Despite no titles, BHS wrestlers finish fourth
For the first time in years, the Baldwin High School wrestling team didn't crown any champions at its home tournament.
A pair of Bulldogs finished runners-up in their weight classes as the Bulldogs placed fourth as a team at the Baldwin Invitational Tournament. This year's 12-team tournament might have featured the best competition that the BIT has seen, according to BHS coach Kit Harris.
"I think this year might have been the deepest year of the BIT," Harris said. "Oak Park (Mo.) was as strong as always. As tough as it was, they still outscored the second and third place teams combined. They are just a great program and it's great to wrestle them, because you learn a lot."
Leading the way, as expected, was Oak Park. The Northmen have won the tournament all four years they have attended the annual event. They scored 419 points and won eight weight classes Saturday.
Santa Fe Trail placed second this year with a team score of 202 points, while Prairie View totaled 181 to finish third. Each of those schools had one champion.
After placing second a year ago, the Bulldogs dropped two spots in the standing this year. They placed fourth with 167.5 points. They were able to hold off Abilene and Labette County, who each scored 155.5.
"I was really happy, because I didn't know where we would finish up," Harris said. "Santa Fe Trail and Prairie View finished ahead of us and they are both strong. We were down early, but fought back."
Junior Alan Callahan (112 pounds) was one of the two Baldwin wrestlers to finish second in his weight class. His older brother Kevin Callahan (130) was the other.
A. Callahan also said he was happy to finish fourth in a strong field, that included seven teams ranked in the top 15 on the Kansas Wrestling Web site www.usawks.com.
"I was happy with our team finish," A. Callahan said. "It shows that we wrestled pretty tough as a team."
Senior Jacob Enick didn't quite share the same view as his junior teammate or coach. He was pleased to place fourth, but didn't realize the tournament was going to be as tough as it was.
"I expected us to finish a bit higher, but there were a lot of good teams there," Enick said. "I was proud to finish fourth. It was just a tougher tournament than I thought it was going to be."
The Callahan brothers both advanced to the finals, but both lost to Paola wrestlers. A. Callahan once again battled Sharky Slyter for a tournament championship, which makes three times this season.
However, Slyter avenged his previous two losses with a 5-4 decision over A. Callahan.
"My tournament was OK," Callahan said. "I didn't open up like I needed to and I needed to wrestle a lot smarter and set up my shots more."
Saturday's loss was the first of the season for A. Callahan, who now holds a season record of 35-1. He was upset to lose his first match, but he said it will make him a better wrestler.
"It was pretty disappointing to lose my first match, but it showed me what I need to work on and get better at with my shot set ups and shot defense," Callahan said.
Harris said the loss is nothing to hang his head about, but hopes A. Callahan does learn from it.
"He is definitely disappointed in losing, because he is so competitive," Harris said. "He understands that there is no disappointment in that loss. Sharky is a great wrestler and they could see each other a couple of more times."
K. Callahan was perfect on the day until the finals, where he was also defeated in a one-point match. He lost 4-3 to Paola's Matt Noblet.
"They lost to good quality kids," Harris said. "I am OK with those losses, because we are studying and working on what we did wrong. It also gives them motivation and drive for the rest of the season. I don't mind quality losses, because it makes kids focus and work really hard."
Other top finishers for the Bulldogs included junior Nick Rockhold (119) and senior Gabe Mason (171). Rockhold placed third while Mason finished fourth.
Scoring placing points in fifth place were junior Colin Busby (160), senior Michael Barnes (215) and Enick (285). Junior Travis Huffman (135) also finished fifth, but wrestled unattached behind Baldwin starter Andy Thurlow, who was sixth. Also finishing sixth was sophomore Josh Hanson (125).
"We had a lot of kids in the fifth-place round," Harris said. "A lot of our kids had early losses, but came back to wrestle for fifth place. That was big for us."
Enick was happy with his performance.
"I think I wrestled pretty well," Enick said. "I know I had a good finals match, but I didn't wrestle so well in my losses. I got caught in some bad positions, but I learned to wait for my shots in my final match."
Harris agreed with Enick, saying the second-year wrestler is understanding how to be a smarter wrestler on the mat.
"Jake Enick had a great day getting fifth," Harris said. "Mainly because he is finally getting all of these techniques that we've been working with him on. He is wrestling some big opponents, but he is starting to see some of that stuff work for him."
Baldwin will have a pair of road duals before its final three tournaments of the season, which are the Frontier League, Class 4A regional and 4A state tournaments.
BHS will wrestle at Santa Fe Trail at 6 tonight and 5:30 p.m. Feb. 7. Then the Bulldogs head to De Soto on Feb. 9 for the league tournament.
"League is going to be different with only eight teams," Harris said. "With Paola and Gardner there it's going to be strong. Regionals will also be tough with Prairie View and Santa Fe Trail."
Here is how each BHS wrestler did in the Baldwin Invitational.
103 - Colby Soden - 1-4, 10th place
112 - Alan Callahan - 4-1, second place
119 - Nick Rockhold - 4-1, third place
125 Josh Hanson - 1-3, sixth place
130 - Kevin Callahan - 3-1, second place
135 - Andy Thurlow - 2-3, sixth place
135 - Travis Huffman - 3-2, fifth place
140 - Will Von Bargen - 1-0, injury withdraw
145 - Heath Parmley - 1-4, ninth place
145 - Brad Canterbury - 1-4, 10th place
152 - Alex Coffey - 0-5, 11th place
160 - Colin Busby - 3-2, 2 falls, fifth place
171 - Gabe Mason - 2-3, 1 fall, fourth place
189 - Adam Christian - 0-5, ninth place
215 - Michael Barnes - 3-2, fifth place
285 - Jake Enick - 2-2, fifth place
1-Oak Park (Mo.) - 419 (8 champions)
2-Santa Fe Trail - 202 (1 champion)
3-Prairie View - 181 (1 champion)
4-Baldwin - 167.5
5(tied)-Labette County - 155.5
5(tied)-Abilene - 155.5 (1 champion)
7-Lansing - 146
8-Mill Valley - 136.5 (1 champion)
9-Tonganoxie - 134
10-Paola - 119, (2 champions)
11-Andover Central - 94.5
12-Rossville - 81.5