Archive for Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wrestling BIT set for Saturday

January 29, 2009

A small portion of the state’s and nation’s top wrestlers will be competing in Baldwin City on Saturday.

It’s once again time for the Baldwin Invitational Tournament for wrestlers. There will only be 11 teams battling it out in the Baldwin Junior High School gymnasium, but 11 quality programs.

“I’d say usually half of the field is state ranked,” Baldwin High School coach Kit Harris said. “For several years now, the top teams are nationally ranked.”

The Bulldogs host one tournament every year. The number of teams has declined during the last couple of years, but a number of the same talented teams have returned.

Oak Park (Mo.) will be back to defend its three-year title reign. However, this year Oak Park will be tested by two of the top teams in Class 5A, Lansing and Andover Central.

“This year could be interesting,” Harris said. “Oak Park has won it three years in a row, but Lansing and Andover Central might be able to give Oak Park a run for its money. The Oak Park school district split into two high schools and so some of the wrestlers got split up. Plus, the coach changed schools. They are still good, but I think they will have a challenge this year.”

The other teams competing will be Baldwin, Abilene, Mill Valley, Tonganoxie, Santa Fe Trail, Labette County, Prairie View and Paola. The action will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.

“The BIT is a great tournament,” Harris said. “I like the format. The kids get a lot of matches and it goes fast. Plus, we’ve got a lot of nationally ranked and state-ranked teams competing.”

Each weight class will be divided into two pools for the early action Saturday. After the pools are finished, the wrestlers will be seeded in each weight class. Then there will be a final match for the placings.

The Bulldogs have battled some issues this winter, but Harris hopes to have most of his squad competing at the home tournament.

“We still have some injuries and eligibility issues, but we’re pretty close to being full strength,” he said. “We are getting together better than we have been.”

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