SFT claims sixth straight title
An extended excursion in a large yellow bus is just part of what's become a dominating journey for Santa Fe Trail.
The Chargers, who average about an hour or more driving time for each road competition in the Kaw Valley League, hit the trail Saturday for Piper and the KVL wrestling tournament.
After claiming four first-place and four second-place medals in the meet, Trail captured its sixth straight conference crown with 196 points. New league member Bonner Springs was second with 179.
"We're just so used to traveling to these towns all the time," SFT coach Regan Erickson said.
The Charger coach doesn't really compare title performances, but said he was pleased with this year's effort, especially with Bonner Springs in the mix.
"I knew Bonner had a heck of a team," Erickson said.
Both teams had 10 grapplers medal, but the Chargers had four first-place finishers compared to the Braves' one.
Lorenzo Mundy (11-5) in the 103, Charlie Fulton (22-8) in the 125, Max Connelly (25-9) in the 135 and Chad Schmale (22-3) in the 140 grabbed gold medals for Trail.
Lansing (135) took third and Basehor-Linwood (122) placed fourth in the meet, while Tonganoxie took fourth with the return of a familiar face.
Coach Jeremy Goebel, who was called up in the Army National Guard recently, finished up with daily activities early at his Olathe base and was present for the consolation and championship matches.
Goebel watched James Hartshorn (27-5) win the 215-pound class with a 6-5 decision against Trail's Dustin DeWitt and Andrew Miller (25-9) win the 275 with a pin.
Miller registered his victory in the opening seconds against Bonner Springs' Brad Rittinghouse (15-14).
The first-year Tonganoxie coach entered the Piper gym in his fatigues before changing into a Chieftain T-shirt for the matches. Goebel will leave the area in a few days for a base on the East Coast.
Tonganoxie scored 108.5 points Saturday, while Mill Valley and De Soto, which both feature undefeated wrestlers, were sixth and seventh respectively with 85 and 70.
Mill Valley senior Eric Pingleton registered the Jaguars' lone gold medal with a 14-1 major decision against Bonner Springs' Jeff Burns. Pingleton is now 33-0.
De Soto's only gold medal came from freshman Neil Erisman, who improved to 27-0 with a pin against Trail's Travis Eden (30-5).
"He's the most intense kid I've ever worked with," said De Soto coach Eric DeYoe. "He beat an extremely good kid in Eden from Santa Fe Trail."
Perry-Lecompton finished the tournament in eighth with 32 points. Dustin Wellthall (9-12) took third in the 145 and Pat Ketter (18-11) was fourth in the 215 for the Kaws.