Four wrestlers qualify for state
Four wrestlers qualified for state. The team finished seventh. All in all, Saturday was a good day Tonganoxie wrestlers and their coach, Bill DeWitt.
Chris Calovich, a senior at 215 pounds, Tony Miller, a junior at 275 pounds, Mike Andrews, a junior at 152 pounds, and Bruce Walker, a freshman at 103 pounds, qualified for state.
"Bruce did a heck of a job," DeWitt said. "All four of those guys did."
It didn't look good for Tonganoxie after Friday's rounds. The team came out unprepared and lost a lot of early matches. Several of the wrestlers had to work their way through the consolation bracket to contend for a state spot.
"Those guys who qualified had to fight their way through the back side," DeWitt said.
Calovich was the exception, winning both of his matches after a first-round bye and landing in the championship match early Saturday.
Calovich finished second, losing 6-8 to Andy Potts of Anderson County. The championship match was tied 2-2 after the first period. Calovich scored on a reversal after being taken down.
In the second period, Calovich started down and scored one for an escape. After being taken down again, he scored two points for a reversal and led 5-4.
The third period started slowly. Calovich was on top and scored another point when Potts was penalized for an illegal hold. Potts scored the final four points, getting two for a reversal and two for a near fall. Calovich is 24-3.
Walker was the second Chieftain of the day to qualify for state. An 8-4 win in the consolation semifinals launched him into the arms of teammates and coaches. He finished fourth with a 4-8 loss and is now 23-12.
Mike Andrews followed Walker with a gutty performance. The referee hit the mat signaling a pin at the end of the first period of the consolation semifinals, but time had expired.
Andrews pinned his opponent with 1:10 remaining in the second period. He won his consolation final match 9-6 with three points in the third period, finishing third. Andrews is now 19-12.
Tony Miller was the fourth and final Tonganoxie wrestler to qualify. He scored a takedown in the first period of the consolation semifinals and then pinned his opponent in the second period. He was pinned in the third-place match.
Three years ago, the team finished 14th out of 16 teams at regionals, and only one wrestler qualified for state. Last year the team was 12th and three wrestlers qualified.
The future for the Tonganoxie wrestling team looks bright regardless of the outcome at state.
"Next year we bring back three guys that have been to state," DeWitt said.