Bobcat Classic is learning experience

Sometimes you have to test yourselves against the best, even though you know you may not be ready, it’s always good to have a measuring stick for the future. That’s the task that faced the Paola High School Wrestling squad as they took part in the annual Bobcat Classic at Basehor-Linwood High School on Friday and Saturday, January 15 & 16, 2010.

WLH0211 The Bobcat Classic is a mega-tournament, featuring some of the premier teams and wrestlers in the Kansas City area and beyond. Past, present and future State Champions litter every bracket, the competition is sick, and we mean that in a good way, winners at Basehor usually bring home hardware from state tournaments later in February.

“This is by far the toughest meet that is on our schedule,” said Panthers Head Coach Russ Hermreck. “The depth at that tournament is unbelievable, our main goal was to go and compete against the best talent in the state and grade ourselves accordingly.”

As one might expect, the Panthers found themselves outgunned at just about every weight class, but as bad as the results might have looked on paper, there were bright spots dotting the landscape, and Hermreck and his squad were able to find positive areas to build on.

Spencer Trumbly, wrestling at 215 pounds was the star of the weekend for the Panthers, placing sixth place in the tournament.

“For us to have a wrestler place in the top six at that tournament is a big positive.” Hermreck said. “Spencer wrestled very well at times.”

Trumbly posted at 4-3 record in the event with one pin and three decisions. Trumbly opened with a pin over Zach Roberts of Basehor and followed that up with a 3-2 decision over Airen Maxwell of Pittsburg.

Trumbly also posted a 3-2 decision over Johas Myers of Tonganoxie and then a 3-1 decision over David Lloyd of Columbus.

“The wrestler from Columbus actually beat Spencer pretty bad at state last year,” Hermreck said. “We are very pleased with his wrestling, he’s beginning to wrestle with more purpose and is beginning to display some of his talents.”

Another wrestler Hermreck thought showed promise at the classic was Chris Edwards who wrestled at 152 pounds. Although he posted a 1-2 record, he was one of only three Panther wrestlers to post victories in the meet, and showed promise to Hermreck.

“Chris Edwards came into this tournament with two months of wrestling experience,” Hermreck said. “His first match was against Ryne Cokeley who is one of the best wrestlers in the state, a two times state champion, Chris lost that match, but came back to win his next match.”

That match, an 8-1 decision over Ryan Dematto of Bonner Springs, pleased Hermreck, saying the win showed Edwards’ competitiveness and desire, especially for such an inexperienced wrestler.

“He (Edwards) is making everyone in the room better,” Hermreck said. “His work ethic is tremendous and his attitude is even better, there is a bright future for Chris Edwards.”

The Panthers most consistent wrestler on the season, Dylan McKinney found the going tough in the 130 pound class, as he went 2-2 on the tournament and dropped from the competition early, especially for him.

McKinney’s wins in the event came on a pin of Nathan Forbes of Santa Fe Trail and a 6-4 decision over Victor Hughes of Fort Scott.

Bryan Ebeling, at 103 pounds; James Young at 112 pounds; Josh Wade at 119 pounds; Taylor Harris at 125 pounds; Parker Boyer at 135 pounds; Kurt Weaver at 140 pounds and Eric Timpe at 145 pounds all went 0-2 in the event.

“The rest of the guys competed really well,” Hermreck said. “We are learning not to be afraid of out competition and simply respect them. We’re gaining ground, and have to keep working on our trouble spots and keep improving.”

The Panthers have the week off and will host the annual Paola Invitational on Saturday, January 23, 2010 at Paola High School.