Bobcat wrestlers pound Braves, fall to Louisburg
Over-confidence may have been the consequence of a sizeable margin of victory in the first match of this years BLHS wrestling season.
The Bobcats easily handled an inexperienced Bonner Springs squad, 72-12, to start the season off on the right foot, but the ease of the victory came with a small price. According to head coach Scott Neil, his wrestlers may have gotten a little cocky.
"I'm happy with the way things are going so far with the season," Neil said. "But we got a little overconfident, and I feel like we should have beaten Louisburg."
A 70-10 loss to Louisburg was the result of the superciliousness, something Neil hopes will change before Saturday, when the Bobcats enter one of the toughest tournaments of the year, at 9:30 a.m. at Clay Center High School.
Some of the better wrestling programs in the state will be at the tourney, including Abilene, Norton, Beloit, Junction City and hosting Clay Center.
"This will be a tough tournament for us; a lot of good teams are going to be there," Neil said. "I don't expect us to win it, but we won't get last either."
Neil's lack of faith in his team's chances doesn't stem from his wrestlers' lack of ability, rather the contrary; he isn't going to bring enough wrestlers to fill all the weight classes. How the Bobcats finish will largely depend on how their top wrestlers perform.
Junior Zach Davis leads an impressive group of Bobcat wrestlers including fellow juniors Dustin Sulivan, Dustin Weimer and sophomore Todd Bell.
Davis, the most experienced wrestler on the team, isn't quite where he wants to be according to Neil, but all his hard work is close to paying off, with an invitation to the state tournament.
"He is a great wrestler and will definitely be a big leader on our team," Neil said of Davis.
As it is in Davis's case, the role of a leader is often a result of experience. With only two years of competitive wrestling under their belts, the pair of Dustins, Sulivan and Weimer, lead by just flat out pushing themselves as hard as they can.
"These guys are out in front of everything, and their leadership really motivates our team," Neil said.
If the name Bell sounds familiar, it's because it's been synonymous with BLHS wrestling for the past four years. Older brother of Todd, Cody Bell was a two- time state qualifier, leaving behind some pretty big shoes for his younger brother to fill. But it's a task this little bro is all too ready for.
"Comparing their two different wrestling styles would be like comparing apples and oranges," Neil said. "Cody was really fast, and Todd likes to throw big moves on people, but it sometime gets him in trouble. He's following right along in the footsteps of his brother. He's really improved his intensity, but Todd doesn't know how good Todd can be."
After a rebuilding season last year, Neil believes that his program will continue to improve, resulting in multiple qualifiers by the time the state tournament nears. The Bobcats have won six duels this season, already doubling the total of last season.
Saturday's competition is a tournament style meet, and the Bobcats have yet to do battle in this fashion, a fact that may play to their weakness.
"I feel like we are a better duel team than a tourney team, but it's hard know until you've been there," Neil said. "We're improving a lot, but we just don't have a lot of tourney power."