BLHS wrestlers 6th at SM Northwest
Mike Torrez walked out of the Shawnee Mission Northwest gymnasium as a champion on Saturday, winning the 103-pound weight class at the Cougar Invitational.
He wrestled well throughout the early-season tournament and was never in trouble during the championship match, coach Scott Neil said.
The tournament is another sign of development for Torrez who, as a sophomore, is one of numerous Bobcat underclassmen making noise on the mat. He has gotten physically stronger and improved his techniques since last season.
“He is getting a lot tougher in the neutral position,” Neil said. “He is not giving up takedowns and his defense is coming along. He is not making the mistakes he made last year. He is better on top. When we are in top position, he has done a better job of turning wrestlers over.”
Torrez led the Bobcats to a sixth-place finish with 87 points. Derby was the team champion. In an individual round, he wrestled first and started off the Bobcats with victories. Other wrestlers fed off those victories in their own matches.
In addition to Torrez’s performance, a pair of freshmen also performed well in the tournament.
Tyler Simpson placed second in the 112-pound weight class. He lost in the championship match to a wrestler from Derby.
“I felt like Tyler should have taken first,” Neil said. “He was ahead early in the match and faded a little bit. The guy he was wrestling was able to come back on him. I didn’t feel he wrestled bad in the match, just maybe he didn’t maintain the intensity.”
Derek Pike placed third in the 140-pound weight class.
Chandler King placed third in the 160-pound weight class, and rallied to get the victory.
“I think he gets stronger and starts wrestling better later in the match. He came from behind in a couple of matches,” Neil said.
John Shewman placed fourth in the heavyweight class.
Other wrestlers competed well in the tournament, but missed placing by one match. One wrestler got the flu during the tournament and another lost his medal qualifying-match.
Injuries also played a role in the tournament. The Bobcats wrestled without Symon Seaton who missed the tournament with a pulled muscle. His return to competition is unclear.
“I am trying to be careful with it. These tournaments don’t mean anything in whole scheme of things,” Neil said of holding Seaton out of the competition. “I want him to be ready late in the season. We will reevaluate it this week and see how he is doing.”
Joe Johnson and Garret Kahle also did not wrestle in the tournament. The three wrestlers could have scored enough points to lead Basehor-Linwood to a second-place finish, Neil said.
“It is not too bad, when you go with nine kids and are competing against bigger schools and finish in the middle of the pack,” Neil said. “I thought we wrestled pretty good overall.”
Basehor-Linwood will compete in the Emporia Invitational Wrestling Tournament on Saturday. Schools from Wichita and Emporia and Lansing will compete in the tournament, which is the final one before winter break.
Looking toward the 2009 portion of the season, Neil said the team has lofty expectations for the season.
“I have got some high expectations by the end of the year,” he said. “Looking at regional competition, I will be disappointed if we don’t qualify between five and seven wrestlers for state. That is a long ways off, but those are goals to shoot for.”