Wrestlers take second in Atchison
Tonganoxie wrestling coach Bill De Witt said before the season that his team would start competing in tougher tournaments.
The Chieftains stacked up to the competition well in its first "new" tournament.
Competing in the Atchison Tournament for the first time, THS went 4-1. The Chieftains handled Benton, Mo., (78-6), Center, Mo.,(62-18) and Gardner-Edgerton (58-16). THS also defeated Hiawatha, 48-34, but lost to Atchison, 42-31.
"It was pretty good for a first time out," DeWitt said. "Everybody finished where I thought they would. Obviously the kids were rusty their first time on the mat."
Tonganoxie had five wrestlers start the season 5-0. Hunter Samuels (103 lbs.), Russ Starcher (112), Josh Ferris (125), Steve Adcox (145) and Andrew Miller (189).
The Chieftains also had two second-place finishes in Chad Starcher (119) and Matt Weyer (171). Both finished 4-1, while Travis Andrews, who stepped into the 135-pound division, finished third.
"He had given up 10 pounds," De Witt said. "He went 3-2 and finished third. That's pretty impressive on his part."
The Atchison Tournament involved six teams and five duals, the most a team can have in one tournament under Kansas State High School Activities Association rules.
DeWitt said defeating the traditionally strong host school was possible.
"I thought we had a chance to maybe beat Atchison and win the thing," De Witt said. "It could have gone either way really. They're a pretty good team."
The Chieftains will compete against two more strong teams Thursday. THS will wrestle Hiawatha again, along with Royal Valley, the No. 7 team in Class 3A.
"It's a very strong dual," DeWitt said. "It will let us know where we're at."
The junior varsity also opened the season Saturday at Santa Fe Trail. Andy Koontz (103) and Adam Hamby (152) went 3-0 and took first place in their divisions, while Brad Nichols (125) took second with a 2-1 record.
Both varsity and junior varsity teams will be in action Thursday for the home meet and Saturday at the Onaga Tournament. Some other schools at that tournament are Belleville, Silver Lake, Wabaunsee, Immaculata and Hayden.