It was a rollercoaster season for the Lansing wrestling team, according to head coach Nick Flynn.
“Injuries, sickness and weather,” Flynn said. “You name it, we experienced it this year. We had a ton of ups and downs, but I was very happy with how the team finished. I was proud of the way our team committed to the process and stayed the course. We wrestled great at the state tournament and I was proud of the development our kids showed through the adversity that they went through.”
Lansing had four wrestlers place and took 12th as a team at the state tournament. Camden Maestas was third, Braiden McKee was fifth and Joesph Irwin and Dylan McLain each took sixth. The Lions also received points from Tucker Bieber, Gabriel Bailey, Malachi Tinnel and Dylan Ward. Ayreon Daniels, Kobi Lawrence and Calvin Sholey also wrestled in the state tournament for Lansing.
Flynn said Maestas’ state performance was the best individual performance by a Lion this season.
“(Maestas) was really just on another level at the state tournament,” Flynn said.
Along with the strong performance at state, Flynn said one of the other best performances as a team came in the Leavenworth dual. The meet was held in the auditorium at Lansing. Flynn said the different environment made the match more special.
He also said it is hard to pick one specific memory that stands out.
“It is hard to pick a favorite memory,” he said. “From Justin Mirto picking up varsity pins to help us win the Eudora tournament, Ayreon Daniels pinning a kid who had beaten him twice early in the season to make it to state, Camden Maestas losing a heartbreaker in the state semifinals but then showing the drive and perseverance to come through the back side and take third at state or when Braiden McKee beat two different opponents in a row that had beaten him at regionals in order to get a state medal. Even just the day to day interactions with the team. Looking back, we had a lot of great moments and I really enjoyed this group of young men.”
The weather was a big factor this winter with numerous days of school called off and tournaments shifted around due to the weather. Despite it being difficult, Flynn said the team can’t control it so they just made the adjustments they could and moved on.
With the season now over, the Lions will send off a strong group of seniors.
“Individually, all of our seniors brought so much to our team,” Flynn said. “Claye Howard and Joseph Irwin have been great leaders for us the past two years. That leadership will be missed. Braiden McKee finished with a huge example of how when you get to the state tournament anything can happen. He beat two kids that beat him at regionals in order to place at state. I will be telling that story for many more years to come. Dylan McLain brought a certain edge to our program that we have been lacking for some time now. He came in with brute force and showed our team a killer instinct. We need that.
“Malachi Tinnel showed how mindset and commitment is the difference between good and great. I hope our younger guys were watching him and saw how his success this year was directly because he made the decision to put in the work and do things the right way. These guys will be missed.”
Flynn also said Tinnel would be both the MVP and most improved for Lansing this season. Tinnel recorded the fastest pin for Lansing this season in 15 seconds. He also had the most pins, most takedowns, most near fall 3-pointers and was tied with Irwin for most near fall 2-pointers. Flynn said Tinnel put in a lot of work in the offseason to allow the senior to make big gains as a wrestler.
“The crazy thing is that he is still getting so much better,” Flynn said. “I can't wait to watch him in college and see him continue to develop.”
Looking ahead to the future, Flynn said he wants to get another two-day tournament on the Lions’ schedule and for them to travel to see more Wichita schools. Flynn also said the coaches will be pushing for freestyle and Greco training and will expose the wrestlers to Olympic style wrestling as well. Flynn is already excited for next year.
“I am already excited for next year,” he said. “We have some great wrestlers returning and stepping up in spots where we are graduating kids. I am very confident in these guys. They are really pumped about training this summer and getting right back to work. It is very exciting as a coach when your team is taking the initiative to get better.”