Wrestlers pin first tourney in decade
According to Tonganoxie High School wrestling Coach Bill DeWitt, the Chieftains haven't won a wrestling tournament in nearly a decade.
Or at least they hadn't.
On Saturday, the team traveled to Onaga and returned champions after tearing through the 13-team field and beating the closest team by 36 points.
DeWitt said he was happy to see the depth of talent on the team, which placed 10 wrestlers in the top four, including two first-place finishers.
"We really put up a solid team effort," DeWitt said. "All the kids wrestled strong."
DeWitt gave much of the credit for the increased success of the wrestling program to all the parents who support the team and to Assistant Coach Dean Moss who, along with DeWitt, has worked to teach local children wrestling fundamentals at an earlier age, through the junior high school program.
The Onaga tournament served as a measuring stick for Tonganoxie, because the field is the same every year.
In 1997, during DeWitt's first year as the team's coach, the Chieftains finished in last place with 21 points.
This year's tournament championship team earned 145.5 points. Wrestlers who earned individual championship in their weight classes were Willy Altman, who earned his gold in the 140-pound division, and Mike Andrews, who did likewise at 160.
In the junior varsity meet, Derek Terry won the 189-pound division, and Jerad Starcher earned his medal at 275.
But DeWitt warned not to put too much weight on this early season win.
"We have a long way to go, but this is certainly a step in the right direction," he said. "But you know how the saying goes, 'It's not how you start, it's how you finish.'"
The team's next tournament is a league double duel against Santa Fe Trail and Piper at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Piper.
Wrestling Web site
For parents and fans who want up-to-date information on the Tonganoxie High School wrestling team, information now is just a point and click away.
That's because the wrestling team now has its own home page at http://homepages.go.com/~wpdewitt/thswrestling.html.
At the site, fans can find schedules, statistics, complete tournament results, information on individual Tonganoxie wrestlers and the team's philosophy.
DeWitt said the site will be updated every couple of days.