BHS wrestlers finish fifth at BIT
The Baldwin High School Invitational Wrestling Tournament drew a large crowd Saturday to watch many national and state ranked high school wrestlers.
The Baldwin High team, with 161 points, walked away with a fifth-place finish after passing Royal Valley, 151 points, late in the day.
"I feel that everybody wrestled tough with the competition," freshman Kevin Callahan said. "We just went out there and did our best, and it turned out pretty good."
Coach Kit Harris thought the team performed well and will learn from what they did wrong.
"We competed really well," Harris said. "We were out techniqued in some matches, but it was a good experience for us, because we got to see great wrestlers and experience great competition. You always learn about your deficiencies when you do that."
Oak Park, Kansas City, Mo., won the meet with 333 points and six first-place wrestlers. Abilene, 254 points, edged out Santa Fe Trail, 248.5 points, for second place. Lansing took fourth with 227 points.
This year's tournament featured three national champions, seven All-Americans, six state champions, 19 state placers and the nation's No. 1 ranked wrestler in the 135-pound weight class, Zack Bailey from Oak Park.
"Every bracket had a good number of state qualifiers, state placers and even guys that have had national success," Harris said. "It was great to watch them and wrestle against them. I think it helps make us better to wrestle against them."
Callahan, (119 pounds) was the Bulldog's top wrestler for the day as he took second-place in his weight class. Callahan said he wrestled well, but not as well as he wanted to.
"I didn't wrestle my best," Callahan said. "I wrestled decent, but not as good as I should have. It really showed with the competition, that if you're not wrestling your best, you're not even going to be close."
Callahan also said that he knows he has to wrestle competitors that are better than him to improve.
"You don't get better, unless you wrestle the best," Callahan said. "It might be a loss, but a loss to a good person is better than a win to a kid that is not that caliber of wrestler."
Senior Josh Kohn (135) was the Bulldog's next best finisher, with a third-place finish. The third-place finish tied Kohn with Matt Williams for 10th on the all-time wins list with 74.
"I thought I wrestled really well," Kohn said. "I had a big match for third place, and I took advantage of that."
Other top performances by the Bulldogs included senior Brandon Cone (215) finishing fourth. Senior Luke Halford (189), junior Mark Jehle (112) and freshman Gabe Mason (160) all placed fifth.
Harris said the entire team wrestled well at sometime during the day, but Kohn was most consistent.
"Everybody had good and bad moments throughout the day," Harris said. "I think Josh Kohn most consistently had the best day, and he ended the day with a great win over a ranked wrestler in 5A."
Harris said the tournament was an overall success because of the help of the everybody involved.
"The tournament went real well," Harris said. "We had a lot of help from the Baldwin community, the managers and the parents. We had a lot of teachers in the building help. We also had a lot of different schools from different areas competing against each other."
The Bulldog's next meet will be the annual "Pack the House" duals at 5 p.m. tonight at the junior high gym. Baldwin will face Louisburg and Gardner-Edgerton in the duals.
"I'm really excited for Pack the House," Harris said. "We're hoping for a big crowd. Both duals are going to be close and come down to the wire."