Lansing wrestlers to open season Saturday at Spring Hill
Had admission been charged to Tuesday night's Red-White Scrimmage at Lansing High, fans likely would've got their money's worth out of the evening.
LHS wrestling coach Ron Averill gave fans a sneak peek at his squad's top performers by allowing his best guys to put on a show. In addition to battles for varsity positions at each weight class, Averill broke ranks in a few circumstances. For instance, he paired sophomore Nick Flynn - a sixth-place state medalist last year at 112 pounds - against 135-pound junior Kyle Buehler, last year's fourth-place finisher at 125. Buehler used his extra weight to his advantage as he won, 13-0.
Then came the main event as 140-pound senior Sean Flynn (sixth at state last year at 130 pounds) squared off with 145-pound junior Kyle Grape, the 2005 state champ at 140. In a match that had the crowd roaring with approval from start to finish, Flynn took early control and won a 6-3 decision.
"We had a lot of good matches tonight," Averill said. "Tonight was a good opportunity for us to get some time under our belt and get some good competition under our belt. Tonight really helped us get focused for this Saturday."
Lansing will open its season at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Spring Hill Tournament. The competition has been fierce in years past at Spring Hill, but Averill said it wouldn't be as challenging this time because St. Thomas Aquinas, the Class 6A state champion last year, pulled out of the tournament. Also, Spring Hill graduated a number of its top wrestlers.
"This weekend the field isn't as deep as it has been," Averill said. "Team-wise, we should be looking pretty good."
For some of the Lions, their toughest matches of the week may have taken place in Tuesday's intrasquad scrimmage. Six of the 11 matches went the full three two-minute rounds and there were signs that fatigue had set in on a number of the wrestlers.
"We need to be ready to wrestle six-minute matches all day long, and we saw tonight that we're still not quite ready to do that," Averill said. "Fortunately, everybody else is in the same boat."
The bruising that the Lions put on each other during the scrimmage was indicative of the way practice has gone, Averill said.
"The guys have been practicing pretty hard and, to be honest, they've been beating up on each other a little bit in practice," he said. "I'm really anxious to get them into the tournaments and meets where we can start banging up on other people and take it easy on each other a little bit."
Lansing will send a largely veteran squad to the Spring Hill Tournament. Those competing Saturday will be sophomore Dennis Wood (103), junior Scott Keller (112), sophomore Chance Thackston (119), Nick Flynn (125), senior Bobby Hamilton (130), Buehler (135), Sean Flynn (140), Grape (145), senior Jeff Terrill (152), senior Lance Fink (160), senior Jordan Pratt (171), senior Ryan Civils (189) and senior Logan Ryan (215).
Sophomore Brad Terron might compete at 275, although he would be giving up a lot of weight because he usually competes at 189 or 215.
Saturday's tournament is the first of three varsity competitions before winter break. Lansing will compete at the Eudora Tournament on Dec. 9-10 and then play host to Basehor-Linwood and Bishop Ward on Dec. 14.