Starcher stuns defending 6A state champion
Senior takes second at Baldwin Invitational after major victory; Palmer also lands second place at tourney
Ross Starcher knocked off one giant at the talent-packed Baldwin Invitational.
The Tonganoxie senior just couldn't take care of the second.
Starcher defeated Shawnee Mission West's Brian Sondregger, whose lone loss before Saturday was to Santa Fe Trail's Justin Wiscombe.
In Saturday's 171-pound championship match, Starcher faced Wiscombe, who dealt Starcher one of two losses before the Baldwin Invitational this season.
Starcher had a 2-1 lead on his league rival, but Wiscombe eventually handed the THS senior his third loss of the season. The Santa Fe Trail senior pinned Starcher 19 seconds into the second period.
"I thought we were going to win that last match after we scored first, the kid just caught us," THS coach Jeremy Goebel said. "There wasn't much we could do."
Wiscombe, last year's Class 4A 152-pound runner-up, defeated Sondregger two weeks ago at the Bobcat Classic at Basehor-Linwood.
Sondregger, the only SM West wrestler competing at Baldwin, beefed up an already-talented 171-pound bracket.
Starcher, however, spoiled a likely Sondregger-Wiscombe rematch.
"That was a big win," Goebel said. "That was probably the biggest win in Ross' career. That was huge."
With the second-place finish, Starcher improved to 26-3 overall on the season.
In Tonganoxie's other championship match, Garrett Palmer faced Abilene's Nathan Jenne in the 145 finals, but Palmer fell to Jenne, 12-5.
"He wrestled hard," Goebel said.
In the semifinals, Palmer defeated an opponent from Santa Fe Trail, avenging a loss to the Charger earlier in the year. Palmer now is 19-9 on the season.
Tonganoxie's third senior, Hunter Samuels, went 2-3 on the day. Samuels finished the tournament in sixth after losing to Abilene's Colby Rifford. Samuels now is 19-13 with about three weeks left in the season.
Tonganoxie finished the tournament in eighth place out of 11 teams with 76.5 points.
Oak Park, a suburban Kansas City, Mo., with a slew of state-ranked grapplers, ran away with the tournament, scoring 333 points. Abilene placed second with 254, while Santa Fe Trail placed third with 248.5.
Other Chieftains also placed in the tourney. Johnathan Ferris placed ninth with a 1-4 record, while Jeff Frank placed eighth with the same record.
Shawn Everhart, who was injured during the tournament, went 1-4. Jacob Ferris went 0-4 at the tournament.
The Chieftains next will be in action Thursday in Lansing against Mill Valley, Bonner Springs and Lansing.
Underclassmen shine at Pleasant Ridge
Competing in the Pleasant Ridge freshman-sophomore tournament, Tonganoxie had two first-place medalists in Ryan Stockman and Shane Banks. Wyatt Coffin, who finished third, went 3-1. Cameron Adcox, Beau Waters and Sean Gippner also competed at the tournament.
"That's a good confidence-booster for them," Goebel said. "That gets them ready for the final stretch of the season."