Wildcat wrestlers show growth in early dual victories at home
For a Holton wrestling team that went 4-1 in a dual tournament with several 5A and 6A teams to start the season, with its only loss coming by two points to the top-ranked team in Class 4A (Chanute), any minor strides forward would have been enough to make its next opponents wary.
Add in the fact that the Wildcats were hosting their first home duals on Thursday night and it was not a good combination for the visiting squads from Jeff West and Santa Fe Trail as Holton picked up two big, nearly identical victories against the Tigers (51-27) and Chargers (50-27).
“I thought the guys showed up and performed well. We worked on some specific things this week and we saw signs of improvement in those areas, so it was overall a pretty good night,” HHS coach Cullen Jackson said.
While the Wildcats are young and inexperienced at the lower weights with room to grow, the middleweights are a strength for Holton early on as that’s where the majority of the team’s experienced (and state-qualifying) wrestlers return. It showed on Thursday as Holton dominated the duals after reaching the 132-lb. match.
Jackson said it is important for those wrestlers to pick up bonus points and do so in big chunks, which the Wildcats did flawlessly on Thursday. In the dual with Santa Fe Trail, the Wildcats won eight straight matches from 132-lbs. to 195-lbs. and four of the first six were wins by pin.
Holton’s experienced wrestlers were on point, with veterans like Lucas Lovvorn and Justin Rieschick making quick work of their opponents. In addition, some freshmen wrestlers showed glimpses of what could make the Wildcats a strong team yet again.
Both Ace Eisenbarth and Kyler Tannahilll picked up multiple wins for Holton on Thursday night, showing their potential to add depth despite being tested early.
“They’re growing as athletes and they’re kind of learning on the go,” Jackson said. “They’ve been thrown into the fire right away so they’re kind of forced to do that and we need them to do that for the success of our team.”
Another key cog with a little more experience, according to Jackson, is senior Trey Haverkamp. Haverkamp is slotted in at 152 lbs. following Lovvorn’s bump up to 160 lbs., putting him right in the middle of the Wildcats’ “murderer’s row.”
While that may put some more pressure on Haverkamp, he has handled it well so far and came up with two big wins in the final seconds of his two matches on Thursday.
“In order for us to be successful on the year, a lot is going to hinge on Trey and how he can improve. He showed tremendous improvement from week one to week two,” Jackson said.
Rieschick and Tyler Price also picked up two wins on the night and Jackson said the Holton wrestlers overall did a good job on their feet, but he still saw some things the Wildcats can improve on moving forward, too.
“Technique-wise, in the neutral position, I thought we did really well. I felt like we dominated in that position,” Jackson said. “We have to get better on bottom. It was evident in a couple close situations where we were struggling to get out from underneath guys. That has to improve otherwise we’ll have issues in the end.”
Still, Holton saw the blueprint for another successful season in Thursday’s duals. If the Wildcats trust their training, then they are going to continue to see improvement and that is exactly what Jackson hopes for his team.
Home double dual
Holton 51, Jeff West 27
Holton 50, Santa Fe Trail 27
vs. Jeff West
(106): Luke Holloman (JW) won by fall over Arturo Reveles.
(113): Austin Michaelis (JW) had an open round.
(120): Ace Eisenbarth won by fall over Kody Gibson (JW).
(126): Brandon Callehan (JW) won by fall over Jameson Lutz.
(132): Willie Bowman had an open round.
(138): Tyler Price won by fall over Ryan Wisner (JW).
(145): Justin Rieschick had an open round.
(152): Trey Haverkamp won by decision, 7-4, over Nich Reeb (JW).
(160): Spencer Baum had an open round.
(170): Chase Montgomery (JW) won by fall over Logan Cannon.
(182): Kyler Tannahill won by pin over Keith Davy (JW).
(195): Mason Seals (JW) won by decision, 5-1, over Tel Wittmer.
(220): Eugene Harris had an open round.
(285): Kegan Meister won by fall over Michael Majors (JW).
vs. Santa Fe Trail
(106): Christian Davis (SFT) won by fall over Arturo Reveles.
(113): Brenden Hale (SFT) had an open round.
(120): Ace Eisenbarth had an open round.
(126): Bryce Erickson (SFT) won by fall over Jameson Lutz.
(132): Justin Pool won by fall over Zac West (SFT).
(138): Tyler Price won by fall over Collin Koger (SFT).
(145): Justin Rieschick won by tech fall, 16-1, over Cal Lyle (SFT).
(152): Trey Haverkamp won by decision, 6-4, over Nate Pawley (SFT).
(160): Lucas Lovvorn won by fall over Peyton Newton (SFT).
(170): Logan Cannon won by fall over Connor Ridgeway.
(182): Kyler Tannahill had an open round.
(195): Tel Wittmer had an open round.
(220): Ethan Dean (SFT) won by decision, 3-2, over Nathan Shields.
(285): Jake Hastings (SFT) won by fall over Kegan Meister.
(132): Willie Bowman won by fall over Willie Buler (JW).
(160): Logan Cannon won by fall over Mason Heiden (JW).
(132): Yannick Schoenzler won (SFT) by fall over Willie Bowman.
(195): Brandon Lenherr won by fall over Scott Spoonmore (SFT).
(220): Ryan Clark won by decision, 11-6, over Tucker May (SFT).
(285): Trent Moore (SFT) won by fall over Eugene Harris.