Wrestlers move banquet for coach’s newborn girl
Tonganoxie's annual high school wrestling banquet reflected the teams' season slightly later than planned this year.
The banquet was originally scheduled for March 7, but Chieftain coach Bill DeWitt's wife, Amy, was expecting their second child, so the banquet was moved to March 12.
The DeWitt's child, though, followed her schedule.
Sophia Marie DeWitt was born March 8 her due date. The couple's second daughter weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 20.5 inches long.
Bill said he was obviously preoccupied recently, but was able to spend a few hours with his team at the banquet.
Tonganoxie completed the season with a 12-3 dual record and finished second in three tournaments.
The Chieftains also took first in the Onaga Classic and third in the Kaw Valley League Tournament.
Freshman Ross Starcher posted a 32-9 record, setting a new team record for wins. Brian Keitzman set the previous record in 1996 with 31 wins. Senior Steve Adcox (31-7) and junior James Hartshorn (31-9) also tied the previous record this year.
The Chieftains sent four wrestlers to state, but only James Hartshorn came away with wins.
Hartshorn went 2-2 in Wichita, while Starcher, freshman Andy Koontz and senior Pat Weyer landed state berths, but didn't record wins.
DeWitt, though, looks for strong performances next year as six of the team's top nine record leaders return next year.
"You have a real opportunity next year to become an exceptional team," DeWitt said to his wrestlers at the banquet.
During the past few years, the Chieftain wrestling program has grown stronger, DeWitt said.
"In the past, people wanted us to show up because they could beat the snot out of us," DeWitt said.
Now, the Chieftains are on the winning side more often.
Along with the team's 30-win Club members this season, four wrestlers earned Chieftain Heart awards, which are determined by how much additional conditioning team members do after practice.
Senior Josh Ferris, sophomore Garrett Palmer, freshmen Hunter Samuels and Koontz received this year's Chieftain Heart awards.
The Fastest Pin Award was also presented this year, as junior Andrew Miller recorded a pin in seven seconds, breaking his brother Tony's previous record of nine seconds.
Tony graduated last year and now plays football at Fort Scott Community College.
"Andrew learned a takedown that didn't involve taking a guy's head off," DeWitt said.
After awards and letters were presented, the banquet concluded with a highlight video.