HHS wrestlers have big day at home tournament, despite small numbers
In the middle of the long high school wrestling season, teams are sure to deal with some bumps and bruises that will lead to personnel hiccups at different times.
Holton is not immune, as the Wildcat wrestlers are currently dealing with some illness and injury that limited the team to entering just nine wrestlers in its home tournament, the Sadwoski Invitational, held this past weekend.
Even with smaller numbers, Holton still turned in the type of result the team has become accustomed to in the past few years, finishing second as a team to Class 5A Shawnee Heights and getting four individual champions all while missing varsity wrestlers in five weight classes.
“The nine guys who were in the line-up performed great. Anytime you can get seven out of nine in the finals, that’s a good deal,” HHS coach Cullen Jackson said.
Two wrestlers in particular stepped up in the moment and took the time to shine with stellar performances on a level they might not be accustomed to, with Spencer Baum and Kegan Meister being two of those seven to make the finals.
Baum stepped up when his metaphorical number was called, as varsity 152-lb. wrestler Trey Haverkamp was one of those athletes dealing with illness and injury this past weekend.
As well as Baum has been doing at the JV level, carrying an undefeated JV record into the weekend, Jackson said he anticipated positive results, though he couldn’t predict just what was to come.
“We were confident that he would do well. We weren’t expecting him to make the finals by any stretch, so when he did that was a great little surprise there and just a testament to what he’s done to prepare himself and be ready for his team,” Jackson said.
Meister, who was one of the four individual champions for HHS on Saturday, has also prepared himself behind some top Holton wrestlers. While he has had some ups and downs this season, it seems he is starting to make the most of his role on the varsity squad in his senior season.
“He’s put in a lot of time. He’s worked his tail off. He’s sat behind some outstanding heavyweights in years past and he’s gotten his opportunity this year to kind of make his mark and right now he’s making the most of it,” Jackson said.
Unsurprisingly, the other five finalists on Saturday were Justin Pool, Tyler Price, Justin Rieschick (champion), Lucas Lovvorn (champion) and Mason Baum (champion). No matter the tournament, those wrestlers seem to always be in the finals or consolation finals and that consistency has been a positive for the Wildcats this season.
“Those guys, they’re reliable. They’re going to be there for us and it’s nice to have that solidity in the middle of our line-up,” Jackson said.
Lovvorn and Baum both had big victories in their championship matches, as Lovvorn took down Class 3-2-1A’s third-ranked 160-lb. wrestler, Rossville’s Nick Reesor, and looked to be in control throughout the match. Meanwhile, Baum pulled off a similar feat, winning by major decision (18-9) in the finals against Class 5A’s third-ranked 170-lb wrestler, Carter Hall of Shawnee Heights.
At 145-lbs., Rieschick just looked dominant after winning all of his matches by pin as Jackson noted “no one was even close” to the junior on Saturday.
While Price and Pool finished as runners-up, both are making strides and will be key in any state aspirations at the end of the season. As long as the Wildcats keep showing up and keep doing the work, Jackson said he is confident the wrestlers will stay on the upward trend heading into the championship meets.
Something Jackson said should serve the HHS wrestlers well that he saw on Saturday is their pure interest in competition, which the Wildcats will see a lot of in the coming weeks.
“Our guys show up and regardless of how they feel or where they’re seeded at the tournament, they’re there to compete and to go out there and work as hard as they can to get the best results that they can,” Jackson said.
The Wildcats have a dual at Royal Valley on Thursday night, starting at 5:30 p.m., and then returns to tournament competition at Baldwin starting at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
1. Shawnee Heights 235.5, 2. Holton 195.5, 3. Andover Central 158, 4. Lansing 155.5, 5. Pratt 145, 6. Gardner-Edgerton 139.5, 7. Rossville 134.5, 8. Tonganoxie 99, 10. Wabaunsee 74, 11. Pleasant Ridge 73.5, 12. Oskaloosa 54, 13. Onaga 53, 14. Wichita Independent 19.5, 15. Topeka West 16, 16. Wichita East 4
(120): Ace Eisenbarth had a bye, lost two matches and did not place.
(132): Justin Pool won three matches, lost one match and came in second.
(138): Tyler Price had a bye, won two matches, lost one match and placed second.
(145): Justin Rieschick had a bye and won all three of his matches to medal in first place.
(152): Spencer Baum had a bye, won two matches, lost one match and finished second.
(160): Lucas Lovvorn went undefeated, winning all four of his matches, to medal in first place.
(170): Mason Baum had a bye and won all three of his matches to claim a first-place finish.
(220): Nathan Shields had two byes, won two matches, lost to matches and took fifth.
(285): Kegan Meister had a bye and won all three of his matches to medal in first place.