THS wrestlers open 2012 with tournament title in Louisburg
Saturday's trip to the Louisburg Wildcat Classic ended a long wait for the Tonganoxie High wrestling team, which hadn't faced any live competition since winning its home tournament on Dec. 17.
However, despite the three-week break, the Chieftains picked up right where they left off. Five wrestlers earned individual titles and Jeremy Goebel's squad picked up its third tournament championship of the season with a team score of 253.5.
"It took us a while to get our motor going," Goebel said. "Those first couple rounds, we looked a little slow and sluggish, but we finished outstanding. That last round, we put it together and we did great things in all 14 matches."
The Chieftains went a combined 8-6 in the tournament's opening round, but quickly regained their composure after the rough start. Seven of the team's 14 wrestlers reached the finals in their respective weight classes and 10 won their final matches.
Freshman Asher Huseman (18-3) led the charge, posting a 5-0 record to win the 138-pound class. Other individual winners included freshman Dalton Tavis (18-4, 113 pounds), sophomore Clayton Himpel (19-2, 120 pounds), senior Adam Thomas (12-2, 145 pounds) and senior Matt Soetaert (16-7, 152 pounds).
"We were letting them know what we did the first two rounds was not what we work for," Goebel said. "The intensity wasn't there. In the finals, all of them were ready to go. They didn't slow down one bit from the first whistle until the last whistle. We wrestled our style of wrestling."
Himpel, a 2011 state qualifier, pinned three of his four opponents to bring his pin total to a team-high 13.
The Chieftains won't have long to wait until their next competition, as they'll travel to Spring Hill for a dual tonight. After that, they'll head next door to rival Basehor-Linwood for the annual Bobcat Classic on Friday and Saturday.
However, as has been the case all season, Goebel said the Chieftains won't get ahead of themselves.
"Like I told the kids this week, it's just one thing at a time," he said. "Once we're done with Spring Hill, then we'll worry about the Bobcat, but we can't even be thinking about the Bobcat right now. We've got to get through Spring Hill and get the job done. Then, when we get back on the bus, we'll get our mindset ready to go for Basehor."
Tonight's action is set to begin at 6 p.m.