Tourney a true ‘Classic’
In the fourth annual Bobcat Classic seniors Ryan Heffley and Cody Bell continued to distinguish themselves, while many of their Bobcat teammates showed improvement over the beginning of the season.
Bell finished third in the 119-pound weight class, and Heffley finished fourth in the 275-pound weight class. As a team the Bobcats finished 19th in the 26-team field. Bell went 4-1 and Heffley 3-2, making them the only Bobcats to finish with winning records in the tournament, but Basehor coach Scott Neil praised all his wrestlers.
"Overall, I was pleased with all our kids," Neil said. "I thought they all wrestled well and I saw improvement against some stiff competition."
The tournament brought together a host of the strongest wrestling programs in the state of Kansas, including Abilene, Garden City, Columbus, Goodland and others. But the team that stood at the top of the pack at the end turned out to be Glenwood, the sole representative from Iowa at the tournament. Glenwood finished with 175.5 points, 26 points ahead of runner-up Kansas City Turner.
Last year's champions, Garden City, finished in fourth place, but coach Martin Segovia was pleased with the performance.
"Our goal is never to win when we come here," Segovia said. "Our goal is to just improve so that we're ready for the tournament at the end of the year."
Segovia said he continued to be impressed with the caliber of the Bobcat Classic.
"Bob Keeler and his staff are great people," Segovia said. "You won't find a better-run tournament than Basehor-Linwood's."
With a team much less experienced than those of Glenwood or Garden City, Neil relied heavily on proven seniors Bell and Heffley, and they responded.
Bell's only loss came Friday in a heated struggle against Goodland's Blayze Bahe, who came into the tournament ranked first in the state with a 16-0 record.
Early in the match Bahe whipped Bell violently to the mat, leaving him slow to get up. But Bell recovered and fought on, trailing just 4-5 going into the final round. After getting Bahe on his back a couple times and losing him, Bell was pinned with just 33.6 seconds left.
On the next day of the tournament Bell would defeat Tim Munyan of St. Thomas Aquinas and Drew Langel of Glenwood, who came into the Classic with records of 13-2 and 17-6, respectively, to take third place.
Bahe would go on to finish second, and both Neil and Goodland coach Randy Bahe said there was a good chance he and Bell might end up in a rematch at the state tournament. Neil said their match had helped show him what Bell needed to work on until then.
"We've got to get him in better shape, but we knew that," Neil said. "Another thing is his movement on the mat. In that match he was moving too much, he had a lot of wasted motion. He did good when he calmed down. Had he wrestled like he did today it might have been a different outcome."
Heffley, in just his second year of competitive wrestling, continued to make a name for himself. He had impressive victories against Glenwood's A.J. Lucy, who entered the tournament at 17-5, and St. Thomas Aquinas' Ryan Cocharan (11-4).
"For a second year wrestler, he continues to please me all the time," Neil said. "He's really become someone you can't take lightly, and I think we'll probably see him at state."
Neil also praised the efforts of sophomore Dustin Weimer. Weimer had just one victory on the year coming into the tournament, but managed two against the Classic's tough competition.
"He still has some first-year mistakes, but that's to be expected," Neil said of Weimer. "He was behind in a couple of those matches and came back, so that shows that the kid's got a lot of heart."
Zach Davis, Todd Bell and Keith Jacobson all had one victory to finish out the scoring for Basehor, which finished with 52 points.