Baldwin High School freshman wins first wrestling gold
A week after the Baldwin Bulldog wrestling team competed against some of the best large-school teams in the state and Midwest, it wrested Friday and Saturday against schools it will see in important 4A meets down the road.
Baldwin High School coach Kit Harris said the Eudora Tournament of Champions draws many 4A teams the Bulldogs will wrestle in the regional meet. This year’s 23-team event was no different. Of the 10 4A schools at the meet, five will compete in the same regional tournament as the Bulldogs.
Baldwin finished fifth in the event with 191 points. Lansing won the event with 239.5 points.
“We wrestled hard, making some mistakes, but that is expected and gives us a great basis for what to work on,” Harris said. “Some of those mistakes cost a few matches, which is a good thing. We will learn from it and it will be lot less likely to happen again during a more crucial match.”
Freshman Thomas Lisher was the only Bulldog gold medalist in the meet, earning the title at 126 pounds in an impressive manner.
“It was a great performance by a freshman,” Harris said. “He is showing what he is capable of achieving. He pinned the No. 5 ranked wrestler and then beat the No. 3 ranked wrestler on a takedown with one second remaining in the finals. Both were seniors. Thomas has a great future ahead of him for our program.”
Senior Tucker Clark (138 pounds) won hard-fought matches on his way to the finals from his No. 4 seed. He also earned his 100th win at BHS, ending the day with 104, and is now 11th on the school’s all-time win list.
“He is very focused and has taken charge of this team with his leadership,” Harris said. “His teammates all look up to him because of his great attitude and work ethic.’
Harris said sophomore twins Jake and Joel Katzer battled some of the best upperclassmen in the state. The first-year varsity wrestlers both placed. Joel was eighth at 170 pounds and Jake was fourth at 285 pounds with their only losses coming to tough matches to state-ranked foes.
Sophomore Owen Tuckfield (160 pounds) saw his daily practice battles with the Katzers pay off with his first varsity medal with a fourth-place finish. His focus on improvement is extremely high, Harris said.
Mario Garcia earn a fifth-place finish at 195 pounds.
“He understands how to win the smart matches,” Harris said. “He is tough, physical, and very competitive. He will be one of our highest point scorers throughout the season.”
Freshman Levi Green finished eighth at 106 pounds, and junior Jon Pratt was seventh at 145 pounds.
The team will mix things up Saturday with a dual-style tournament at Ottawa.
“Competing as a team in every dual is important because every kid, win or lose, can earn or save some crucial points,” Harris said.
Among the teams at the event will be Holton, the state’s top-rated 4A team, traditional 5A contender Valley Center and fourth-rated 4A team Prairie View.