Shoemaker leads Baldwin youth wrestlers
Nine Baldwin City youth wrestlers competed in the Kansas state youth wrestling championships last weekend in Topeka, and five placed, including one winning his second state championship.
The title-winner was Bryce Shoemaker in the 10-and-under, 67-pound division. Shoemaker stormed his way into the finals before squaring off with a familiar foe from Paola, a national champion who had defeated Shoemaker nine straight times.
The match went into overtime with a 0-0 score, and then Shoemaker scored a hard-fought takedown for the win and the gold medal. It was Shoemaker's second title in three trips to the state meet.
Also making the finals was Jack Mitchell, who dropped a heartbreaking overtime decision in the finals to finish second. After placing fifth and sixth at state, it was Mitchell's first trip to the finals after a very successful season.
Mitchell competed in the 10-and-under, 73-pound division and went 3-1 at state. Dominating his way into the finals, Mitchell did not give up an offensive point the entire tournament.
The next highest finisher for Baldwin was another 10-and-under wrestler, Jon Pratt, who competed at 58 pounds. Pratt placed higher than he ever had by finishing third.
He went 5-1 overall, and his only loss was a 5-4 decision to the eventual state runner-up from Salina. Pratt is only a third-year wrestler and has placed at state twice.
Dylan Housworth finished in fourth place for Baldwin, after going 3-1 in the tournament. He competed in the 8-and-under, 64-pound bracket. Housworth's most exciting win was in the quarterfinals, when he threw his opponent into a headlock in the final 20 seconds of the match for a come-from-behind victory.
Rounding out the placers was Baldwin High School freshman Colin Busby. After a successful season of competing for the Bulldog varsity team this season, Busby entered the kids' league and wrestled his way to the state semi-finals, before finally settling for sixth place after a tough1-0 loss.
It was Busby's first time placing at state and only second time ever qualifying. He competed in the 14-and-under, 150-pound division.
For the three other Baldwin City Wrestling Club wrestlers that competed, it was their first trip to State. Second-year wrestler Cameron Christian went 1-2 and second-year wrestler Cody Sellars went 0-2. Austin Kraus, who competed in his first year of novice wrestling for Baldwin, also wrestled at state but didn't place.
Another Baldwin wrestler, Baldwin Junior High School student Josh Hanson, wrestled in the 14-and-under, 95-pound division. Hanson went 2-2 and missed placing by one round.
The two wrestlers that defeated Hanson were both state runner-ups. Hanson won his first match and then lost a tough 6-2 decision to the eventual state runner-up from Salina.
After winning a 2-1 match in the backside of the bracket, Hanson found himself up against a defending state runner-up from Wichita. Hanson was defeated by a late third period escape just before the placing round. Hanson was undefeated for the BJHS wrestling team this past season.