Cards go 3-2, take fifth
With the match at Santa Fe Trail behind them, the Eudora Cardinal wrestling team headed north to Atchison for the annual George Worley-Larry Tilton Tournament. The Cardinals used a 3-2 dual record in the 10-team pool-play event to garner a fifth place finish.
The Cardinals opened Saturday's action with a first-round dual against Pleasant Ridge. Although senior Miles Cleveland (145 pounds) and junior Tim Durkin (189) grabbed wins for the team, the 42-25 setback was more akin to some of the earlier action the team saw in the Santa Fe Trail loss.
"We came out sluggish and Pleasant Ridge had some decent kids that basically out wrestled us because we weren't ready to go," head coach Bill DeWitt said. "We will need to do a better job of getting focused in the future. They were open at 130 and 140, where two of our better kids are, so it was hard to gain momentum and we lost the dual."
The second round saw the Cards run up against host team Atchison, the eventual tournament winner. But again the Cardinals demonstrated habits that resembled lost opportunities at Trail in the 42-30 loss.
"We wrestled well but gave up one too many pins," DeWitt said. "The 12-point difference essentially is one pin that could have gone either way. They were full and we were open at two weights, which didn't help matters either."
Eudora's third dual ended a little more favorably as the team defeated Center of Missouri 51-24. Junior Michael Whitten helped Eudora win the dual, with one of his four wins in the 140-pound class.
With their first dual win under their belts, the Cardinals had an even better time against Team Coalition with a 51-24 victory. Coalition's only points came against two first-year wrestlers and two open slots.
Basehor-Linwood proved a tougher opponent in Eudora's final round match-up. Durkin, who went 6-0, and sophomore Evan Meyers (215) helped seal a tight 44-41 victory with pins late in the dual.
Cleveland ran into the Bobcats' Justin Sullivan, who he had defeated late last season to earn a spot at state.
This time Sullivan got the best of the senior, dealing him his only loss of the day.
"Miles wrestled a tough match against Sullivan," DeWitt said. "Sullivan had the upper hand this time, but the season is early and we still have a lot of wrestling to do."
Individually, some underclassmen and newcomers made impacts on the varsity stage with improved performances.
Freshmen Max Campbell and Michael Gambino grabbed their first victories of the season, while sophomore Travis Clarke went undefeated at 5-0. Clarke wrestled five matches a year ago and came up empty each time.
Senior rookie Joel Morrison came close to capturing his first win against Basehor, but did manage to catch the attention of the head coach.
"Joel continues to impress me with his attitude and work ethic and is extremely valuable to our team," DeWitt said. "He was close to his first win and will soon be over the hump."
The Cardinals resume action Friday with the Eudora Tournament of Champions at Eudora High School.