Buck sixth at State
BLHS senior Brandon Buck wraps up wrestling career with a medal at state
Senior Brandon Buck left Wichita with a medal at the 4A state wrestling tournament, but he and the Basehor-Linwood wrestlers did not meet their own expectations as a team.
Buck was the only Bobcat to make a trip to the podium, garnering a sixth-place medal while the team tied for 35th with only 16 team points at the state meet in the Kansas Coliseum.
"It just wasn't our year. I wasn't very happy with the tournament, really," said Basehor-Linwood head coach Scott Neil. "Three weeks ago, I thought we had a possible three state champions. I thought we had four medallists.
"I am disappointed, but we didn't have a lot of (state) tourney experience," Neil said. "I don't think the kids wrestled poorly. They just didn't know what to expect. I'm not disappointed in the kids because they picked it up at the end of the year and gave all they had."
Buck had the highest expectations on him, but he also had the most to overcome, Neil said.
In his bracket, 10 of the 16 wrestlers had more than 30 wins, and his first round match was against last year's third place winner at the same weight.
Two wrestlers who placed last year did not place this year.
"His bracket was so darn tough," Neil said. "You wrestle the same bracket this week, and it'll be totally different. It was one of those things where you make one mistake and you lose."
Buck made that one mistake in the second round against the eventual state champion, Abilene's Ross Taplin, Neil said.
Taplin won the match 3-2, but he earned a penalty point that prevented overtime. With the match scoreless, Taplin's head struck Buck's, and Buck threw Taplin out of bounds resulting in a point for Taplin, Neil said.
The loss sent Buck into the consolation bracket. He won two matches, putting him in the medal round, but he suffered an injury to his shoulder along the way.
With one shoulder visibly lower than the other, trainers at the tournament thought he might have strained his acromioclavicular (AC) ligaments, Neil said.
Wrestling in pain, he dropped his last two matches for sixth place.
Senior Tim Morgan was the only other Bobcat to win a match at the tournament, one win away from medaling.
He won his first match, but dropped his second match to the eventual runner-up.
In the consolation bracket, he picked up another win, but could not advance to the medal round.
"Tim never got over the hump," Neil said. "This was his third time to be one win away from medaling."
While Morgan never earned the state medal he was searching for, he is still positive about the experience.
"I wrestled pretty good," Morgan said. "I don't have too much to complain about. I should have won my last match, but that's the way it goes.
"It hurt really bad not getting the medal, but you just have to accept the fact," he said. "It's just weird now because it's over. I'll miss competing and being on a team."
The first state appearances for seniors Jeff Lackner and Albert King and freshman Zach Davis were unkind. The three went 0-2 at the tournament, finishing their seasons on the first day.
"They did not do too bad," Neil said of the three newcomers to state. "I don't know if they were ready for the state atmosphere. It is tough to have your first appearance be as a senior, because you want to have experience when you come into this thing. (Lackner and King) won't have another shot."