Seven Baldwin High School wrestlers earn state bids

Tucker Clark and six of this BHS teammates will compete in the state 4A wrestling championship Friday and Saturday in Salina. Enlarge photo

February 22, 2012

The Baldwin High Bulldogs wrestling team pulled off a fourth-place finish Friday and Saturday at the state regional meet. Baldwin had seven of their wrestlers qualify for the national tournament.

“It was a real good tournament for us overall,” coach Kit Harris said. “There are a few matches we would have liked to have won, but not very many. We won a lot of big matches too.”

While the wrestlers certainly achieved a high level of play at regionals, coach Harris still sees room for improvement from his team.

“I want to work big on standup position first,” Harris said. “Win the position battle first then hit scoring holds from there. But also, winning the hand fight, whether it’s on the mat or on our feet because that leads to everything else.”

Out of the seven wrestlers who qualified for state, senior Andrew Morgan and sophomore Bryce Shoemaker earned regional championships.

“It’s what I’ve been working for pretty much the last four years,” Morgan said. “I went fourth, third, second, now first. But I really wasn’t too worried about that tournament. I’m more worried about this one, where I want to place high at.”

The goals for the team and the individual wrestlers remain high.

“My goal has always been a state champion,” Shoemaker said. “I did that my freshman year. I just got to take one match at a time and hopefully, like what Harris says, one point at a time. Win every point, just wrestle, and have fun.”

The high expectations are shared by Harris.

“We’ve been seventh twice. That’s the top state finish in our school history,” Harris said. “I think we can get up there, match that, and beat that. And sure we want kids to place, and place high, but really I want our focus to be on scoring points and taking things one at a time and not getting ahead of ourselves.”

While the accomplishments of the individuals moving to state are impressive and deserve praise, the entire team has made significant strides since the beginning of the season.

“This has been one of the most improved teams I think we’ve ever coached,” Harris said. “We knew we had about five good kids that had been to state before and were good wrestlers. Everybody else was pretty much unknown in terms of their varsity potential. As the year went on, they started growing and growing, and getting better and better.”

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