Archive for Thursday, February 19, 2004

BLHS wrestlers 7th at league tournament

Three Bobcats earn medals at Kaw Valley League meet

February 19, 2004

In a league tournament full of surprises, one thing that didn't surprise anyone was Cody Bell's performance.

As expected, the Basehor wrestling star tore through his weight division, beating everyone in his path to become a league champ.

"He really didn't have much competition," Basehor coach Scott Neil said. "There's nothing wrong with the guys he beat, they're just younger and not quite where Cody's at right now."

Bell was no surprise as an individual champion, but the team champion, Bonner Springs, was a bit of a shocker.

The Braves hosted the tournament and used the home crowd to their advantage, beating out favorites Lansing and Santa Fe Trail for first place.

"I have to commend Bonner. I thought they had a great tournament," Neil said. "It's actually the first time in quite a few years that Santa Fe Trail has been dethroned."

Bonner's Brad Rittinghouse played a big part in the dethroning. The heavyweight was seeded No. 3 but beat Santa Fe's Daniel Shively, a two-seed, and went on to face Basehor's Ryan Heffley in the final.

Heffley, the top-seeded heavyweight, had little trouble dispatching Tonganoxie's Alan Bauerly 13-1 in the semifinals, but faltered against Rittinghouse. Rittinghouse pinned Heffley to become a league champion.

"He really wrestled a smart match," Neil said of Rittinghouse. "He had a solid strategy and it worked out."

Zach Davis was the only other Bobcat who earned a medal besides Bell and Heffley. The sophomore lost in the final of the 112-pound weight class to take second. Neil said he had hoped for a fifth place finish as a team, but had to settle for seventh.

"I thought we might get a few more to come through the back door and place, but it didn't work out," Neil said.

Neil said the long season was starting to drag on some of the young wrestlers and that fatigue might have been a factor.

The Bobcats will have to reach deep and find the energy to push through a few more important weeks.

Friday and Saturday the Bobcats will compete at a 4A regional tournament at Hiawatha High School. The winners move on to the state tournament in Wichita the following weekend.

Neil said Davis, Bell and Heffley were all favorites to end up at state.

"Anything can happen, but those three I'd say have the best opportunity," Neil said.

Regardless of how many Bobcats place this weekend, Neil said it had been a successful rebuilding year.

"Overall I'm happy with the improvements," Neil said. "We've made big strides, and I'll expect a lot more next year."

The regional tournament at Hiawatha will begin at 2 p.m. and will conclude Saturday.

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