Clarke, Meyers continue to lead Cardinal wrestlers
Open weight classes continued to haunt the Cardinals wrestling squad over the weekend, but again Eudora got good showings out of seniors Travis Clarke, Evan Meyers and Jake Love to take seventh place as a team at the Bonner Springs Tournament.
After winning one dual Thursday at Ottawa against Wellsville and dropping one to Gardner, Clarke and Meyers each took second place in their weight classes while Love finished third in a tournament consisting of 12 teams.
"Our week was fair," coach Bill DeWitt said. "We were open at 103, 130, 171, 215 and heavyweight, so that many open weights, I was pretty bummed."
One of those open weights was senior Chase Rust at 171. He made weight two days previously but then failed to make weight by weigh-in time for the Bonner Tourney.
"That's hard to make weight and then turn around and have to do it two days later," DeWitt said. "But he'll get it back."
The wrestlers resumed their season after winter break with the two duals Thursday. Open weights again plagued them, and this time it was Love who came back a bit over his 160-pound threshold.
That meant at Ottawa the team, as with other duals this season, gave up 18 points per dual. The Cardinals still hung on to beat Wellsville, but DeWitt said those open weights kept Wellsville in the dual for longer than Eudora would have liked.
"It's becoming less and less of a problem, Cody (Salzman, sophomore) will probably be at 103 by the end of practice today," DeWitt said. "But I still won't have a heavyweight. For some reason none of the bigger kids want to come out. Maybe it's too much work."
Another source of DeWitt's frustration, aside from wanting to win every match his team wrestles, was that at the Bonner Tournament he felt his team was outworked at times.
Possibly that could be because many of the kids missed time over break traveling to see family, but it's something DeWitt feels is under his control so it's a little bit personal.
One kid who didn't get outworked was junior Jackson Wiley at 119 pounds. Wiley found himself down by three points in the third period when he managed a takedown. He then put his opponent on his back for the pin and six points for his team.
"He works his tail off every match," DeWitt said, "and that's the kind of thing you want."
Other bright spots were sophomore Jon Chumbley at 112, junior Derek Schrimsher at 145 and senior Erik Ahlen at 135 pounds. All managed to win a match and points for the team.
"It was real good for Chumbley because he'd never won a varsity match and was behind but kept working to the end and got a pin," DeWitt said. "He was pretty pumped up. It was pretty exciting."
Another positive was the JV squad's success at Piper's JV tournament. The team went 31-5 overall, and freshman Boomer Mays continued his success on the year. He went 3-0 at Piper to improve his overall record to 14-2.
"It's kind of getting late in the year," DeWitt said of a possible addition of Mays to the varsity squad. "If I didn't have a 171 (Chase Rust's weight), Boomer could fill that spot and probably have a pretty respectable record. He's a tough kid and works his tail off in practice."
DeWitt sees the junior varsity level as a place to polish technique and learn to be more aggressive and dominate on the mat. A wrestler can get away with more mistakes at the junior varsity level, so in order to let some of his younger guys flush out some of their shortcomings, he's sent them to JV meets, sometimes at the detriment to the varsity team's record.
An extremely tough tournament, the Bobcat Invitational at Basehor-Linwood, awaits the varsity team Friday and Saturday, and DeWitt is eager to get more people into formerly absent weight slots and assess exactly what he could for a product come sub-state and state tournament time.
"All the big dogs are there. Goddard is nationally ranked, Abilene, Garden City, St. Thomas Aquinas. If you place at this tournament you have an excellent opportunity to place at the state tournament," he said.
Twenty-eight teams will take part, with action beginning Friday at noon.