-Edgerton 52-13. That improved BHS's league record to 3-0.
Then it was off to the Washburn Rural Championship Duals on Saturday. There, the Bulldogs reeled off victories over Blue Valley North (65-9), Wamego (55-12) and Olathe East (53-18) to advance to the championship bracket. There, the victory string ended. First, it was a close 36-35 loss to host Washburn Rural in the first round. Then there was a 51-21 loss to Valley Center, which is ranked among the state's top Class 5A teams.
That left the Bulldogs with a third-place finish in the tournament and an overall record of 9-5.
"We had a good week for us. We were winning big in a lot of duals that could have been close," said coach Kit Harris, who started the Washburn Rural tourney seven years ago when he was there. "I think we got complacent and received a good reality check in the Rural dual.
"They are a very good team, much improved, but we had all kinds of things go wrong for us. We had a lot of mistakes and from many of our top guys," said Harris. "So, it was a good learning experience and, hopefully, will help us keep those things in mind as we chase a league title. We have some big duals coming up, especially against Spring Hill and paola. They should be real exciting."
As for finishes during the big week, senior Kyle Flory led the way with a 7-0 string, all by falls. Flory, who is the defending state champion at 171 pounds, now stands 22-3 on the year.
Four wrestlers had only one loss for the week. Junior Joe Bonner at 119, junior Steve Hamilton at 135, senior Derek Lang at 160 and senior Adam Canterbury at 275 all went 6-1. All of Canterbury's wins were by fall, Lang had five falls and Bonner four. Lang's season record is 26-2; Bonner is 20-7; Hamilton is 16-13; and Canterbury is 19-8.
Juniors Josh Kohn at 130, Andreas Brandenberger at 140 and Luke Halford at 189 all went 5-2. Kohn had three falls and Brandenberger and Halford both had two. Halford's record is 15-6, Brandenberger is 9-5 and Kohn is 12-15. Josiah Mason, a sophomore, also had a winning record at 4-3 for the week and now stands at 12-13 for the season.
Harris was also pleased with the performance of two young wrestlers during the action.
"We have had two freshmen, Michael Thurlow and Josh Wood, who have stepped into varsity and have been real tough," he said. "They are holding their own just fine and are gaining great experience."
It will be another busy week for the Bulldogs this week. Thursday, they will be at Anderson County for duals against Anderson County, Spring Hill and Gardner. Then, it's the third-annual Baldwin Invitational Tournament on Saturday.
Teams in this year's BIT field are Abilene (currently ranked No. 1 in Class 4A, defending state 4A champion and defending BIT champion), BHS, Council Grove, DeSoto, Lansing, Marysville, Mill Valley, Royal Valley, Santa Fe Trail, and Tonganoxie. Holton will also enter wrestlers to fill in brackets where necessary.
There are 22 wrestlers in the field who are currently ranked in their respective weight divisions and classes. Those include No. 1 ranked wrestlers in Abilene's Luke Geske (125), Abilene's Jake Kreigbaum (130), DeSoto's Neil Erisman (152), Abilene's Ross Taplin (160) and BHS's Flory. Kreigbaum, Taplin and Flory are defending state champions and Erisman was runner-up a year ago.
The tournament starts at 9 a.m. in the Baldwin Junior High School gym. Finals are scheduled for 4 p.m.