Tonganoxie wrestling takes third at Eudora tourney
Eudora After one day of competition at the Eudora Tournament of Champions, the Tonganoxie wrestling team found itself in eighth place.
However, once bracket play began on Saturday, the Chieftains showed their resiliency. They used a strong effort by several individuals to post a team score of 198 — good enough for third in the final rankings.
“I thought the kids responded well the second day,” coach Jeremy Goebel said. “They came in and competed extremely hard. When we left Friday night we were in eighth, so to get to third was big.”
Tournament action began with pool play on Friday, and the top two members of each pool advanced to Saturday’s matches. Seven Chieftains made it to the second day, including four who earned top three finishes in their respective divisions.
Freshman Dalton Tavis lost his first match to Chanute’s Adam Cole, but won five of his last six to claim second in the 113-pound division. He is now 9-4 on the season. Sophomore Clayton Himpel (9-2) also took second, going 5-1 in the 120-pound division. He won his first five matches before dropping a 10-0 decision to Isaac Dulgarian of St. Thomas Aquinas.
Fellow sophomores Joe Wolf and Zeke Kissinger each claimed third place. Wolf (9-3) went 5-2 in the 132-pound division. He started 2-2, but ended tournament play with three straight victories. Kissinger (10-4) went 6-3 in the 220-pound group. His 10 wins are the most on the team this season.
“I think all those kids went out there and, as they kept wrestling each match, more confidence was gained and more momentum was gained,” Goebel said. “They feed off one another’s match. It definitely was a total team effort.”
Other wrestlers to reach Saturday’s competition included Julius Coats (6-6), Matt Soetaert (8-4) and Ryan Lynch (8-4).
After nearly two weeks away from their own gym, the Chieftains are set for back-to-back home competitions. They’ll host Santa Fe Trail for senior night on Thursday, followed by the Tonganoxie Invitational on Saturday.
Goebel is confident the team will maintain its focus and utilize the momentum it gained during the weekend.
“We just go out and wrestle,” he said. “Our preparation is done in the practice room. Mentally, they know how hard they’ve trained, so to go out and do that in a match is just routine.”