Wrestlers improve in front of home crowd
Compared to the results from a year ago, the Cardinal wrestling team made a big improvement in front of the home crowd over the weekend as eight of 11 Cardinals placed in the 25-team Eudora Tournament of Champions.
Last year Eudora sent only four wrestlers to the second day bracket round of the tournament and the improved showing meant a lot to the head coach.
"They've definitely improved," Eudora coach Bill DeWitt said. "They've improved a lot over the last year. And to have doubled the number of guys making it into the brackets of this tournament shows we've made some progress."
In the 112-pound group, freshman Max Campbell continued to improve with an eight place finish, while sophomore Travis Clarke built more momentum in the young season with a seventh-place showing at 130 pounds.
"Travis wrestled well," DeWitt said. "He continues to improve and I think he'll be tough at the end of the year."
Fifth place in the 140-pound class went to junior Michael Whitten, while senior Miles Cleveland ran into a snag on his way, placing seventh at 145.
The senior went through Friday's pool play undefeated, but in his first match on Saturday, committed an illegal slam that cost him the match.
"He knew he made a mistake," DeWitt said. "He got overly aggressive out there and I think it affected his focus the rest of the way."
Junior Kyle Scrimsher improved his season record to 9-4 with a seventh-place finish in the 152-pound bracket. Sophomore Jacob Love also garnered a seventh-place medal at 160.
The Cardinal to make the furthest push into the bracket round was junior Tim Durkin. The run took Durkin all the way to the championship match in the 189-pound class where he fell in a decision to Holton's Jesse Strawn, the nation's eighth-ranked wrestler at that class. Durkin took home the second place medal.
"Tim did a great job," DeWitt said. "He wrestled tough all the way through, but unfortunately he ran into one of the best wrestlers around."
Sophomore Evan Meyers continued the trend of improving Cardinal wrestlers with a fifth place finish at 215-pounds. Meyers scored a first period pin over Prairie View's Shawn Rybolt to capture the medal. His efforts and improvement merited the title of the Cardinals "Wrestler of the Week".
As a team the Cardinals finished 11th for the tournament with 149 points with Lansing taking the crown with 280.
Next up for the Cardinals is a Saturday trip to Emporia for the Winter Classic. The tournament will feature two of the top five squads in 4A in Andale and Abilene.
"I'm looking forward to this tournament," DeWitt said. "It kind of grounds us before the break and keeps us from getting complacent with the long layoff."