Heavyweight victories earn wrestlers big wins
Eudora beats Prairie View, Wellsville with help from 48 forfeit points
Eudora High wrestling team's nature came to the fore Jan. 24 when Eudora beat both Prairie View and Wellsville.
Prairie View featured three state-ranked grapplers in the upper weights, and Wellsville owns a top-five ranking in 3A on the strength of four ranked wrestlers in the lower weights. Eudora's only ranked man is senior 215-pounder Jason Marmon, who was held out of competition because of an elbow injury.
Despite the opposition's strong individual performances, the Cardinals came out on top 42-24 against the hosting Buffalos and posted a paradoxical 48-23 victory over the Eagles.
The heavyweight class was a big win for the Cardinals when Shane "Bubba" Grant knocked off Dennis Kimzey of Prairie View. Kimzey, ranked no. 2 in 3A, found himself behind 4-2 after the first period and went to his back in both the second and third frames. Grant scored four takedowns in the match he won 16-8. It was the junior's first action since the holiday break.
"Our strategy was that he (Kimzey) would have to beat us on our feet," said Eudora coach Ron Abel. "He couldn't."
The Cardinals also won seven of the nine other matches contested against the Buffs. Pins were contributed by Andy Coffman (103 pounds); Austin Roberts (135), Luke Powers (152), Josh Barr (171), and Michael Paxton (189). Matt Linzer racked up 16 points for a technical fall at 119 pounds, and Nate Cleveland took a 13-11 decision at 140 pounds.
Cleveland was a welcome return to the lineup after an injury. The senior trailed after the second period but tied it at 11-11 with an escape with 41 seconds left in the match. He then scored a takedown with 28 seconds remaining and held on for the victory.
Against Wellsville it was a case of winning without winning. The Eagles had only five varsity wrestlers, leaving nine open classes. The Cards were also open at 112 and 125 pounds, so only four matches actually took place, and Wellsville bested in all. Still, Eudora won on its 48 forfeit points.
"It's a team sport, that's why there are 14 weight classes," Abel said. "We showed improvement and wrestled better than before against Wellsville. Andy fought the whole way, Matt had his guy all but beat, and Michael wrestled much smarter."
Eudora's younger grapplers also showed improvement and pleased Abel in a 20-team junior varsity meet in Gardner Saturday. Josh Barr (171) and Jason Hamlin (275) placed first and Coffman took fourth. Joey Donahue also wrestled well at 160 pounds.
The Cards, now 4-3 in duals, travel to Louisburg tonight and compete at the Immaculata tourney Saturday. Then they face Paola and Baldwin before a return trip to La Cygne for the league tournament. The injury situation is critical down the stretch, and Eudora will spend a lot of time on the road. Team managers Rebecca Robertson and Patty Thieme softened that road time with gifts of pillows made for each team member.
"We turned a little corner last week," Abel said. "The rest of the year will be very difficult unless we get most of the lineup back. If we get Chris (Durkin) and Jason (Marmon) back, we have a shot. We can't afford to give up 12 points to Louisburg or Anderson County, and we can't afford to give up any to Baldwin or Paola."