A funny thing happened on Eldon’s way to winning the Sherwood Dual Wrestling Meet last Saturday – they ran into the El Dorado Springs wrestling team.
Sherwood had come up undefeated through one side of the bracket. El Dorado Springs had fought their way up through the other bracket.
Bulldog Wrestling Coach Justin Stratton had watched the Eldon team in warm-ups and in some of their matches. He spotted some weaknesses and told his wrestlers how to exploit them.
Coach Stratton said, “It was a dual style tournament, basically team vs. team. There are no individual awards. Even though I have 20 kids on my team, I still have three open weight classes, which means that I give up six points for each of them. So every team that has a full roster, I start off 18 points in the hole. We’ve got to get three pins just to come out even. (A wrestler gets six points for a pin, three points for a decision.)”
“We started off with Sherwood and they defeated us by one point. They had one open position so we gave up 12 points.”
“I bumped two wrestlers up a weight class to give us a chance to win. By bumping Kelly Rice up to 195 and bumping Gage Miller to 220, I was able to put another wrestler in the match or I would have been giving up 18 points.”
“I did the same thing last year with Haden Harper and James Dubois. You make it tough for those kids. Kelly weighed in about upper 170s wrestling 195. Miller weighed in at 189 wrestling 220.”
Q. Did either one of them win their match?
“Kelly went four and one for the day and Gage went four and one for the day. So they really stepped up.”
“We lost to Sherwood by one point, which was extremely tight. Then we beat South Holt 60 – 6. We wrestled St. Pius and won 49 – 12.”
“Then we got to Eldon who won the bracket from the other side. They had steam-rolled their bracket. They had about 30 kids. They were very confident and had a confident fan base.”
“We made some adjustments after watching them in some matches and watching them warm up. We put in a little new strategy for the good team. We were able to beat them 59-24.”
“We only lost one match against them. The rest was the 18 points for forfeits because of open classes.”
The open weight classes are 113, 120, 220 and 285.
“That put us in the first place match against Lone Jack which was a very tough team. They had beaten Sherwood the week before. We ended up beating them 48-36 for the win.”
“They were a well-coached team. They had a lot of strategy and a lot of good kids. For this one, our kids just had to be tenacious to do it, but they did.”
“It’s hard. You have wrestled four times already that day. They kids were tired. The kids really dug deep for this.”
“They were so excited after they pulled off the win. Last year they got third in the tournament.”
Q. What did the win do for your team’s confidence level?
“Great things. I haven’t seen them so happy. They got that first taste.”
ELDO WRESTLERS WIN TOURNAMENT – Members of the El Dorado Springs wrestling team which took first in the Sherwood dual meet over the weekend are (front row from left) Ian Allison, Ethan Dubois, Jakob Boleyn, Austin Burlingam and Dayton Austin; (second row) Matthew Thurman, Coach Justin Stratton, Colby Charles, Kelly Rice, Logan Perrodin, Gage Miller, Haden Harper, James Dubois, Ryan Parshall and Colton Good; and (back row) Emily Ford – manager, Chevy Ashbaker, Landon Leonard, Logan Ellison and Coach Travis Payne.