Lansing wrestlers keep perfect season alive
Silver Lake next test for No. 1 LHS
The Kansas wrestling state tournament is five weeks away, but already it is becoming clear which teams might be destined for a championship showdown.
Lansing High remains undefeated this season and has held the No. 1 ranking in Class 5A since the season began. Meanwhile, the state's No. 2 squad in 5A, St. Thomas Aquinas, just demolished the field at the Bobcat Classic at Basehor-Linwood. The Classic's second-place team was 2004 state champion Turner.
Although LHS coach Ron Averill said he doesn't worry about what other teams do as long as his squad does its best, he admitted he couldn't help but notice which teams stood out at the Bobcat Classic.
"That doesn't come as a surprise," he said of the strong showings by Aquinas and Turner. "We knew that both of those teams were going to be strong. We're just going to have to make sure we do everything we can to be prepared to wrestle our matches at regionals or state or wherever.
"As long as we go out there and do our very best, that's all you can ask for, but we have to be ready to do that."
Lansing and Turner will square off at the regional tournament on Feb. 17-18. LHS won't see Aquinas - last year's 6A champion - until state, which is Feb. 24-25 at the Kansas Coliseum in Wichita.
Lansing and Aquinas only have been at one tournament together this year. That was the Eudora Tournament of Champions. Lansing ran away with the Eudora team title. Meanwhile, Aquinas placed seventh but was shorthanded because of multiple suspensions.
Averill isn't worried about Aquinas or Turner right now, though. For the moment, he said his focus is on preparing his squad for its duals at 5:30 p.m. today at Silver Lake against Hiawatha and Silver Lake, as well as Saturday's trip to the Holton Invitational.
The toughest opponent of the week should be Silver Lake, Averill said. The Eagles are a traditional power in Kansas wrestling, and Averill said they are as strong as ever this year.
"Silver Lake is just strong all the way through," Averill said. "I haven't really scouted them out weight class by weight class, but I know we're just going to do down there, put our best lineup on the mat and hopefully be able to walk out with a win.
"We're going to have to go down there and have everybody wrestle their best match of their life, just like we tell them they need to be able to do every time out. They're aware of what they have to do."
Four Lansing High wrestlers have perfect records this season. Junior Kyle Buehler owns a 19-0 record at 135 pounds, and senior Sean Flynn is 19-0 at 140. Meanwhile, senior Dennis Kessler (171) and senior Ryan Civils (189) both are 9-0.
Junior Kyle Grape (145) is 20-1 this season, senior Logan Ryan (215) is 17-2, Nick Flynn (130) is 15-2, Lance Fink (160) is 16-4 and Dennis Wood (103) is 14-4.
JV DOMINATES AT HOME
The LHS junior varsity wrestlers made an impressive showing Thursday night as they protected their home turf against Christ Prep Academy and Piper. The Lions won five of their eight matches, and all were by pin. Senior Jordan Pratt, junior Taylor Teeters and freshman Tyler Strouhal all had first-period pins against Christ Prep. Freshman Sean Gowdy had a second-period pin. Then, in the only JV match against Piper, sophomore Tabitha Carroll needed just 40 seconds to earn a pin.
SENIOR NIGHT REVISITED
The Lansing High wrestling team sent its eight seniors out in style Thursday evening as it hammered Christ Prep Academy and Piper in dual action at Johnsmeyer Gymnasium.
LHS shut out Christ Prep, 73-0, in the opener and later disposed of Piper, 72-6, in the final home matches for seniors Ryan Civils, Bobby Hamilton, Sean Flynn, Jeff Terrill, Jordan Pratt, Dennis Kessler, Logan Ryan and Lance Fink.
Each of the seniors collected at least one victory during the duals, and Lansing dropped just one match all night.
LIONS DOMINATE TOURNAMENT
The Prairie View Wrestling Invitational changed from a bracket tournament to a dual tournament, but the format switch didn't faze Lansing High.
Instead, Lansing used the duals to once again prove why it is the No. 1 ranked team in Kansas Class 5A. It hammered Shawnee Mission South (69-9), Prairie View (60-18), Ottawa (62-6), Coffeyville Field Kindley (62-16) and Chanute (63-12) before leaving La Cygne as tournament champs for the second year in a row.
"Throughout the day, we only lost seven matches," Averill said.
By winning the tournament, Lansing improved its season dual record to 11-0. It is 5-0 in Kaw Valley League duals this year.