Eudora sends four seniors to Immac finals
Eudora's wrestling team got back to its winning ways at Immaculata Saturday.
The Cards sent all four seniors to the finals and four underclassmen to the consolation finals, taking victories in all but one match. The Eudora matmen took second in the 11-team field despite having no one to fill five of the 14 weight classes.
"It was a good way to wrap up the preseason and a better effort than last week," said Coach Bill DeWitt. "We only lost one in the finals, which is pretty impressive. I'm happy for the kids. They seemed to be having fun."
Seniors James Barr, Luke Powers and Mike Paxton enjoyed championships at 160, 171 and 215 pounds, respectively.
Paxton spent the least time on the mats because there were only two other wrestlers in his 215-pound class. He dispatched his opponent from Bishop Ward by fall with 1:32 left in the opening period of the semifinals and then pinned Wabaunsee in 3:26 after leading 11-0.
Barr also pinned his way to first place, taking victories by fall over Oskaloosa and Horton in the opening minute of his 160 pound matches. In the finals, it took slightly longer, but Barr pinned Pleasant Ridge in 3:10, claiming the championship.
For Powers, the gold medal followed a pin of Schlagle (21 seconds) and a close match with Oskaloosa. Against his Bear foe, Powers scored a takedown in the first period that proved to be the difference in the 3-1 decision. He went on to pin the No. 1 seed from Topeka Seaman in the second period of the finals.
At 140 pounds, Austin Roberts took second. The senior, who went into the tourney unseeded, edged Schlagle 7-5 on the strength of six points in the second frame and then pinned Horton in the semifinals. He lost to Seaman in the finals, finishing 2-1 on the day with the silver medal.
Other pleasant surprises were freshmen Kyle Brouhard and Jacob Gillihan, who were also unseeded and earned medals.
A come-from-behind victory by fall over Maur Hill started Brouhard's day, but a loss to the eventual champ from Seaman sent him to the consolation bracket, where he came back strong with a pin against Bishop Ward and another pin of Maur Hill. The 119-pounder closed out at 3-1 with the third-place medal.
Most wrestlers are used to cutting weight, but 130-pound Jacob Gillihan had to cut his hair at Immac before being allowed to compete Saturday. It didn't affect his strength however, and he wrestled his way to his first varsity medal. He received a bye and lost to Wellsville before pinning Schlagle and besting Horton 8-7 with an escape in the final seconds to take third.
Sophomore Andy Coffman recorded the fastest pin of the day for Eudora in the consolation finals of the 103-pound class. Josh Barr, a sophomore at 189 pounds, went 3-1 and also took third. Freshman Robert Kurtz scored seven points in his first-ever varsity match Saturday and gained valuable experience, but no victories in a tough 145-pound class.
Topeka Seaman, a 5A team with a full roster, won Immaculata's invitational with 224 points followed by Eudora with 135. Wellsville was third with 120; and Wabaunsee fourth with 86.5.
Having open weight classes also hurt the Cards in their first dual of the season at home against seventh-ranked 4A Santa Fe Trail last Tuesday. The 57-20 team loss was deceiving because Eudora gave up 36 points in forfeits. Only eight matches were contested, and the Cardinals won half of them.
The most exciting match of the night Tuesday was the first one. Coffman seemed to be in trouble, down by six points just into the second period, when he came alive with a takedown and near fall, pulling within one at 5-6. He started the third period in the down position and escaped at the 1:45 mark to tie it and won with a takedown in overtime.
Other winners against Santa Fe were Ryan Pittman, Josh Barr and Paxton.
"If we'd have been full up, we would have matched up bette," DeWitt said. "Most of our kids wrestled well, and even the ones that lost did some very good things.
"Now we will review, have some fun, play some games and fine tune for the long stretch. January is the month we get better."
Eudora is back in action at home against Gardner Jan. 9 and travels to Bonner Springs for a tourney Jan. 11.