The Fly Route
Some thoughts gathered after a long time spent watching wrestling over the last two weekends:
- I could come up with a long and detailed list of reasons as to why I'd never make a good wrestler, but the chin in the back might top the list. Bent, squished and folded into positions not natural -- I could handle that. But count me out when some guy starts jabbing his pointy chin through my spine.
- I wrote a few weeks ago about the pictures I took at last year's state tournament, commenting on how downtrodden the Eudora wrestlers looked in them.
Upon further review, I think I wasn't entirely correct in my analysis that this year's tournament will yield happier pictures. The Eudora wrestlers just don't appear to take great pictures.
It's not that there's anything wrong with anyone, just that some of them greet each move with an eye-popping wince. No matter if they are winning or losing, they look like they're being tortured 14th-century style.
Senior Tim Durkin might be the worst. The 215-pound championship match at the league tournament had to be stopped three times as Durkin bled from the nose like he'd been shot.
It's alright guys -- it does look tough.
- They look tough and the Cardinals wrestle tough. They don't always win -- five to state was on the low end of what Eudora coach Bill DeWitt said he was hoping for a few weeks ago. But they never quit and rarely lose early in a match. Of the 21 matches Eudora wrestlers lost at regionals, 12 were pins and only three came in the first round.
Time and time again the Cardinals showed they had the skills and the toughness to at least compete, even when an opponent outmatched them.
- Looking at the results reveals that pins were even less common among the team's seniors. That's not only a testament to their skills, but to the job DeWitt and his staff have done over the years.
- If Las Vegas took bets on high school wrestling, I might put a little money on Travis Clarke. Watching him Friday at regionals, Clarke defined the never-give-up persistence the whole team seemed to take pride in.
Clarke had two leads big enough to win in a match early Friday against Nathan Cooper of Santa Fe Trail. He lost two points to illegal holds and was tied twice, including at 10-10 in the final few seconds of the third round. He still bounced back and did what he needed to do in overtime.
Once Clarke got to the finals, he lost to Baldwin's Kevin Callahan 3-1. Disappointing sure, but Callahan beat his first two opponents in less than two total minutes and beat his third 17-0.
Callahan was runner-up at state last year in the 125-pound bracket. Losing 3-1 is nothing to be embarrassed about, and it could set Clarke up for a fun revenge match sometime at state. Clarke can only hope he'll get the chance -- the pair can't meet again until the state championship match.
Good luck, Cardinals.