EHS wrestlers one step away from state
Every wrestler dreams of making the state tournament and Eudora grapplers will see if they have the right stuff tomorrow and Saturday at Anderson County.
"We have a shot to take eight," Eudora High School Coach Ron Abel said of the Class 4A state tourney to be held in Wichita Feb. 23 and 24. "It depends on who decides to get motivated and do what they need to do. We did not wrestle up to our potential at league."
Fourteen teams will vie for state slots at the regional competition where the top four individual placers in each weight class advance to state. Eudora will see many familiar foes since all the Frontier League teams, except 5A Paola, will make the trip to Anderson County. But just because the loop champ isn't there doesn't mean it will be any easier.
"Paola is replaced by Chapman and Abilene and they're both good teams. We've seen about everyone except Abilene so we know what to expect," Abel said.
The Cardinals finished third in the Frontier League standings with a 7-2 dual record (11-2 overall) after last Thursday's matches with Paola and Baldwin.
Both the Bulldogs and Cardinals had 6-1 league records going into the final dual. Eudora bested the host squad Baldwin 40-30, but lost to the Panthers 43-31.
Highlights against Paola included pins by seniors Brett Becker (145 lbs.) and Dustin Crowe (119), a 20-9 major decision by Brian Harris, who wrestled up a weight class at 140 pounds, and a 7-1 win by Matt Linzer at 112.
The victory over Baldwin was cemented with a 13-2 major decision by senior 189-pounder Zac Hamlin. Sam Campbell (130), Becker (140) and Luke Powers (145) each pinned their opponents and Harris added a technical fall. Freshman Mark Lister, wrestling with an injured elbow at 125 pounds, took a 10-2 major decision, and in a back-and-forth exciting match, Linzer outlasted his Bulldog opponent for a 16-11 win.
On Saturday in Wellsville, the Cardinals finished a disappointing sixth in the 10-team Frontier League tournament. Paola, ranked No. 2 in 5A, was first with 182 points, followed by Spring Hill, 128.5; Anderson County, 124.5; Osawatomie 111.5; Baldwin, 99; and Eudora 83. Eudora beat all but Paola and Spring Hill in duals, which determine the league standings.
Three Cardinals won their weight classes and one placed.
Dustin Crowe dominated the 119-pound class. The senior opened by pinning Wellsville in nine seconds and pinned Spring Hill in the third period to get to the finals. Crowe claimed the championship with an 11-1 major decision over Matt Krueger of Osawatomie.
Harris won at 135 with a pin of Osawatomie, a technical fall against Baldwin and a 13-4 victory over Bobby Sylva of Paola, who is ranked fifth in 5A. Harris took Sylva down six times in the title match.
Becker faced Osawatomie's Brandon Vanderbur, who had only two losses coming into the 145-pound final match. Becker was behind 4-2 after the opening round, but scored an escape and reverse and was awarded a penalty point to tie it at 6-6 after two periods. It remained 6-6 forcing overtime. With 55 seconds remaining, Becker spun behind to score a takedown to win 8-6. Becker got to the finals with a technical fall over Paola and an 18-12 decision against Anderson County.
Linzer placed fourth at 112, opening with a 7-2 victory over Louisburg, a close loss to Wellsville, and a 10-4 win over Spring Hill. In the consolation finals, he was bested by his first opponent, Louisburg, 9-2.
James Snow (103) won a match at league, a first period pin of Prairie View; and 130-pounder Sam Campbell wrestled well in two tough and very close contests against Paola and Spring Hill. Luke Powers opened with a pin of Osawatomie at 152, improved against Paola and was edged by the eventual bronze medalist from Baldwin 6-5. Jason Marmon at 215 beat Prairie View 18-4 but then lost to state-ranked AC and Paola (8-5). Heavyweight Shane Grant recorded one win, a first-period pin of Gardner-Edgerton.