Panthers qualify four for state tourney
The Paola Panthers Wrestlers put together a solid regional tournament which included a pleasant surprise on the way to qualifying four wrestlers for the state tournament next Friday and Saturday, February 26 and 27, 2010 in Salina.
The Panthers will send, as expected, Tyler Henness, a sophomore at 160 pounds, Spencer Trumbly a junior at 215 pounds, and Cale Karigan, a senior at 285 pounds, but the surprise came in the form of a new face to the team, Jamal Holloway, a sophomore at 119 pounds.
Holloway, who moved into the district last week and enrolled in Paola High School about a week ago, had wrestling experience in Nebraska, but as a member of a military family found it necessary to come to Paola in mid season.
“Imagine coming into a situation were you are the ‘new guy’ in a program and then multiply that with the additional pressure of having two days practice before your chance to earn a varsity spot on the roster and then try and qualify for the state tournament,” said Panthers Head Coach Russ Hermreck. “But in the week we have been exposed to Jamal, his attitude, character and work ethic have been nothing less than top notch, he has adapted very quickly and very well to his situation.”
Holloway had to adapt quickly, as he faced the number one seed in the bracket, Kale Cauthon of Santa Fe Trail, and Holloway opened with an inauspicious start, as he was defeated by Cauthon 14-11, in a match where Holloway had the upper hand and hand Cauthon on his back but could not get the pin.
The loss in the opening round, put Holloway in a tough situation, as one more loss would have ended his season almost as fast as it began, but Holloway rose to the occasion. Working his way through the consolation bracket, Holloway defeated Preston Farris of Basehor-Linwood with a 9-1 decision, then downed Anthony Baker of Tonganoxie with a 10-2 major decision, and advanced to the consolation final with a 9-4 decision over Max Mancuso of St. James Academy.
The third place match gave Holloway a rematch of his opening round loss, as he faced Cauthon again. The rematch was a good news, bad news scenario for Holloway, the bad news was Cauthon was victorious again, on the strength of an 8-3 decision, but the good news was Holloway had already qualified for state by just reaching the consolation final.
Not bad for your first week in school, jumping right onto the wrestling team in a new school and having your first tournament be the regional tournament, and then to top it off, you earn a chance to represent your new school in the state tournament.
“Jamal is a very talented young man, with a desire to win that is very impressive,” Hermreck said. “He wrestled really well on the consolation side of the bracket, and we found out this young man is a fierce competitor with a big heart.”
While the addition of Holloway and his surprising run to a state tournament berth was a big story for the Panthers, it didn’t overshadow the fact that three other members of the team also punched their tickets to the state tournament.
The Panthers were assured of at least one entrant to the tournament after the opening rounds on Friday, as Tyler Henness had wrestled his way to the championship match at 160 pounds. Henness opened with a pin over David Higgins of Osawatomie and then defeatd Jaysson Tansey of Sumner Academy on a 15-0 technical fall. In the semifinals Henness took a 5-3 decision over Joe Johnson of Basehor-Linwood.
“Tyler wrestled extremely well,” Hermreck said. “In the semifinals he beat a very good wrestler. Tyler has a huge up-side to his wrestling, he’s had some adversity in his young career, but if anyone on our team can handle it, Tyler is the guy.”
In the championship match, Henness faced Cole Cannon of DeSoto, and although Henness was pinned in by Cannon, he had earned a spot in the state tournament.
The the Panthers big men, Spencer Trumbly and Cale Karigan, the trip to a state tournament invitation also went through the consolation bracket. But in both cases, early wins put them directly into the consolation semifinals where one win punched their ticket to state.
For Trumbly, wrestling at 215 pounds, the trip started with pins over Joshua Leal of Sumner Academy in the first round and over Jonas Myers of Tonganoxie in the quarter finals. Jordan Oslidal of Ottawa knocked Trumbly to the consolation bracket on a 5-2 decision. In the consolation semifinals, Trumbly defeated Airen Maxwell of Piper on a 4-3 decision before falling to Boomer Mays of Eudora on a pin in the third place match.
In the 285 pound class, Karigan opened with a 3-2 decision over Tyler Ewy of Louisburg before a pin by Caleb Clayton-Molby of Eudora knocked him down to the consolation bracket. In the consolation semifinals Karigan took a 3-2 decision over Jesse Austin of Baldwin. After punching his state tournament ticket by advancing to the consolation final, Karigan topped his tournament off with a win as he again defeated Ewy by a 3-1 decision.
“Spencer and Cale worked extremely hard to end up where they have,” Hermreck said. “These two deserve everything good that happens to them, they have worked hard, put in their time and have done things the right way. It’s nice to see Spencer and Cale accomplish their goals.”
Two other wrestlers that Hermreck was really high on were Kurt Weaver and Chris Edwards. Both wrestlers fell one match short of qualifying for state, but Hermreck said their grit and determination set the tone for the rest of the tournament.
“Kurt Weaver had the match of the tournament with our team. He was wrestling a tough opponent from Ottawa in a back in forth match, Kurt was losing and then starting working his way back into the match point by point,” Hermreck said. “He has heart, he works and works and never gives up. We started fueling off our opponents lack of conditioning and mental mistakes. In a grueling match, he got the fall within the last few seconds with the score being somewhere around 15-13 or so. Kurt had it in his eyes that he was not losing and his will carried him.”
Weaver at 140 pounds, had opened the tournament with a loss by a pin to Greg Schiffelbein of Baldwin, but then pinned David Barnes of Santa Fe Trail followed by Austin Nutt of Ottawa in the match Hermreck talked about. Weaver lost in the consolation semifinals to Collin Zwart by a 13-2 major decision, one win short of a state tournament berth.
“At the same time as Weaver’s match against the kid from Ottawa, directly across the gym Chris Edwards perfectly positioned himself with a maneuver that put the second seed of his bracket on his back and got the fall,” Hermreck said. “Those were two huge wins and both had nothing to do with coaching it was desired to propelled them to win.”
Edwards, wrestling at 152 pounds, also opened with a loss on a 9-2 decision to Tyler Crowe of Eudora. Like Weaver, Edwards won his next two matches, the first to Dakota Peterson of Santa Fe Trail on a 7-1 decision before pinning Justin Bauswell of Piper to advance to the consolation semifinals. Edwards lost to Will Von Bargen of Baldwin by a 15-0 technical fall in his next match, leaving him one victory short of a state tournament invitation.
“We are excited to be taking four great competitors to the state tournament,” Hermreck said. “This is a result of a group of great young men putting the effort and commitment into a sport that tests a young man’s desire to compete both mentally and physically. We have lots to be happy about with our entire team, each weight class has a great story within itself.”
Complete listings of each Panther wrestler is listed on this page.