Though the seven EHS wrestling seniors will wrestle their last home matches Thursday, the successful class doesn’t plan on ending its run any time soon
It's been four years in the making, but the product is an effective eight-man senior class that has been leading one of the winningest Eudora wrestling seasons to date.
Because of that, Eudora wrestling coach Bill DeWitt said the senior class -- comprised of Michael Whitten, Matt McPeek, Kyle Scrimsher, David Westerhouse, Loni Ogden, Tim Durkin and Richard Wilks -- deserved praise.
The seniors are going to be honored at "Raise the Roof" and senior night for their dedication to the team at 5 p.m. Thursday at Eudora High School, 2203 Church St.
But the class of 2007 was not always the well-oiled machine it became.
"They've evolved tremendously," DeWitt said. "When they were freshmen, I didn't have any seniors on the team. They were thrown into the varsity lineup, and they had their lumps, but that was good for them."
And with a combined winning record of 98-36, it is evident the seniors wrestle with skill and ferocity.
It would be a mistake to say the senior class is homogenous. DeWitt said the class as a whole is diverse, and each member brings a special and invaluable aspect to the team.
DeWitt said Whitten, who wrestles at 135 pounds, was the team's leader. That trait is most likely reflected in Whitten's 16-3 season record.
"He's a kid that's been very important to the development of the program as he's really the leader," DeWitt said. "He has a tremendous work ethic, and he's vocal -- the kids listen to him."
Confidence is what 140-pound wrestler McPeek brings to the program, DeWitt said. McPeek is a well-rounded wrestler and very aggressive on the mats. McPeek has a 10-5 season record.
DeWitt said Scrimsher, who wrestles at 145 pounds and has an 11-5 record, was more of a quiet team leader. He said he expected Scrimsher to have an explosive season finale.
And then there's 152-pound Westerhouse, who has a 13-7 record.
"Of all the seniors, David Westerhouse has shown the most growth over the four years," DeWitt said. "He had never wrestled before he was a freshman. He took his lumps and found ways to improve. David epitomizes the growth you want to see in a program."
Loni Ogden is a fighter, DeWitt said. Ogden has wrestled at the same weight, 171 pounds, his entire high school tenure, and DeWitt said Ogden always battled to maintain that spot.
The 14-6 Ogden said he distinguished himself in the tough weight class by always working out.
"I usually run right before a meet to get weight," Ogden said. "I pretty much just always work hard in practices and in meets."
Perhaps the best team player is 215-pound Durkin. DeWitt said if the team was ever in a pinch, he could always rely on Durkin to amass a ton of points. That aspect is reflected in Durkin's 16-2 record, the strongest on the team. Durkin also has a very untraditional style, which can sometimes be frustrating, DeWitt said. But Durkin's attitude has never disappointed him.
Durkin said part of what makes him such a tough competitor was that he tries a lot of different moves.
"I try a lot of different things that coach doesn't necessarily teach us in practice," Durkin said. "I've been wrestling since I was six, and that's just how I learned to wrestle."
Finally, there's the heavyweight, Richard Wilks. DeWitt said Wilks was the most enjoyable athlete he's ever coached. Since this is his first year, DeWitt said the 11-8 senior lacks some natural talent, but makes up for that with ferocity on the mats.
DeWitt said the senior class was second to none.
"They bring leadership and an idea of how practices should run," DeWitt said. "When you're a senior, you always wrestle more desperately, as if there is no tomorrow, so to speak. They have that sense of urgency, and that's why they're so strong."
But in all, the class of 2007 is just a fun collection of diverse guys, DeWitt said. Their presence will be missed in future years.
"I will miss them, and I know they'll be back in future years to beat up on the other kids over breaks," DeWitt said.
Senior night and "Raise the Roof" kicks off at 5 p.m. with a fund-raiser dinner of sloppy joes, baked beans, cole slaw, chips and cookies for a donation of $5 per person. The wrestlers then hit the mats in a dual tournament against Ottawa, Wellsville and Gardner.
Proceeds from the fund-raiser, sponsored by the Eudora High School Boosters Club, will benefit the Don M. Abel Memorial Wrestling Foundation, which provides scholarships for high school seniors.