BHS falls three points shy of defending league title
The Baldwin High School wrestling team fell just a few points short of defending its Frontier League title, when it hosted the 13-team tournament Saturday.
Paola placed only three points ahead of Baldwin to win the league crown with 175.5 points. Baldwin was able to hold off third-place finisher Gardner-Edgerton by one-half of a point as the Bulldogs scored 172.5 points.
Gardner-Edgerton had 12 placers, Paola had nine and the Bulldogs had eight. The three-team race went down to the final match with the Bulldogs having a temporary one point lead. The Paola heavyweight won his match in double overtime to win the league crown for the Panthers.
"It was a great day of wrestling," coach Kit Harris said. "We only had eight placers, compared to Gardner's 12 and Paola 9, but we were right in the hunt for the title because of our bonus points. We had 23 falls to Paola's 12 and Gardner's 16. It almost worked for us."
Senior Josiah Mason said the championship was a battle, but it hurts to fall three points short.
"It was a tough fight right up to the end," Mason said. "I think the whole team fought their hardest to achieve our goal, unfortunately we fell short. But I'm proud to be a part of it."
The Bulldogs had five wrestlers in the finals, with four placing first in their weight classes. Freshman Alan Callahan went 4-0 winning the 103-pound division. Junior Michael Thurlow (119) went 3-0, Josiah Mason (152) went 4-0 and sophomore Gabe Mason (160) went 3-0 as each won their respective weight classes.
Sophomore Kevin Callahan (125) was runner-up. Junior Ryan Reeves (135), sophomore Nick Rockhold (112) and freshman Colin Busby (140) all placed fourth in their weight classes.
Harris and the Bulldog wrestlers wanted to thank everyone who contributed to running the league tournament.
"Again, we owe a lot of thanks to all the great help we had from the parents, managers, our community contributors and a lot of BHS students who volunteered their time," Harris said.
Next up for the Bulldogs is the regional tournament Friday and Saturday in Eudora. The wrestling begins at 2:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Baldwin High School has not won a regional team title since 1989. Last year, the Bulldogs finished second to Fort Scott. Baldwin qualified seven wrestlers for state last year. The BHS school record is eight qualifiers in 1974. The top four placers in each weight class qualify for the 4A State Championships.
"We are very excited about regional and state, the most fun part of the year," Harris said. "But we need to get healthy because we have been fighting sickness. We have been doing a lot of winning this year with mostly underclassmen. We have a good future."