THS wrestlers continue to show progress with medals at Holton
With a sixth-place finish and eight medalists Saturday at the Holton Invitational, the Tonganoxie High wrestling team showed some promise as it heads into the season’s final stretch.
The Chieftains finished ahead of host Holton (ranked No. 7 in Class 4A by the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association) and behind four of the top five teams in 5A — Lansing, Andover Central, Shawnee Heights and Gardner-Edgerton.
Tonganoxie coach Jeremy Goebel said the team’s finish was an example of its progress.
“Week in, week out, we’re trying to climb that mountain to reach the top,” Goebel said. “We’ve talked about constantly getting better. It’s happening.”
THS freshman Clayton Himpel (112 pounds) continued his promising season at Holton, finishing with a 4-0 mark and another first-place finish.
Two other Chieftains, Justin Soetaert (125) and Nick Pursel (160), finished third by going 3-1.
Soetaert’s one loss came against a two-time 5A state champ, Jake Gentzler of Andover Central. Later, in his third-place match, the senior defeated Baldwin’s Andrew Morgan, ranked No. 6 in 4A.
Goebel said that win was important because Baldwin and THS will both be at the Holton regional on Feb. 18-19.
“To be able to win a match like that, it’s great timing,” Goebel said, “because we’re headed into the end of the season.”
Britton Price (135) finished fourth for Tonganoxie and both Caleb Himpel (130) and Adam Thomas (140) were fifth.
The Chieftains’ two sixth-place medalists, Dylan Yates (119) and Jonas Myers (189), actually had to forfeit their fifth-place matches because they had already competed in the Kansas state limit of five matches that day.
Excluding those two, Goebel pointed out, THS went 5-1 in medal matches.
The team’s eight medals at Holton showed the competitive spirit of the squad, Goebel said, because the THS wrestlers didn’t get down on themselves after a loss. By continuing at a high level in the consolation matches, they were able to place and score a lot of points.
“The thing that I was really satisfied with was how the kids came back on the back side of the bracket,” their coach said. “They took advantage of the opportunity that was given them.”
As usual, Tonganoxie was able to score some upset victories, including Myers’ win against Lansing’s Litton VanderWerff, whom he had lost to twice this season.
According to Goebel, victories such as that one can do a lot for a team.
“That’s a great sign as a coach to know that it’s getting put together,” he said. “We’re gradually working toward our goals.”
At 9 a.m. Saturday, THS will compete in its final tournament of the regular season at the Baldwin Invitational.
Team scores: 1. Andover Central, 204.5; 2. Shawnee Heights, 177.5; 3. Baldwin, 159.5; 4. Gardner-Edgerton, 141.5; 5. Lansing, 138.5; 6. Tonganoxie, 128; 7. Holton, 112.5; 8. Pratt, 110.5; 9. Osawatomie, 90.5; 10. Pleasant Ridge, 63; 11. Sabetha, 47; 12. Wichita SE, 43; 13. Wichita East, 37; 14. Perry-Lecompton, 33.5; 15. Doniphan West, 29.5; 16. Mission Valley, 12; 17. Oskaloosa, 11.
(Weight class — wrestler, record, place)
103 — Dominick Estrada, 1-2
112 — Clayton Himpel, 4-0, 1st
119 — Dylan Yates, 3-3, 6th
125 — Justin Soetaert, 3-1, 3rd
130 — Caleb Himpel, 3-2, 5th
135 — Britton Price, 3-2, 4th
140 — Adam Thomas, 3-2, 5th
145 — Matt Soetaert, 2-2
152 — Luke Carey, 0-2
160 — Nick Pursel, 3-1, 3rd
171 — Thomas Miller, 0-2
189 — Jonas Myers, 3-3, 6th
215 — Ryan Lynch, 0-2
Hvt. — Hank Somers, 0-2