For a young team in their first tournament of the season, the Paola High School Panther Wrestlers didn’t fare badly according to Panthers Head Coach Russ Hermreck.
“The team competed very well in out opening tournament,” he said. “We have a very young team and most of these young men have very little varsity tournament experience, it provided us with an opportunity to compare their abilities to that of some very good competition.”
Although the Panthers finished well down in the team standings, Hermreck was pleased that every team member who wrestled picked up at least one match victory on the day. Dylan McKinney was the top Panthers finisher, placing third in the 140 pound class and Tyler Henness picked up a fifth place finish in the 160 pound class.
“Dylan McKinney wrestled exceptionally well,” Hermreck said. “He lost a tough, hard fought match to a former state placer (Micah Flora-Swick) from Gardner (in the semi-final match).”
McKinney was tough in pool play, going 3-0 to earn a spot in the semi-finals on the strength of pins over Trenton Ray of Olathe Northwest and Whitney Kerr of Shawnee Mission East. McKinney picked up his third victory in pool play on a 15-0 technical fall to set up his semi-final match with Flora-Swick. McKinney lost a hard fought 7-5 decision to the eventual tournament champion, then followed up the semi-final loss with a consolation final pin over Marcus Tolbert of Washburn Rural.
“Dylan needs to learn to wrestle for all three periods,” Hermreck said. “In his semi-final match he out-wrestled the young man from Gardner for one period. If he wrestles the entire match the way he did in the third period, the match results might have been different.”
“Tyler Henness also wrestled really well,” Hermreck said. “He lost a tough, heartbreaking match to a young man (Hunter Like) from Blue Valley, one in which he was winning very handily and got reversed to his back and pinned.”
Henness opened pool play with a 15-0 technical fall over Pete Uhl of Shawnee Mission East before falling out of championship contention on the pin by Like. In the fifth place bracket semi-finals, Henness defeated Clinton McDonald of Washburn Rural by a 9-4 count, then pinned Nick Conteras of Omaha Burke High School for the fifth place spot.
“The type of mistake that Tyler made in his match against Like just can’t happen, especially against good opponents.”
“We had numerous matches that we could have won, but didn’t,” Hermreck said. “Right now we have to focus on eliminating mistakes that cost us matches, we’re making mistakes that get us beat, rather than just cost us points.”
In other results on the day, Brian Ebeling, wresting at 112 pounds went 1-1 in pool play, defeating Chevy Cook of Anderson County on a major decision 11-0 before losing to Andrew Morgan of Baldwin on a fall. In the brackets, Ebeling lost to Macon Stanley of Washburn Rural by fall and Aaron Elliott of Gardner by a 7-5 decision.
In the 125 pound class, Josh Wade was pinned by Logan Bjorgo of Blue Valley and Matt Ziegler of Bishop Carroll before picking up a victory on a pinn of Tanner Gabel of Topeka West. In the brackets, Wade lost of Max Mancuso of St. James Academy on a fall before taking a victory over Weston Mikoleit of Washburn Rural by an injury default.
Tanner Staats, wrestling at 135 pounds went 1-1 in pool play, taking a major decision over Beau Creech of Washburn Rural and losing by fall to Taylor Moeder of St. James Academy. In the fifth place bracket, Staats fell to Trever Hendrickson of Blue Valley 6-4 in overtime, and then lost to Brent Eagles of Joplin on a fall.
In the 145 pound weight class, Eric Timpe posted an 0-2 record in pool matches, losing to T.J. Viehauer of St. James Academy and Zach DuPont of Anderson County, both by fall, before picking up wins in bracket matches over Bryan Hafits of Blue Valley on a 3-0 decision and Keith Heniss of Gardner on an 8-2 decision.
Kurt Weaver, wrestling at 152 pounds, went 1-2 in pool matches, losing to Chase Woofter of Shawnee Mission East and Justin Long of Gardner on falls and pinning Xavier Coletta of Topeka West. In the brackets, Weaver picked up a 4-3 decision over Aidan Shipley of Joplin before being pinned by Mitch McCune of Lawrence Free State in the ninth place match.
In the 189 pound weight class, Brad Hall was 0-2 in pool matches, falling to Grant Sundbye of Topeka West and Jake Akin of Gardner, both by pin. In the brackets, Hall won his opening match by fall over Baldish Singh of Olathe Northwest before falling to Tyler Fortney of St. James Academy by a 6-2 decision.
Spencer Trumbley went 1-1 in pool matches, gaining a 5-0 decision over Chris Martin of Gardner and being pinned by Colton Bonner of Baldwin. In bracket matches, Trumbley lost his opening match in the fifth place bracket on a pin by Larinzo Hackett of Joplin and then took the seventh place match with a pin over Sam Schmidgall of Washburn Rural.
The Panthers final competitor of the tournament, freshman Joe Pomatto, wrestling at the 285 pound class, went 0-2 in pool matches, losing by fall to Beau Bennett of Pittsburg and Hunter Greer of Omaha Burke. Pomatto came back and picked up his first two varsity wins in bracket matches by pinning Austin Armstrong of Bishop Carroll and Hunter Spees of Topeka West to take ninth place overall.
Omaha Burke took the team championship with a total of 208 points. Pittsburg (177.5), Baldwin (152), Gardner-Edgerton (147.5) and St. James Academy (136.5) rounded out the top five teams.
Overall, Hermreck was pleased with his team’s performance, but he realizes the team has a long way to go. The good news is the team now has competition experience to draw on as they work to improve this week.
“We had several opportunities where we had guys on their backs and could not finish them off, we have to learn for that and get tougher,” he said. “We have a long way to go, but if we keep making progress every day, then I am confident this group of young men will be ready to compete very well by the time we make it to the month of February.”
The Panthers will travel to Eudora on Friday and Saturday this week to take part in the always difficult Eudora Invitational.
Panthers pick up wins at Gardner