Panthers have five in top four at league

With an already depleted squad, the Paola Panther Wrestlers did just about everything they could have been expected to do at the Frontier League Wrestling Meet on Saturday, February 13, 2010 at Eudora, as they placed five wrestlers in the consolation finals, which assured them of a five top four finishes.

“We have to be proud of our selves,” said Panthers Head Coach Russ Hermreck. “We ended up with five guys placing in the top four.”

Tyler Henness was the Panthers top finisher at third in the 160 pound class, he was followed by Tanner Staats at 135, Kurt Weaver at 140, Spencer Trumbly at 215 and Cale Karingan at 285, all who finished fourth in their weight classes.

WLH0264 “At this point in the season, we need as many good things as we can to happen for us,” Hermreck said. “We have been waiting all year long for our work to start paying off, and this weekend was a situation where it finally took place.”

Hermreck went on to say he would have liked to see four thirds and a fourth instead of the other way around, but he said the squad won’t dwell on those results and will continue to move forward and focus on their opportunities this coming weekend at the regional tournament in DeSoto.

“We are going to have a great week of practice,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll wrestle well and sneak a couple of guys into the placing rounds.”

There was a downer to the weekend tough, as the Panthers most consistent wrestler of the early season, Dylan McKinney re-injured his shoulder. McKinney had not wrestled for several matches with the injury, and now is doubtful for the regional.

“That was a tough break for Dylan, he was really looking forward to getting back on the mat since injuring it (his shoulder) in the middle of January,” Hermreck said. “He is the best wrestler in our room, but that simple fact does not make you great or prevent injuries.”

With McKinney back on the sidelines, the Panther wrestling torch was passed to the other squad members from the middle weights and up to pull through and score points for Paola.

All five took different paths to the consolation finals, Henness took a direct path at 160 pounds, as, after opening the tournament with a loss to Shane Slyter of Spring Hill, he then defeated Mason Whaley of Louisburg and Elias Parenti of Ottawa to take the third place medal.

Staats, wrestling at 135 pounds, opened his tournament with a win over Alex Pruss of DeSoto on a fall, but then lost to eventual champion Johs Hanson of Baldwin on a 10-1 decision in the semifinals. Staats defeated Aaron Barnes of Spring Hill on a 12-4 decision in the consolation semifinals, before dropping the third place match to Austin Keehn of Gardner on a 12-2 decision.

At 140 pounds, Weaver took the direct route to the third place match also, opening with a loss to Dalton Hladky of Eudora on a pin in the first period, he then pinned Skylar Craig of Baldwin in the first period, before again facing Hladky in the third place match. Weaver again lost to the Baldwin wrestler, this time on a pin in the second period.

“I was very pleased to see guys like Kurt Weaver and Tyler Henness battle back in the consolation side of their brackets,” Hermreck said. “They both had early losses, but managed to focus on their upcoming performances and pick up some key victories that are very big at this point in the season. My hat’s off to both of them, because they are both tough, tough competitors.”

Spencer Trumbly, wrestling at 215 pounds faced the same scenario as Weaver, as he was beaten in the opening round by Jordan Osladil of Ottawa on a pin in the second period, only to wrestle back to face Osladil again in the consolation final. Along the way, Trumbly defeated Taylor Kettler of Spring Hill on a 3-2 overtime decision, before falling to Osladil on a 5-4 decision in the third place match.

Karigan, finishing out the Panther squad at 285 pounds, opened with a win over Tyler Ewy of Louisburg on a 6-2 decision, before falling to the second place finisher Robert Retzer of Ottawa on a fall in the first period. Karigan defeated Lucas Powell of Gardner in the consolation semifinals on a 3-2 decision before falling to Jesse Austin of Baldwin by a 3-2 margin in the third place match.

“Spencer and Cale have the opportunity to bothe place at the state tournament on any given weekend,” Hermreck said. “The flip side of that coin is they both could very easily be beat out in the regional tournament.”

Hermreck went on to say the coaching staff has been working with Trumbly and Karigan for the past few weeks to try and put themselves in situations that make their chances of winning more in their favor.

“Both these two young men are very talented when they wrestle offensively,” Hermreck said. “Their problems arise when they slow things down and wrestle for a defensive position, they have to score from the neutral position to win big matches. We’ve told them that time and time again, and they know that every match is big now and they have to go score points. Hopefully they can put things together next weekend.”

The Panthers had several other wrestlers who did not make it to the consolation finals. At 103 pounds, Brian Ebeling lost is opening two matchs to Corey Spader of Spring Hill on a fall and Kiefer Price of Gardner on a fall, before defeating Cale Paquette of Ottawa on a fall for seventh place.

McKinney opened the day at 135 pounds, but was injured in his opening round match against Carter Sudja of Baldwin.

In the 145 pound class, Eric Timpe lost his opening two matches against Casey Kidwell of Gardner and Darrren Nabus of Eudora before falling in the seventh place match to Colton Horne of Baldwin on a pin in the third period.

Brad Hall claimed a fifth place finish in the 189 pound class, but wrestled only two matches on the day to do so. Hall was open in the first round, and then lost to Colby Morris of Spring Hill in the semifinals. He then fell in the consolation semifinals to Colton Rommell of Louisburg on a fall and was open in the fifth place match.

The tournament was won by Gardner with 212-5 points, Eudora finished second and Louisburg placed third in the team competition.

The Panthers will have one more tournament this season, as they will travel to DeSoto on Friday and Saturday, February 19 & 20, 2010 for the regional tournament with a trip to the state wrestling tournament on the line for each entrant.