Tuckfield earns rare gold for Baldwin wrestlers
The Baldwin High School wrestling team opened its season Saturday with a 10th-place finish in the Gardner Invitational.
That may sound disappointing, but the 16-team event was no ordinary tournament. Among the squads competing was Southeast Polk (Iowa), the No. 9 team in the country, defending large class Oklahoma champion Broken Arrow and traditional power Omaha (Neb.) Skutt. The state teams also had impressive resumés with three of the state’s top-10 6A attending and two of the top-five 5A schools competing. Baldwin was the only 4A at the event.
“The Bulldogs held their own against the tough competition, coming away with four placers in the top six and another finishing seventh,” BHS coach Kit Harris said.
Senior Owen Tuckfield became the first Baldwin wrestler to win gold at the event since former two-time state champion Bryce Shoemaker won at 103 pounds in 2010. Tuckfield defeated a Broken Arrow foe 10-8 in overtime to make bracket of four. Harris said he then defeated the No. 2 seed of the tournament No. 1 ranked wrestler in 5A from St. James by a 3-2 score in the semi-finals and won a 3-2 match over the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Missouri state champion and Fargo All-American in the 160 pound finals.
Senior Jake Katzer made the finals at 220 pounds, besting the No. 1 ranked wrestler in 5A from Pittsburg, who also was a Fargo finalist. In the finals, Katzer faced the No. 2 ranked wrestler in the country from SE Polk, who was a World Team member last year.
Other Bulldog placers were senior Joel Katzer, fourth at 195 pounds, sophomore TJ Hopper, eighth at 120 pounds, junior Levi Green, fifth at 126 pounds, and senior Ben Morgenstern, seventh at 138 pounds.
The Bulldogs will be at home Friday for a triangular with Burlington and Prairie View. Action starts at 5 p.m.