Wrestlers embark on final weeks
The final stretch starts Saturday.
Tonganoxie will compete in the Kaw Valley League wrestling tournament Saturday at Mill Valley in Shawnee, with regionals the following weekend and state the weekend after that.
Tonganoxie enters the league tournament after finishing 1-1 in dual competition Thursday at home against Lansing and Bonner Springs.
The Chieftains fell to the Lions, 56-24, before defeating the Braves, 56-9.
Tonganoxie coach Jeremy Goebel hopes his team can improve on its fifth-place finish at the preseason Kaw Valley dual tournament at Basehor-Linwood.
Saturday's tournament will have the regular meet format, in which individuals face off in bracket play and team points are accumulated from their individual scores, rather than two teams competing in dual contests.
"If the kids can just wrestle to their ability, we'll be fine," Goebel said. "We're going to be shorthanded again in terms of numbers."
Travis Adcox, Tonganoxie's No. 2 wrestler, missed Thursday's dual and will not wrestle Saturday, as he is nursing an injured knee. He is 23-4 on the season.
Goebel didn't pick a favorite for this year's KVL meet, but he predicted the team with wrestlers performing their best on the backside of the tournament bracket -- in the consolation rounds -- would likely win this year's league title.
"I think the tournament will be won on the backside," Goebel said. "A lot of kids getting third or fourth. Whichever team can come through on the backside will probably secure a league championship, I'd say."
Goebel pointed to Scott City, which won a recent state team title with only one wrestler advancing to the finals. The rest of the wrestlers picked up points by rolling through the consolation bracket.
On Thursday, Tonganoxie looked to take down Lansing in the teams' dual meet. After seven matches, Lansing claimed four and Tonganoxie three, but the Lions won five straight matches after that to put the match out of reach.
"I thought against Lansing we moved some kids around in the lineup to give ourselves a chance to win the dual," Goebel said. "Against Bonner, we pretty much dominated the mat.
"They're performances that we can use as a stepping stone and see what we have to do to become a solid team these last couple weeks in terms of finishing league and regionals," Goebel said.
Rob Schlicht, Matt Brock, Steve Davis and Cameron Adcox all finished 2-0 on Thursday.
Senior Derek Parrett nearly finished perfect on his final competition in his home gymnasium. Parrett nearly had Lansing's Brad Terron pinned in the 215-pound division, but Terron escaped the pin and abruptly pinned Parrett for the victory.
"I thought Steve Davis and Cameron Adcox wrestled really well," Goebel said. "And Matt Brock is keeping his winning ways going. Thirty-three wins as a sophomore is pretty impressive."
Tonganoxie Elementary School interim principal Tammie George padded her pocket with some money Thursday. The THS wrestling program held its annual "mat crawl" between duals. Tammie George's raffle number was picked, giving her a chance to grab a $20 bill that was positioned on the mat.
THS assistant coach Gene Samuels, however, made the task a little tougher by blindfolding George and then spinning her around a few times. She then had to crawl on hands and knees to find the bill. Fans helped by yelling out which way to move toward the prize. George actually was the third person to attempt the contest. Two other fans, including Tonganoxie's Jackie Brown, tried to locate the bill in the allotted time, but were unsuccessful.
Tonganoxie once again had to borrow its wrestling mats from another school, this time from visiting Bonner Springs. The school doesn't have mats available for competitions, as all of the wrestling department's mats are in the wrestling room, which is above the new locker rooms west of the gymnasium.