Senior Ross Starcher seeking first tourney title since freshman year at cousin’s memorial meet
Ross Starcher has won plenty of wrestling tournaments during his tenure as a Tonganoxie High wrestler.
One, however, has been elusive since his freshman year.
He wants nothing more than to change that trend Saturday.
Winning a home meet always is a goal, but Starcher has his eyes on a gold medal for a more meaningful reason.
Since Ross' cousin Randy Starcher was killed in a vehicle accident more than 11 years ago, the annual Tonganoxie wrestling tournament has been known as the Randy Starcher Memorial Invitational.
During his freshman year at Tonganoxie, Starcher claimed his first home-meet title.
The last two years, Starcher has fallen short, settling for second both times.
Competing for the last time in his cousin's tournament, Starcher won't be satisfied with second.
"It's real important," Starcher said of winning his 171-pound weight class.
Ross is one of a long line of Starchers to wrestle at THS.
His brother, Chad, finished his career at THS. They both ended their seasons last February as state qualifiers.
This year, Ross again is racking up victory after victory.
Against Bishop Ward on Monday, Ross captured his 120th career victory, a feat that complements a family with such wrestling tradition.
As for the tournament overall, Starcher and the Chieftains will face a slightly different field Saturday in the THS gymnasium.
Atchison, Bishop Ward, Blue Valley West, Central Heights, Horton, Louisburg, Oskaloosa, Sumner and Topeka West again will compete at this year's meet.
But two new additions, Anderson County and Baldwin, should make the field even more interesting.
"I would say Baldwin has the upper hand by far," THS coach Jeremy Goebel said. "They have a full-squad and although they lost some people, they should still be loaded."
Louisburg also should be in the mix, while Atchison, last year's tournament champion, has lost a lot of wrestlers from last season's squad.
For Tonganoxie, Hunter Samuels and Garrett Palmer will be defending their individual titles, while Starcher, of course, will be going for his second overall.
With a large freshman class, Saturday will mark the first home invitational for many Chieftains.
With a large crowd attending Monday's dual, Goebel envisions more of the same on Saturday.
"Let's pack the house for those finals," Goebel said.
The tournament will begin at 9 a.m.