Eight BHS wrestlers place at Holton tournament
Although eight members of the Baldwin High School wrestling team placed in the top six Saturday, coach Kit Harris thought his squad took a step back this weekend.
Baldwin went 25-24 overall in matches and scored 139 total team points. That was good enough for a sixth-place finish at the Gerald Sadowski Invitational at Holton High School. Shawnee Heights won the 17-team tournament with 218.5 points.
“What’s been really cool about this season is every week, I felt like we have improved,” Harris said. “This is the first Saturday where I would say that didn’t happen. We had a questionable day and didn’t get better for it. I’m glad this happened, so we can refocus on some things. We came in and had a great day of practice.”
The Bulldogs returned home with a pair of second- and third-place finishers. They also had three wrestlers place fourth and one fifth, but no champions. Harris said he wasn’t the only one who left Holton feeling disappointed.
“Every single wrestler left feeling like they had a match they lost they should have won,” Harris said. “That gives us things to work on in practice. A bad tournament can be a good thing, if we use it right, and I feel like we are going to.”
Sophomore Colton Bonner and freshman Bryce Shoemaker led the Bulldogs with runner-up finishes. They both went 2-1 on the day to earn their second-place spots.
“It went really well,” Bonner said. “I wrestled very hard. I had three close matches, but couldn't pull out the finals match. This was probably my best tournament of the season so far. I felt stronger and felt like I wasn’t getting thrown around a lot.”
Bonner (215 pounds) won two tough, one-point matches to earn his way into the finals. He lost in the finals in another close match, 3-1.
“Colton had two really tough wins,” Harris said. “He didn’t wrestle perfect. He still has a few things he needs to work on, but he won matches. His wins were really hard fought against tough opponents. He was really crushed he didn’t win. I’m really proud of him.”
Shoemaker (103) won his first two matches before losing in the finals to the No. 1-ranked wrestler in Class 5A, Zac Gentzler of Andover Central by a 5-4 score.
“He lost to a good wrestler,” Harris said. “Bryce should wrestle him again this weekend. We will go in with a different game plan. It was a good match where some of his flaws got exposed.”
The Bulldogs’ two varsity seniors placed third. Josh Hanson (135) and Heath Parmley (160) each had one loss on the day, which was a semifinal loss to the No. 1-ranked wrestlers in 5A.
The three fourth-place Bulldogs were sophomore Andrew Morgan (112) and sophomore Cody Sellers (119) and junior Jesse Austin (285). In fifth place was junior Colby Soden (125).
The Bulldogs will compete at 6 tonight in the BHS gym against Spring Hill. It will be their senior night dual. The Bulldogs stay at home Saturday with the Baldwin Invitational Tournament. It will begin at 9 a.m. in the Baldwin Junior High School gym.
“It’s a lot of work and I usually don’t go to bed until late every night, but it’s a great event,” Harris said. “It’s good for the community and the sport. We have a lot of good teams coming in this year.”
The wrestlers are ready for the home tournament that features top ranked wrestlers from Kansas and Missouri.
“I’m really looking forward to the BIT,” Bonner said. “We’ll see a lot of guys that will be at our regional. It’s a lot of fun to host a tournament. A lot of friends come out and see us wrestle. It’s really fun to wrestle in front of them at home.”