Cardinal wrestlers break from funk
The Eudora wrestling team had been in somewhat of a slump.
After completing the previous two tournaments well below where the team wanted to be, the Cardinals were ready for some success similar to what they found earlier in the season.
Eudora did just that, finishing the Concordia dual tournament in third place.
Coach Bill DeWitt said he was pleased with this week's turnaround and how well the Cardinals navigated through a difficult tournament.
"Of the 47 duals, we only really had one let down, but we wrestled well," DeWitt said. "We went 5-2 against some tough teams. We actually tied for second place, but we lost the tie breaker to Chapman."
In the dual tournament, Eudora squared off against Concordia, winning 61-16; Pratt, winning 35-30; Beloit, losing 30-44; Chapman, losing 27-47; Minneapolis, winning 46-19; Sabetha, winning 45-30 and Frontier League rival Paola, beating the team 52-20. Overall, DeWitt said he was exceptionally happy with the Cardinals' dual against Concordia.
"We just hammered Concordia for a while on Friday night," DeWitt said.
What DeWitt said was more gratifying than any win or individual result was the fact the whole varsity lineup was present and healthy, at least going into the tournament. Max Campbell and Richard Wilks suffered minor injuries during their matches and DeWitt pulled them out of the lineup. But he said it was just as a precaution, ensuring they would be healthy for more important bouts as the season winds down.
It was mostly the same crew placing high for Eudora. Travis Clarke, Jake Love and Cody Salzman earned second place in the 130-pound class, 160 and the 103 divisions, respectively.
DeWitt said he was impressed by Love's matches this weekend and saw his performance on the mats improving.
"Love is about one of the best wrestlers you'll ever find if matches were only four minutes," DeWitt said. "He just needs to be more confident in the third period. We'll just have to work on his conditioning. In fact, I don't think he has any idea how good he can be."
Evan Meyers finished third in the 189-pound division, as did a now healthy 171-pound Loni Ogden.
And wrestling tournaments just would not be complete without a Tim Durkin domination. After posting a perfect 7-0 record during the dual, Durkin finished in first place at 215 pounds.
DeWitt also said 119-pound Alex Tacke wrestled with a lot of ferocity in Concordia and should have earned a place, but ultimately saw only a 4-3 record. He also said another wrestler who's record was not reflective of his effort was Jackson Wiley.
"Wiley went 0-7, but 112 pounds was just a buzz saw," DeWitt said. "He wrestled hard on the mat but couldn't get any breaks. Despite his record, I'm pleased with him."
The Concordia dual tournament marked the beginning of the end of Eudora's regular season. DeWitt said although the team had two more duals -- one in Anderson County Thursday and another in Paola Wednesday -- the team really had the Feb. 16 and 17 regional tournament circled on its calendar.
"I feel real confident," DeWitt said. "League is nice and important, but not as important as the following weekend. Our ultimate goal is to win the regional championship. It's going to be tough because we have to wrestle Chapman again."