Callahan lead BHS wrestlers at state
Freshman Kevin Callahan capped off his record-breaking season with a fourth-place finish at the state tournament this past weekend, which was the highlight for the Baldwin High School wrestling team.
"Everybody wrestled real well at state," Callahan said. "Everybody went out and wrestled hard and did what they could, and it turned out pretty decent."
Callahan (119 pounds) was the lone placer for the Bulldogs. His two losses at state were to defending state champions.
"It went great and it was a lot of fun," Callahan said. "I owe most of it to the people in the wrestling room and my coach Kit (Harris). It was just a great experience."
Callahan broke the state record for nearfalls-2 in a season in January and finished with a total of 43, and tied the BHS record of nearfalls-3 with 42. Callahan finished the year 45-6, one win short of the state record held by Derek Lang, 2004 graduate of BHS, who went 46-4 last season.
"Kevin had an outstanding season," Harris said. "He is a tough freshman. He has worked very hard for quite a few years before high school to be able to have this kind of success as a freshman. He has a lot of drive to be successful in wrestling."
The Bulldogs brought seven wrestlers to the state meet. Senior Josh Kohn, senior Luke Halford, junior Matt James and freshman Nick Rockhold each won a single match at the meet.
"We wrestled well, we just ran into some very tough competition," Harris said. "We have some more work to do to be able to be more successful at the state tournament. We all wrestled hard and competed, I was proud of them."
James said the team competed hard, despite the tough opponents.
"We all wrestled hard," James said. "We all had a lot of tough competition, so we didn't finish very well."
Harris said that the reason for some teams not having as much success at the state level that they do at league and regionals is because of better teams being in different areas of the state.
"Western Kansas dominates wrestling in (Class) 4A and 3-2-1A for the most part," Harris said. "Each year they win a high percentage of the state medals. Coaches around here maybe don't like to hear it, but we have a lot of catching up to do. There are a few schools in Central and Eastern Kansas which have built programs up to be successful on the state level, but not a lot. We have work to do here if we are going to accomplish that and we are working on it."
Harris said the season was an overall success, especially considering the Bulldogs lost a lot of talent last year.
"It was a very exciting season. The entire team should be proud of all we accomplished, especially since we had no pre-season expectations or rankings," Harris said. "We were expected to be the team that lost all its talent from last year, yet the kids found a way to be very successful ... league champs, regional runners-up and 15-2 in duals."