Wrestlers surprise at Fort Scott regional
Five Cards qualify for state
After a strong showing at the Frontier League meet last week, the Eudora wrestling squad hoped to take that momentum into the 4A regionals at Fort Scott.
The Cardinals rode into Fort Scott hoping to improve on last year's effort that put one wrestler in the state finals. They left town with a third-place team finish and five wrestlers headed to the 4A state tournament in Wichita.
"I'm so happy for these guys right now," coach Bill DeWitt said. "They worked hard and kept focused. I'm so satisfied with their effort. It was amazing."
Junior Miles Cleveland and sophomore Tim Durkin will join Eudora seniors Josh Barr, Andy Coffman and William Bock this weekend in Wichita.
Coffman was the first Cardinal to punch his ticket for Wichita, as he swept through the 130-pound bracket to take first place. The bracket culminated with Coffman's championship win over Hunter Samuels of Tonganoxie.
"What can I say about Andy Coffman?" DeWitt said. "He's been setting the tone all year."
In the 135-pound bracket, Cleveland kept the coaches on the edge of their seats with three straight overtime matches to claim first place in the bracket.
"Miles kept everybody on edge," DeWitt said. "That's the kind of energy you want in a tournament like this."
Cleveland defeated K.C. Piper's Stephen Kerns 2-1 in double overtime, Basehor-Linwood's Dustin Sullivan 12-8 in overtime and finished off his first-place run with another 2-1 double overtime win against Josh Kohn of Baldwin. Cleveland faced Kohn twice this season and lost both times.
Coach DeWitt saw Cleveland's performance as a sign of things to come.
"It's good to know that a guy who has grown so much since I've been here will be around to lead this team as a senior."
Barr took his 31-3 record into the 189-pound bracket and came out with another first-place finish for the Cardinals. The senior pinned his first two opponents and finished off his berth at state with an 8-3 decision over Louisburg's Chad Roberts.
"Josh was a little frustrated that he didn't pin him (Roberts)," DeWitt said. "He hopes to go out and pin everybody, but in competition like this, that can't always happen."
Tim Durkin fell to John Paul Horsch of Fort Scott in the third-place match 8-0, but by capturing fourth place he earned a trip to Wichita in the 171-pound weight class.
"It's good to see a guy with a five-hundred record get into state," DeWitt said. "Tim wrestled well and didn't give up."
The story of the day for the Cardinals however, was the effort of senior William Bock. Bock entered regionals with a 15-19 record and fought his way to a third-place finish in the 160-pound class.
"Bock's effort was incredible," DeWitt said. "With him being a senior and all, it was great to see him come back like that."
The season had been up and down for Bock, as he struggled to find any consistency from match to match.
"During the season I'd get the ball rolling," Bock said. "But then I would run into a good wrestler and lose. After those matches I'd get down on myself."
The senior wrestler began his bronze run with a loss, but soon regrouped to win four straight. He pinned K.C. Ward's Blake Hackinsky to claim third.
"After that first match I told myself that there was no way that I was losing the next one," Bock said.
Bock won by decisions in his next two matches before pinning Louisburg's Jason Berve to clinch his place in Wichita.
The Cardinals had chances to add to the number of wrestlers going to state. Senior Chris Durkin and sophomore Matt McPeek each came within one match of qualifying.
Durkin fell to De Soto's Alex Mercer, while McPeek lost to Piper's Chad Shore in a close 10-7 decision.
"Matt's match was especially heartbreaking," DeWitt said. "He'd fought so hard to get there and to be on the verge of state after having a losing record was a good accomplishment."
As the five Cardinals head to state this weekend, the head coach couldn't help but reflect what his team had achieved over the course of the season and at Fort Scott.
"We just stuck to our philosophy of not being outworked," he said. "None of these guy were outworked this weekend and that makes me as satisfied as anything."