Seniors set for final home showing
Tonight's wrestling dual at Basehor-Linwood High School will signal the end of an era for the Bobcats.
It will be the final time on the home mats for six seniors, including state tournament veterans Zach Davis and Dustin Sullivan.
The Bobcats will face off against Piper and Perry-Lecompton for Senior Night, starting at 5:30 p.m.
Open weight classes have limited Basehor-Linwood's success in dual meets this year, but coach Scott Neil said the team should be pretty evenly matched with the Pirates and Kaws.
"There'll be some good matches just because all three teams are inexperienced," Neil said. "And we all have about the same amount of opens, so it will probably come down to who gets the most pins, and one pin could make the difference."
If Basehor-Linwood needs a pin, Sullivan and Davis will be the ones most likely to get it. Both are proven stars on the mat, but have had very different years.
Early on Davis was dominant, going undefeated until the Bonner Springs Tourney on Jan. 7.
While Davis was excellent early, Sullivan was slow in getting started. He was hampered by tendonitis early in the year and was held out of a few competitions for missing practice over winter break.
Since he's come back though, Sullivan has been on fire. He's medaled in the past two tournaments, finishing fourth in the hyper-competitive Bobcat Classic and third in a strong field at last Saturday's Garden City Invitational.
"He wrestled really well," Neil said after the Garden City tournament. "His only loss was to the eventual champion from Ponderosa, Colorado, who's one of the top kids in the nation."
Sullivan was the only wrestler who went the full three periods against the champion from Ponderosa. Neil said he was easily the second-best 140-pounder at Garden City and his match-up with the champ proved it.
"One of the biggest reasons is he's just in great shape," Neil said. "He just kept coming after him and toward the end of the match the other kid had his head down, he looked tired."
Sullivan was Basehor-Linwood's brightest star in Garden City. Three other seniors, Will Peterson, Dustin Weimer and Davis won one match each. It was the second straight disappointing finish for Davis.
After starting the season on such a tear, Davis has now finished out of the medals in the last two tournaments. His slide began almost exactly when Sullivan started piling up the wins. For Davis, Senior Night will provide one last chance to get back on track before the Kaw Valley League tournament and postseason.
For Neil the event will be a final opportunity to showcase a hard-working senior class and usher in the next generation of BLHS wrestling stars.
In addition to saying goodbye to one class, Neil will say hello to another when he introduces the junior high wrestlers, a highly-decorated group. The junior high squad has gone undefeated in dual meets in the last two years and has won all but one of its tournaments during that span.