Santa Fe Trail throttles Chieftain grapplers
Chieftains upend Piper, but Chargers overcome ealry deficit and win league duals
Chieftain wrestlers had to feel good early on Thursday when they led state powerhouse Santa Fe Trail 12-9 in Tonganoxie's only home dual of the season.
Tonganoxie High had undefeated Ross Starcher and brother Chad, who had lost just twice, set to go next in the 135-pound and 140-pound divisions respectively.
But the talented brothers lost their matches to the Charger opponents, and a snowball effect left Tonganoxie with six straight losses before Chuck Riddle earned a decision against Trail's Travis Kurtz in the 189 division. Santa Fe Trail went on to win the dual, 51-21.
THS coach Jeremy Goebel treated the loss as a wake-up call for the rest of the season.
"It's going to be a blessing in disguise," THS coach Jeremy Goebel said after suffering the 30-point loss. "This match will set the tone for the rest of the season.
After the loss, the Chieftains responded later that night with a 60-20 victory against Piper. In that dual, Tonganoxie recorded 10 wins, as all were pins. After registering just five victories against Santa Fe Trail, the Chieftains came back with wins by Hunter Samuels (112), Andy Koontz (forfeit, 119), Garrett Palmer (130), Ross Starcher (135), Chad Starcher (140), Jerry Hartshorn (152), Matt Weyer (171), James Hartshorn (215) and Andrew Miller (forfeit, 275).
At the winter break, the Chieftains have a 9-2 record, along with a second-place finish in the Atchison Tournament and a No. 3 finish in the Sabetha Tri-State Classic to their credit.
Junior varsity wrestlers will be back in action Jan. 4 at a tournament in Leavenworth and again Jan. 9 in Leavenworth against Immaculata. The varsity also will compete Jan. 9 at Immaculata, while the Salina South Tournament greets them Jan. 11. The junior varsity will be at the Piper Tournament that day.