Wrestlers maintain fast pace at tourney
Even with a difficult weekend schedule, the Eudora wrestling team managed to end two events near the top, despite acquiring some bruises along the way.
Eudora took two of three duals at its Jan. 4 senior night quadrangular, then was edged into second place at a weekend tournament. Neither perfect, but both rife with highlights, Eudora coach Bill Dewitt said.
Tim Durkin got things started right when he racked up six points in the 215-pound bracket at the quadrangular by pinning his Ottawa opponent in one minute, 10 seconds in the first dual of the night. The Ottawa dual's winner was to be decided by the heavyweight match, however, and even though the Cardinals didn't get a win in that bracket, Richard Wilks did what he had to do to put Eudora on top for the dual.
Battling stomach flu, Wilks lost, but by avoiding being pinned he helped Eudora to a 36-33 victory.
"He lost the battle but won the war," DeWitt said. "He wasn't feeling well, but because of his effort, he fought hard and ended up preserving the dual for us."
The Cardinals ended the night beating Wellsville 54-15, but losing to Gardner 41-26. DeWitt said the loss came as a result of Eudora just not securing enough pins.
Eudora then entered the ring for the Bonner Springs Invitational tournament. The Bonner tournament was more successful than the duel tournament two days before, with Eudora finishing in second place among 12 teams and just two points behind Bellevue East from Nebraska.
"We got second with 207 points," DeWitt said. "We led the entire way but we just didn't catch any breaks in the last round. We just didn't wrestle well in the entire six minutes.
"If you take care of business early, then you don't have to worry about another team sneaking up on you. We just have to wrestle tougher."
Another factor that most likely led to the second-place finish was the absence of strong wrestlers Loni Ogden and David Westerhouse because of injuries. Ogden was injured at practice Friday following the senior night tournament. Westerhouse injured his shoulder in the first round of the Bonner tournament and couldn't wrestle the rest of the way. DeWitt said he expected Ogden to return to the mats this week, but he said Westerhouse would miss a few more weeks following shoulder surgery.
"It's wrestling. You get injured," DeWitt said. "I'm just glad to get them back before the end of the season."
Individually, Durkin and Evan Meyers placed first in the tournament, each going 3-0 in the final round. Matt McPeek, Michael Whitten and Wilks finished second in their brackets. Travis Clarke was well on his way to first place, winning in the finals match 11-0, but he was pinned in the final 10 seconds.
Cody Salzman, Kyle Scrimsher, Jake Love and Chase Rust, who was in for Ogden, each finished fourth.
Despite the full weekend schedule, DeWitt said it better prepared the team for future tournaments, like the state meet.
"It lets us go into practice and get focused," DeWitt said. "It just helps motivate us. It's just a really busy schedule, but before we know it, it's all over.
"I don't want to be sitting in March saying, 'We should have done this or that.'"
The Cardinals will get even more big-tournament experience this weekend at the Bobcat Invitational tournament at Basehor-Linwood High School.
DeWitt said the tournament will be the most difficult of the season and could even rival the state meet in February.
With teams like Glenwood from Iowa, St. Thomas Aquinas, who bested Eudora at the Eudora Invitational last month, Goodland, Baldwin, Lansing and Santa Fe Trail, DeWitt said his team would have to stay focused and only have winning on its mind.
"We're really going to find out just what type of team we are," DeWitt said. "With 24 teams, it's going to be very difficult."