Chieftain wrestling coach guides all-star squad
Energetic Tonganoxie High wrestling coach Jeremy Goebel was animated on the sideline one last time this wrestling season.
Last week, at the Kansas City Kansas Community College fieldhouse, Goebel was one of four coaches for Team Kansas, which competed at the Metro Classic Battle at the Border all-star dual.
Top wrestlers from the Kansas City Metro area wrestled each other in the 14th annual face-off between Kansas and Missouri athletes.
Missouri, which had won the last three annual all-star matches, opened this year's classic with an 11-0 lead. Kansas, though, pecked away at Missouri's lead and eventually rallied for a 27-25 win. In the final competition, the heavyweight match, Ottawa's Levi Bowen defeated Raymore-Peculiar's Levi Thompson in overtime, sending the Kansas crowd -- and sideline -- into a jubilant state.
"It had to be awesome for the Bowen kid to win that match," Goebel said.
The teams practiced for four days leading up to the event, which was March 7.
"It was just a great experience being around all those kids," Goebel said. "All great kids, great wrestlers."
A committee picks the Kansas and Missouri teams and their coaches.
Goebel joined Topeka High coach Beau Vest and assistant coaches Russ Hemreck and Eric DeYoe in working with the Kansas team, which practiced at Olathe North High School. Hemreck is an assistant at Paola, while DeYoe is an assistant at Olathe North. He formerly coached at De Soto.
Goebel said he led practice two days and Vest led practice the other two days.
The fourth-year Tonganoxie coach said he normally worked with the lightweights because he wrestled in the lighter weights in high school at North Platte in North Platte, Neb., and college at Nebraska-Kearney.
Although Bowen's victory arguably was the most exciting for the Kansas squad, Andy Hurla's victory against Eric Graham also had Sunflower State fans on their feet. Hurla, a Kansas state champion from Overland Park's St. Thomas Aquinas, battled Graham, a state champion from Park Hill. Graham, who was 33-0 this season, was the favorite, according to Internet wrestling message boards.
Graham had a 3-1 lead with 15 seconds left in the match, but Hurla tied the match on a reversal and won with a takedown.
Lansing's Sean Flynn competed for Kansas, as did De Soto's Neil Erisman and Lawrence High's Nolan Kitterman.
The all-star dual also featured seniors who will continue their wrestling careers in college.
Although many were undecided on where they planned to wrestle, a few already are locked into universities.
Erisman will grapple at Oklahoma State, while Oak Park's Mat Koelling, of Oak Park, Mo., will wrestle at Duke. Hunter Madl plans to wrestle at Central Missouri State, while Thompson will play football at Arkansas State.
Goebel said he appreciated working with the small group of Kansas wrestlers and hopes to coach again at the all-star event.
"These guys just busted their tails," Goebel said.
The Metro Classic started in 1992 as a fund-raiser for the Park Hill High (Mo.) booster club.
Since then, it has evolved into a non-profit organization with proceeds going to wrestling programs at Fort Hays State and Central Missouri State.