Effingham efforts pay off for Cardinals
Wrestlers earn team fourth, seven individual medals
Eudora High School's matmen traveled north to Effingham Saturday and opened the season with a fourth-place showing.
Effingham, last year's 3A state champion, won the nine-team tourney with 203.5 points, followed by 6A Free State, 163; Basehor-Linwood, 140.5; and Eudora with 114.5.
The Cardinals took seven individual medals, and junior Luke Powers topped the 145-pound weight class.
"I was pretty pleased with our effort," said Coach Ron Abel, who enters his sixth year at the helm. "We finished as well as or better than I thought we would."
Powers made it look easy with a bye, a major decision over his Free State opponent and a pin of an Effingham wrestler in the finals, earning him his first championship of the season.
Juniors Chris Pittman and Shane Grant earned second-place honors. At 152 pounds, Pittman had a bye, pinned an Effingham wrestler and then lost to a Basehor-Linwood wrestler who was a state medalist last year. Grant reached the heavyweight finals with victories by fall over Onaga and Horton and was poised to win his final match until he made a mistake and got caught.
"Shane beat the kid for five minutes and the kid beat him for one, but Shane lost 7-8," Abel said of the match against his state-ranked Basehor-Linwood foe.
Third-place performances were turned in by freshman Andy Coffman (103 pounds), senior Matt Linzer (199), and juniors James Barr (160) and Michael Paxton (215).
Coffman got his first taste of varsity action and responded with a pin of an Onaga wrestler in the consolation finals.
Linzer took an 8-1 decision over an Effingham wrestler to capture third place after a one-point loss to Free State in the second round.
In one of the toughest weight classes of the day, Barr went in seeded fourth and posted convincing decisions over Onaga and Effingham wrestlers at 160. Paxton wrestled up at 215 and pinned three opponents Basehor-Linwood, Onaga and Oskaloosa en route to his medal.
Mark Lister and Tyler Wingebach placed fourth at 130 and 171 pounds respectively, and Nate Cleveland (140) won a match by technical fall over a Pleasant Ridge wrestler. Brandon Werst and Carl Holz also wrestled for Eudora.
The Cardinals take to the mats again Thursday at Santa Fe Trail, a team that Eudora has only beaten once under Abel. Washburn Rural of Topeka will also challenge the Cards with an improved team under a new coach.
Eudora will host its 24th Annual Invitational Tournament with wrestling getting underway at 10 a.m. Saturday at Eudora.