Morgan earns All-American status at Iowa tournament
Andrew Morgan wasn’t satisfied with a fifth-place finish at the Class 4A state wrestling tournament in February.
The Baldwin High School junior wanted more and he wasted no time in achieving it this offseason. On April 2, Morgan earned an All-American status after finishing fifth in the 130-pound weight class at the USA Wrestling Folkstyle Nationals in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
“It’s a serious national tournament,” BHS coach Kit Harris said. “He had to wrestle well and get some big wins against some guys who have been competing nationally for the last several years. His confidence grew more and more as our season went along. He’s kind of carried that into the offseason.”
Morgan went 4-2 and placed fifth out of 42 wrestlers. He defeated opponents from Iowa, Missouri, and two from Wisconsin. He lost to nationally-ranked wrestlers from Texas and Montana in close matches.
“It was exciting,” Morgan said. “My goal was to be an All-American. It was really tough. The kids in the finals of my bracket were amazing. The kids I wrestled were very good, too.”
Morgan’s first attempt at a national tournament was at Brute Nationals in Kansas City, Mo., last year. He came one win away from being an All-American. He wasn’t going to let that happen this year.
He went 3-0 on the first day of competition. Those three victories propelled him into the semifinals. He lost that match, as well as one more, on the second day, but bounced back to end the tournament with a win.
“I wrestled great the first day,” Morgan said. “I was on top of my game. I knew I was a bit out of shape and I think I could have beaten some of the kids easier instead of stalling.
“On the second day, I came out a bit tired,” he said. “I wasn’t used to two-day tournaments, so I was wore out. I wrestled great in my last match.”
Harris said national tournaments are risky to compete in, but they can be quite rewarding.
“It’s kind of a bold move to go to these tournaments, because you have to pay for the travel, hotel and entry fees,” Harris said. “You could travel a long way and get beat out early, so it’s a risk. It was definitely worth it for him. He got six matches against some great competition.”
Morgan compared his national tournament to this year’s state tournament in Salina. He placed fifth at both, but said he faced better wrestlers in Iowa.
“I think I wrestled in better position at nationals, because I was trying to stay on top since I was out of shape,” Morgan said. “I definitely wrestled more aggressively at the state meet.”
As a freshman at BHS, Morgan qualified for the state tournament after winning a come-from-behind victory over the No. 1 seed at regionals. The next year, he improved his record and qualified for the state tournament for the second straight year.
“He’s taken strides of improvement bigger than maybe anyone I’ve coached,” Harris said. “He is always working hard. He is also competitive minded and he gets frustrated with every loss. He wants to beat everyone.”