The Lansing High School wrestling team had five place-finishers Saturday in the Bobcat Classic at Basehor-Linwood High School.
The team finished sixth out of 35 teams that represented five states.
There were 29 Kansas teams, three Missouri teams, and one each from Colorado, Iowa and Oklahoma.
“It’s not unusual for previous state placers to not be able to place in this tournament,” LHS head coach Ron Averill said. “When we have kids that are able to step up and place, that’s a strong indicator of things to come at the state tournament.”
Michael Olsen, Caleb Ward, Hector Porter, Mason Naphy and Cole Hoing each placed.
Olsen pinned three opponents and won the 145-pound championship match by a 6-3 decision.
“He just went out there and controlled the match,” Averill said. “He wrestled a smart match and basically didn’t make any mistakes.”
At 195 pounds, Ward placed second after two wins by decision, a pin and a loss by pin in the championship match.
“He was seeded second and that was the expectation that was on him,” Averill said. “But, the reality is that if you get out there and make any mistakes, it can cost you. He wrestled a very clean tournament.”
Ward faced a Missouri wrestler from Blue Springs High School in Michael Pixley, who is ranked second in the nation at 195 pounds.
“It was definitely a big step up from what I have been wrestling,” Ward said. “I found a lot of stuff I need to work on.”
Ward said the tournament was noticeably more challenging than previous years, and that he just needed to be smoother and faster during matches.
“You definitely had to wrestle hard for every match,” he said. “It was definitely a step up from a regular tournament.”
Porter and Naphy each placed sixth at 220 pounds and 285 pounds, respectively.
Hoing finished eighth at 138 pounds after going 3-3 for the tournament.
“All three of those guys went out there and wrestled well,” Averill said. “We lost some close matches against major competitors. Even in our losses, we were competing.”
Averill said he got positive feedback from coaches and spectators.
“I know we had a lot of complimentary comments from opposing coaches and opposing fans of the way our wrestlers competed and presented themselves on the mat,” he said. “One of our strengths this year is that the guys were encouraging each other and giving each other advice.”
Hoing said it’s the same way every day in practice.
“We have a great wrestling room here and it’s a great practice environment,” he said. “It’s the all week grind that makes the Saturday finishes so great.”
Hoing had three wins by pin and three losses by either decision or major decision.
“For me it just comes down to cleaning up technique,” Hoing said. “Seeing a lot of these same top-level guys at every tournament, I know what I need to work on individually and at this point it’s just working on that stuff.”
Next up for LHS is the Holton Tournament at 9 a.m. Saturday.