BLHS wrestlers making history
The 2001 season has been very good to the Basehor-Linwood wrestling team.
In its first dual of the season BLHS traveled to Bonner Springs and beat the Braves for the first time ever.
A week later, the Bobcats had nine wrestlers place and the team took second at the Atchison County meet.
The Bobcats set another team best mark on Saturday, Dec. 8, with their finish at the Clay Center Tournament.
The Bobcats have competed in the Clay Center Tournament for several years, but had not finished higher than sixth.
On Saturday, however, behind the strength of six wrestlers who placed, BLHS finished fourth in the team standings. Assistant coach Tim Nedeau said the team was thrilled about the result.
"Fourth is the highest we've ever placed there and we feel very confident about that," Nedeau said. "The guys really worked hard at the meet and really wanted to make a statement, and I think with fourth place we did that."
The Bobcats finished behind some of 4A's biggest powerhouse wrestling teams and ahead of a few more.
Clay Center won the meet and Norton finished second, but traditional power Abilene was behind BLHS and so were five others.
Placing among the big boys has the Bobcats fired up and it has given them even more confidence heading into the rest of the season.
"Getting fourth at Clay Center is not like getting fourth at just any old regular meet," senior Joe Johnson said. "It's pretty good and I think it's really going to help us with the rest of the year. We're a confident team right now."
Nedeau said that prior to the meet, the Bobcats realized they were going to face some stiff competition. Because Basehor-Linwood did not have its usual Tuesday dual, the Bobcats were able to use the extra day for preparation.
"The guys worked really hard last week," Nedeau said. "They put the work in during the week and they wrestled tough at the tournament and I know that Coach (Scott) Neil was very pleased with our team's conditioning.
"After the second round he (Neil) told the guys to take every match to the third round because we were better conditioned than the other teams there."
Apparently it worked.
Senior Matt Dukes kept his 2001 record perfect with a first-place finish and Brandon Buck joined him by taking home the top honor.
Dukes wrestled at 145 pounds this week and Buck wrestled at 152.
The Bobcats also had three wrestlers place second. Cody Bell at 112 pounds, Tim Morgan at 130 pounds and Matt Gillette in the heavyweight division all reached the finals.
Nedeau said the Bobcats had more wrestlers in the finals than any other team.
Craig Bower was the final Bobcat to place, as he finished fourth in the 119 pound division.
The Bobcats will hit the mat again on Thursday, Dec. 13, when they travel to De Soto for a dual with De Soto and Lansing.
The dual will be the final meet for the Bobcats until after the Christmas break.