Senior determined to place at state
For most Kansas high school wrestlers, the ultimate goal is to earn a trip to the state tournament in Wichita.
But Basehor-Linwood's Zach Davis is one of the few for whom just getting to Wichita isn't enough.
The senior made it to state his first three years and so, in his last season, he's shooting for a top-six finish and a state medal.
Basehor-Linwood coach Scott Neil is confident that Davis can do it. In fact, Neil said Davis probably should have medaled last year.
"The kid who beat him he'd already beaten twice that year, but he just basically got his foot caught in the side of the mat and tripped," Neil said.
Davis doesn't remember the name of that particular opponent who knocked him out last year, but he remembers their matches. He won the first two by a pin and a tech fall before losing the all-important state tournament match when he tripped himself up.
Davis said that particular foe wrestled for Santa Fe Trail and he thinks he'll be around again this year.
"I hope I face him," Davis said. "I'd probably try really hard in that match."
Davis, with his wealth of experience, has taken on more of a leadership role with the Bobcats this year. He's never been one to talk just to hear his own voice, but Neil said he's noticed Davis being more vocal this year.
"He's not in that shell anymore, he's come out of that a little bit," Neil said. "He doesn't talk needlessly, but when you need him to say something to one of the younger kids, he will."
If some of Davis' success can rub off on his teammates, the Bobcats might have a solid year, despite some low numbers. He and fellow senior Dustin Sullivan are both returning with state tournament experience, and the wrestling roster boasts other key seniors as well in Brandon Magaha, Will Peterson and Dustin Weimer.
"We won't be a very good dual team because we don't have all the spots filled but we do have a lot more experience than last year," Davis said.
Davis said that he, personally, would probably work a little harder than in year's past, simply because it's his last shot at placing at state. His coach has already noticed a slight change in Davis' approach to workouts.
"He's a little more intense about doing things right," Neil said. "He's a little more intense about the details."
Neil said his sole concern with Davis was his weight. In last year's state tournament Davis wrestled in the 119-pound division. Since then he has bulked up to a cut 140 pounds. Neil would like to see him wrestling at 130 pounds this year.
No matter what number he ends up with on the scale, Davis is shooting for a number that is six or lower this year. That is, a six-place or better finish at state, which is what it will take to earn a medal.