Wrestlers to open at Hiawatha
No more wrestling teammates. No more sweating on the mat and repeating a move an interminable number of times until the coaches, still unhappy, say let's do something else.
The Tonganoxie varsity wrestlers get their first taste of action Thursday at Hiawatha. The double dual begins at 5:30 p.m.
Tonganoxie will wrestle Hiawatha, which traditionally has a strong 4A team, and Royal Valley, a strong 3A program.
Bill DeWitt, Tonganoxie wrestling coach, said he was pleased with the boys' work ethic in practice.
"We're just young, real raw," he said.
Tonganoxie finished fifth in the Kaw Valley League last season. The Chieftains were 5-7 last year.
DeWitt is in his third season coaching Tonganoxie. Dean Moss is the assistant wrestling coach, and community members including Dan Fire also volunteer their time with the wrestlers.
Senior Chris Calovich is a returning state qualifier. He will wrestle at 215 this winter.
Two juniors are also among Tonganoxie's better wrestlers. Mike Andrews, 152, and Willy Altman, 140, should make an impact according to Dewitt.
Josh Ferris, a 119-pound sophomore, rounds out the top returners.
Pat Weyer, a 160-pound sophomore, and Steve Adcox, a 145-pound sophomore, could be among the better newcomers on the team.
The youth could hurt the Chieftain's record early in the season, but the varsity experience will only make the younger wrestlers better as they mature and compete more.
DeWitt said he is optimistic that the team will grow stronger as the season progresses.
Results from the first junior varsity and freshmen wrestling meets have been encouraging. The younger wrestlers have been pinning and beating opponents early in the season. The junior high wrestlers are competing well too.
The JV wrestlers competed Dec. 4 at the Santa Fe Trail Shoot-out. There were no places or team scores kept at the competition.
Everyone wrestled well according to DeWitt. Several wrestlers competed in heavier weight brackets to get experience against tougher competition.
Jake Cobb and Jeremiah Ferris each won two matches and didn't lose any matches.
The freshmen competed Dec. 1 at Lawrence's West Junior High School.
No team scores were kept, but Tonganoxie wrestlers fared well, bringing home three first-place finishes, three second-place finishes and a third-place finish.
Placing first and finishing 4-0 were Bruce Walker, Andrew Miller and Jake Cobb.
Chuck Riddle, Derek Terry and Jimmy Winkler each placed second with 3-1 records.
Elzy Folsom placed third at 2-2. John Bretthauer finished 1-3, and Jeremiah Ferris finished 0-4.
The junior high wrestling team competed against Lawrence, Eudora and Basehor-Linwood Nov. 22 at Linwood.
Chad Starcher, Hunter Samuels and Ross Starcher remain undefeated for the Warriors this season.
Against Basehor-Linwood, the team was 5-8. Against Lawrence, Tonganoxie was 6-3.
Jerry Hartshorn and Joe Calovich won by pins. Matt Ellison had a pin, and Kaleb Lawrence won a 7-0 decision.
Clay Lamb, Matt Weyer, and Joe Guinn also won by pins.
The Warriors finish their season Dec. 11 at the Bonner Springs Invitational.
Twelve area teams will compete at the tournament. Eighth-grader Chad Starcher is a defending champion in his weight class at the Bonner tournament.