Slammers make strong showing on first day of state tournament
Four Lansing wrestlers already assured of medals
Topeka The Slammer Wrestling Club won 11 of its 13 first-round matches Friday at the USA Wrestling Kansas Kids State Championships as part of an electrifying early session at the Kansas Expocentre.
Stiff challenges followed, however, but the squad persevered through a number of second-round losses and consolation bracket victories and advanced 12 wrestlers to Saturday's final rounds.
"It's been 13 years now and we've only had three state champions, but to get this many guys who are still going is fantastic," Slammers coach Mike Flynn said.
Four Slammers already are assured of taking home medals. Those wrestlers - Elijah Hill, William Jacobson, Brad Terron and Sean Flynn - all won their first two matches before losing in the semifinals. All four will wrestle in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning and battle for the right to compete for third place.
"We're going to go the whole backside all morning," Flynn said. "Everyone in the semifinals already medaled, but they're going all the way to the other side. They're going to be competing for third and fourth."
Eight other Slammers will have numerous matches facing them Saturday if they hope to medal.
Bo Pursel, Rowdy Andrews, Geno DeGraw, Spencer Blew, Cullen Demarest, Nick Flynn, Eric Wessel and Josh Myers split their first two matches and began the march up the consolation ladder. For most of the wrestlers it's relatively new territory. For Nick Flynn, however, it's familiar ground. Flynn, a freshman at Lansing High, has placed fourth and fifth at the Kansas Kids State Championships in previous years. He also placed sixth at 112-pounds last month during the high school season.
Two Slammers in particular - Pursel and Blew - were frustrated with their showings because they will be unable to defend state championships from last year. Flynn said that although they were frustrated, he was proud of how hard both competed and said he was confident both would learn from the experience and respond with hard-fought matches Saturday.
The lone casualty of the day came in Lansing High junior Logan Ryan's first match of the day in the 215-pound division. Ryan appeared to sustain an injury to his left shoulder and was forced to take a medical default for the remainder of the tournament. The extent of his injury was not known.
To find out how the Slammers fared Saturday, check back to the Web site Saturday night. For a photo gallery from the state meet with photos of all 13 Slammers at state, visit lansingcurrent.com Monday afternoon.