Cardinals try to weather make-up wrestling meet
The Eudora wrestling team was scheduled to travel to Louisburg last Thursday, but the recent snowstorm intervened. So the duals were moved to Tuesday night.
Eudora lost to Louisburg 51-26 and Anderson County 36-27.
"It's just the same thing," head coach Bill DeWitt said. "We're so young. That's just the reality of it. Of the 11 kids I took to Louisburg, seven were freshmen or sophomores."
The storm didn't do the Cards any favors either.
School was closed Thursday and Friday -- no meets, no practice. The reschedule then created a situation where the Cardinals wrestle three times in five days.
"The snow days really messed things up," DeWitt said. "I hate missing practice time. With such a young team, practice time is so critical -- that's mat time, and that's what they need most."
Louisburg marked Eudora's first opponent during this season-ending test of stamina. The Wildcat's full roster placed the under-manned Cardinal crew at an added disadvantage.
"(Louisburg) was full-up, so again we had to give up some opportunities," DeWitt said. "And they have improved a lot over the last couple of years.
"We had a couple matches that could have gone either way, but the inexperience really killed us. Plus, we had to move kids around to fill weights."
DeWitt wants his athletes to recognize roster spots, youth and inexperience are all factors outside the control of the program.
"You've got to just take care of the things you have control over -- mental preparation, effort and strategy," he said. "You have to zero in on what you do well and just focus on that."
The match-up with Anderson County provided Eudora with an opportunity to judge late-season progressions. The Cards met Anderson County at the Concordia Dual Tournament Jan. 31.
Anderson County won 36-28.
"I saw some improvement," DeWitt said. "However, I don't think I'll ever be satisfied. My goals are set high every season and when we reach those goals, we'll set them higher."
Anderson County benefited from a senior-laden squad. All weight classes from 130 to 152 pounds were represented by seniors.
Eudora has its big guns at the light and heavy ends of the weight classes. It's the soft middle that has proven to be the Cardinals' Achilles heel. There lies the majority of inexperience.
Andy Coffman (119 pounds), Miles Cleveland (125), Josh Barr (189) and Chris Durkin (215) combined for an 8-0 record on the day.
The middle seven classes combined for a 1-13 record.
"You can see where we struggle," DeWitt said. "It's one-on-one on the mat, but it's easy for kids to get momentum and build on it. We have a lot of youth in the middle, and there's no one at the level where they can step in and stop the bleeding."
On the horizon now for Eudora is a showdown with two undefeated Frontier League foes -- Paola and archrival Baldwin on Thursday in Baldwin City.
Baldwin can clinch the conference with a win over Paola.
The Eudora-Baldwin match has much more at stake though -- bragging rights.
Records and excuses fall by the wayside when Eudora and Baldwin match up in any sport at anytime.
"It's a good rivalry because there's a lot of respect between the schools," DeWitt said. "Coach Kit Harris has done a marvelous job with that program. He and I are good friends, and most of the athletes are good friends."
Eudora hopes to catch Baldwin on a let down following the Paola match.
"They were a solid team last year and we battled with them to within 10 points," DeWitt said. "Our kids are looking forward to it. We don't match up well but in those classes that we do, we're going to give them a fight."
The Cardinals have another dog fight this week after their fight with the Bulldogs.
Eudora and the rest of the league will meet Saturday in Gardner for the Frontier League Tournament.
"League is going to be really tough," DeWitt said. "We've only beat one team in league this year. We are going to have to scrape to get placing, let alone championships."