Split at dual oh-so-sweet for Bobcats
In most wrestling duals a split would just be considered a so-so result.
But for the Basehor-Linwood High School wrestling team, last Wednesday's split at Bonner Springs had to be considered a victory.
The Bobcats were without two of their most experienced wrestlers, Dustin Sullivan and Brandon Magaha, because of injuries, yet still managed a relatively easy 42-30 victory over their arch-rivals from Bonner Springs.
The Bobcats lost their other match, against Louisburg, despite strong efforts from Zach Davis, Trevor Pipken and Josh Bowen, who all went 2-0 on the day.
For BLHS coach Scott Neil, it was a surprisingly solid performance for the squad's first competition of the year.
"I thought our kids made some mistakes, but we actually did better than I anticipated," Neil said.
Besides Davis, Pipken and Bowen, BLHS had two other wrestlers go undefeated.
Stephen Millison and Travis Inlow both beat their opponent from Louisburg but faced open weight divisions against Bonner Springs. Seniors Dustin Weimer and Will Peterson both suffered defeats against Louisburg, but came back strong with pins in their second matches. In fact, all five of Basehor-Linwood's victories against the Braves came by pin.
For Davis, who represents BLHS's best chance at state tournament representation, Wednesday's dual was little more than a glorified warm-up. He toyed with both of his opponents briefly before ending each match in less than a minute. His method of choice was feinting at his opponent with a few quick, light head slaps before moving in for the killing strike.
"Zach's on a mission," Neil said. "He should have medaled last year in the state tournament.... He's been working very hard in practice and he's not messing around."
Davis' success was no surprise, but the strong performance from Bowen was a bit unexpected. The freshman faced some solid competition in the 215-pound division and had to rally for a come-from-behind victory against Louisburg.
"He kept grinding away in his match," Neil said. "He got behind, then threw two headlocks, one to get him back in the match and one to win the match. It's not my favorite move by any means, but it worked for him."
The continued emergence of Bowen would bode well for the future of a BLHS program that will lose some strong senior wrestlers next year.
Other good signs for the future include the success the junior varsity wrestlers had last Wednesday. Neil said he was especially impressed with the efforts of Austin Call and Swede Johnson.
Next up for the Bobcats is a weekend battle at Clay Center. Saturday's matches are set to begin at 9:30 a.m.