LHS wrestlers return with difficult dual tonight, then Louisburg Tournament on Saturday
Nearly a month will have passed since the Lansing High wrestling team last competed by the time the Lions step on the mat at 6 p.m. today at Silver Lake.
Its last time out, Dec. 7-8, the LHS wrestlers battled to a fourth-place finish out of 24 teams at the Eudora Tournament of Champions. Coach Ron Averill is a bit concerned that the extensive time off might make his wrestlers a bit rusty. That's why he's been drilling them so hard in practice for the past week. He doesn't want the dual with Silver Lake and Santa Fe Trail to be a rude awakening.
"We're hoping it'll be more rude for the other teams than it is for us," Averill said. "It's going to be tough. The biggest thing I'm telling them now is we have to be hitting it hard (in practice), and hitting it hard with a purpose."
Silver Lake beat LHS in last year's dual, 48-23, but Lansing bounced back for a 45-36 victory over Santa Fe Trail. This year's Lions present a completely different look, however, with eight freshmen in the varsity lineup.
Two days later, LHS will compete again when it travels to the Louisburg Invitational at 9 a.m. Saturday.
Lansing won the tournament last year when it used a triple-dual format. One of the victories came against Gardner-Edgerton, 46-33. The Blazers were ranked No. 7 in Class 5A at the time. They are ranked No. 6 in 5A this year, and the Lions are ranked No. 10.
In addition to its No. 10 state ranking, Lansing has a handful of ranked wrestlers in various weight classes. Senior Nick Flynn is ranked No. 2 at 152 pounds and junior Grant Hinckley is No. 3 at 160. The latest rankings were updated Dec. 21.
Wichita Bishop Carroll is ranked No. 1 in the team standings, followed by Arkansas City, Valley Center, Emporia and Hutchinson. Defending state champion St. Thomas Aquinas is No. 9.
WOOD STILL OUT
Dennis Wood, a Lansing High senior and state runner-up last year at 103 pounds, continues to sit out with a back injury. His status for the rest of the season remains unclear.
Flynn and Hinckley both are undefeated this season. Flynn is 12-0 and Hinckley is 11-0. Freshman 171-pounder Nathan Wessel also is unblemished at 5-0. Freshman 145-pounder Tyler Baughman is almost perfect at 10-1, and freshman 125-pounder Spencer Blew is 10-2.