Cardinals take fifth at invite
If you learn by your mistakes, Eudora learned a lot at its 25th annual tourney.
Close losses, especially in the medal rounds, dropped the Cardinals to fifth place in the 11-team field.
"Our biggest mistakes were mental," first-year Eudora coach Bill DeWitt said. "You've got to spill your guts for six minutes, and we didn't do that. We were flat in the finals and came off the mat with more energy than we should have. I know we can wrestle harder. I was disappointed but not discouraged, because I believe we can be a better team by the end of the season."
Four Card grapplers made it to the finals, and all took second, edged by a combined eight points.
Sophomore 103-pounder Andy Coffman got a bye in the first round and took a 7-2 advantage in the opening period of his semifinal match with his opponent from Holton. He racked up 10 more points while allowing nothing to Holton and won by technical fall. Coffman scored the first takedown against his No. 1-seeded foe from Kansas City Washington in the championship match but fell 6-3.
Luke Powers, a senior at 171 pounds, breezed through his first two matches pinning Wellsville and Washington in the first periods. He also faced a number one seed in the finals and trailed 5-1 after the second period. He received a point when his opponent from Prairie View used an illegal hold, and then Powers escaped with 26 seconds remaining but came up short at 5-3.
At 215 pounds, senior Mike Paxton took opening period victories by fall over opponents from Louisburg and Sumner Academy en route to the championship match. There he locked horns with Buffalo Michael Lawrance. Paxton gave up two penalty points and allowed an escape with 27 seconds left that cost him the match, 6-5.
Senior Shane Grant, who took second at state in 4A competition last season, went into Saturday's tournament seeded third. He posted the fastest Cardinal pin of the day with a 16-second victory over Washington in the opening round and then manhandled the No. 2 seed from Hiawatha in 33 seconds. For the heavyweight championship, he faced a familiar foe in 3A state champion Dennis Kimzey of Prairie View. Grant scored a takedown with one second left in the opening period and an escape in the second period, leading 3-0. His demise came in the final period of regulation where he was called for stalling and he lost in overtime on Kimzey's takedown.
"All our losses were to good wrestlers, but those are the kids we need to beat," DeWitt said. "The bottom line is you have to be able to wrestle for six minutes, and we are only wrestling hard for one to two minutes right now."
Senior James Barr reached the consolation finals and was the only Cardinal to take a victory there.
Barr started the day with a quick pin of Central Heights and was then edged 6-5 by the eventual champ from Saint Thomas Aquinas. The 160-pounder came back with pins of Louisburg and Washington, taking the third-place medal.
Austin Roberts and Ryan Pittman earned medals with fourth-place finishes. Roberts, a senior at 140 pounds, took an 11-8 decision over Sumner, getting to the consolations finals where he was defeated by Washington for the second time. Freshman Pittman won his first varsity appearance with a technical fall over Louisburg at 135 pounds and pinned Perry-Lecompton in the fourth round. He finished the day at 2-2.
Freshman Jacob Gillihan also posted his first varsity win with a 12-8 decision over Sumner in opening round action at 130 pounds. Josh Barr won one match by pinning Sumner in round two in a tough 189-pound weight class. Kyle Brouhard, a freshman at 119 pounds, also competed for Eudora.
"I'm pleased with our freshmen; they are doing some nice things," DeWitt said. "Jacob and Kyle looked better than last week."
Aquinas, a 6A school, won Eudora's Invitational with 165.5 points, followed by Prairie View with 126 and Kansas City-Washington with 124. Holton finished just one point ahead of the Cardinals with 109, and Wellsville was sixth with 90.5.
DeWitt calls December "Learn How to Wrestle Month," and the Cardinals will get more education Saturday at Immaculata. The team also hosted Santa Fe Trail Tuesday. Results will be available in next week's paper.