Starcher grasps gold in final home tourney
It took Ross Starcher 53 seconds to accomplish something he's wanted to do since his freshman year -- win the Randy Starcher Memorial Invitational.
The senior pinned Baldwin's Travis Barnes in the championship match as the hometown crowd erupted. Starcher, who had taken second at the tournament, named in honor of his cousin, the last two years, won a gold medal at the tournament for the first time since his freshman year. He also was named outstanding wrestler at this season's event.
Beau Waters 2-10
Ryan Stockman 6-8
Jacob Ferris 4-7
Hunter Samuels 17-10
Shawn Everhart 2-8
Shane Banks 2-9
Shawn Gippner 0-2 (JV)
Garrett Palmer 16-8
Johnathan Ferris 4-8
Wyatt Coffin 1-13
Ross Starcher 23-2
Josh Maxon 7-11
Cameron Adcox 2-11
Jeff Frank 7-15
"It was a must-win situation," Starcher said. "I wanted to do it for my family and everyone else.
As Ross stepped down from the awards area, his little cousin, Patterson Starcher, dressed in a tiny singlet, stepped up onto the award stand to have a picture with his older cousin.
"That's the next upcoming Starcher that's going to be wrestling," Ross said with a big grin.
The win moved Starcher to 23-2 overall this season and 123-19 in his four-year career. Although two of those losses came the last two years at Tonganoxie, Saturday was a different story.
"You never know what you are going to run into at Tongie," Starcher said. "It could be tough one year and not so tough the next year. This year just happened to be one of those not-so-tough years."
The Chieftains finished in fifth place at this year's tournament with a total of 89 points. Baldwin won the meet with 190.5, while Blue Valley West scored 124.5. Louisburg (121) and Oskaloosa (99) also finished ahead of Tonganoxie.
Joining Starcher at the winner's stand was fellow senior Hunter Samuels. Competing at 130, Samuels pinned Louisburg's Chris Caudill and then jumped from the mat with exuberance.
Ross Starcher, 23
Garrett Palmer, 50
Ross Starcher, 15
Hunter Samuels, 12
2-point near falls
Hunter Samuels, 8
3-point near falls
Hunter Samuels, 14
Ross Starcher, 15 seconds
"All the adrenaline was going through me," Samuels said. "I wanted to impress the home crowd."
Although some of Tonganoxie's earlier tournaments haven't been successful overall, Samuels said Saturday's meet was a true team effort.
He was extremely happy with efforts from the freshman class at the home meet Saturday as well.
"Especially our 3-pounder Beau," Samuels said, referring to 103-pounder Beau Waters. "He came out of his shell and was aggressive on his feet."
Waters won his first varsity match of the season against Topeka West's Keith Berry and then followed up with a third-place finish.
"I was extremely pleased with my freshman," THS coach Jeremy Goebel said. "Our tough schedule is paying off.
"Stockman, Waters and Coffin all stepped up."
Junior heavyweight Jeff Frank also had a strong performance in his consolation match against Atchison's Tony Daniels.
"He showed a lot of heart out there," Goebel said. "He had to dig in deep and he turned around too.
Garrett Palmer finished second at 145. He now is 16-8 on the season.
"I was pleased with our whole team, up and down the line," Goebel said. "We all performed and left everything out on the mat."