Long trip pays off for wrestlers
It was a long bus ride to last weekend's Concordia Dual Tournament for the Eudora Cardinal wrestling team, almost four hours on a bus over two different stretches of Kansas highways.
But after some disappointing outings over the last few weeks, a long ride is just what the team may have needed.
"When we get on that long ride out in the middle of nowhere, really the only thing you have to do is wrestle," Eudora coach Bill DeWitt said. "They know there's no distractions, because they're not going to get home early and make other plans."
The focus generated by the lengthy travel time turned into results on the wrestling mats as the Cardinals came away from the seven-team dual tournament with five placers over the two-day event.
"The kids wrestled really well for this tournament," DeWitt said. "It's giving them the kind of confidence they're going to need as we move on to regionals later in the month."
The Cardinals finished fifth in the dual standings with a 2-4 overall record. The placement came behind a logjam of schools that finished 4-2.
The Cardinals dropped their first match against fourth-place finisher Concordia, 45-27. The match-up featured a 1-0 loss by Miles Cleveland in the 140-pound class that proved pivotal. Cleveland took third for the tournament.
Eudora moved on to the second round and bounced back with a 47-21 victory over Pratt before dropping a close round-three match with second-place Beloit, 39-37.
"We had an opportunity to win that match," DeWitt said. "We have some kids who need to learn the difference between losing by decision or by a pin. A pin is six points and made the difference in the match."
The Cardinals took another dual loss in round four with a slim 34-33 loss to third-place Chapman.
Eudora got back into the win column with a 39-36 win over Minneapolis before falling in Saturday's final round 38-27 to Paola, the eventual tournament champs.
"We wrestled them pretty well," DeWitt said. "We were leading them by a point going into our last two matches and came up short. But we wrestled well, I was pleased."
Individually the Cardinals added four more placers to join Cleveland at the tournament's end.
In the 189-pound class, junior Tim Durkin went 5-1 for the tournament to capture second place, while sophomore Evan Meyers did likewise in the 215-pound group.
Junior Michael Whitten took second place in the 135-pound with a 5-1 record. Whitten's only loss came to the Class 3A's top-ranked wrestler, Bradley Eskroel.
Kyle Scrimsher took second-place in the 145-pound class with a 5-1 record.
The Cardinals will face De Soto and Anderson County in a dual Thursday at De Soto.