Wrestlers hope success carries into regionals
After finishing fourth a year ago at the Frontier League tournament, the Eudora wrestlers took a step forward over the weekend at De Soto High School in the league meet, finishing third out of the eight teams in the league.
Coach Bill DeWitt said he hopes that success can carry over into regionals, which begin at 2 p.m. Friday and conclude Saturday. Eudora plays host to a field of 15 opponents Friday and Saturday.
"If we can pick up where we left off," DeWitt said, "you have to feel pretty good about regionals."
As a team Eudora finished behind Gardner Edgerton and Baldwin, but edged out Spring Hill by six-and-one-half points for the third-place finish.
Individually, Cody Salzman was the lone Cardinals wrestler to end the day atop the medal stand, beating his Gardner opponent 13-9 in the championship.
"I was expecting him to get some takedowns, but I was able to block those," Salzman said. "That (first place) was my goal."
Eudora also had second place finishes by seniors Jake Love, wrestling at 160 pounds, and Evan Meyers, who battled the flu throughout the tournament.
"He wanted to be there for his team and compete. He wasn't worried about taking a loss or hurting his seed for regionals," DeWitt said. "You've got to love that."
Third-place finishers were seniors Travis Clarke and Chase Rust and freshman Caleb Clayton-Molby, who bumped up to 215 pounds for the tournament.
Molby saw his first action of the season in a varsity tournament after wrestling for most of the season at 189.
"He's giving up about 30 pounds. That was impressive," DeWitt said. "He practices with seniors everyday, so wrestling upper classmen, that's not going to worry him. It was exciting to see a freshman do that."
Getting third place is something DeWitt has been focusing on with his team. In order to do so, a wrestler must bounce back from an early loss and win matches being out of the running for first. It can do wonders for a team when it come to points, and it made all the difference in the league. It gave Eudora 12 extra points and helped the Cardinals stay ahead of Spring Hill.
Three Eudora wrestlers failed to win their third-place match, but still managed victories throughout the consolation bracket to get to the medal stand.
Junior Max Campbell finished fourth, falling 13-4 to his Baldwin opponent after tweaking a knee injury in the early going. Campbell is back from an ACL injury he suffered a year ago.
Fellow junior Jackson Wiley also finished fourth, as did sophomore Jon Chumbley.
"We were competitive every time we got out on the mat, and that's what I want to see," DeWitt said. "This weekend, we'll get after it. And we will put ourselves in position to qualify for state."