Wrestlers finish in third at Holton
With fewer than a handful of matches left before the post-season, Tonganoxie's high school wrestling team can look back at a successful season up to this point.
Besides its 5-3 duel record, the team boasts top three finishes in each of its three tournaments, including a first at Onaga, a second at its home meet and a third-place finish Saturday at Holton.
Earning 159 points, the team finished six points out of first and a half-point out of second at the tournament.
"Deep down I'm a little disappointed, and I think the kids are disappointed," said Coach Bill DeWitt. "We could have won that tournament, but I'm still pleased The kids fought hard."
One wrestler who fought hard was junior Josh Ferris, who captured his second tournament championship in a row.
Wrestling at 125 pounds, Ferris went 3-0 on the way to the victory. The win pushed his overall record to 14-4.
Several other wrestlers did well at the tournament. In fact, the Chieftains had 10 top-four finishers.
Freshman Chad Starcher took second place at 103 pounds, finishing 1-1 for the day. At 160 pounds, senior Mike Andrews finished 2-1 for second place. At 140 pounds, senior Willy Altman went 3-1 on the day on his way to a bronze medal.
Juniors Steve Adcox 145 pounds and Pat Weyer 152 pounds both finished fourth, with Adcox going 2-2 and Weyer finishing 3-2.
Also finishing fourth for Tonganoxie: Freshman Matt Weyer at 171 pounds, sophomore Andrew Miller at 189 pounds, sophomore James Hartshorn at 215 pounds and senior heavyweight Tony Miller. Weyer and Hartshorn finished 3-2, while the Miller brothers both finished 2-2.
Even though several individuals did well at the tournament, DeWitt said the team could have done better.
"In the past, when the numbers were low, we focused more on the individual," he said. "Now we need to get into the attitude that every wrestler in every minute of every match needs to realize that what he's doing is important."
Looking ahead to the beginning of the post-season at the Kaw Valley League meet in early February at Basehor-Linwood, DeWitt said that besides working on strategies and conditioning, there isn't much his team needs to do to prepare.
He said that, at this point in the season, the Tonganoxie High wrestlers were physically about as prepared as they could be.
He said that the biggest asset for his team going in to post-season would be motivation.
For this team, he said, it shouldn't be a problem.
"The seniors should know that this is their last shot and should be able to motivate themselves," DeWitt said. "As for the younger wrestlers, it's every wrestler's goal to get to state, so everybody should be motivated."
The wrestling team's next action will be 9 a.m. Saturday at Osawatomie.