Cats hope for better results at JOCO tourney
It's not the wins or the acquired points that count -- it's the experience.
The De Soto wrestling team placed last among 24 teams in the first tournament of the season at the Eudora Tournament of Champions last weekend.
Coach Matt Jones said although the team only acquired 20 points in the five-round tournament, the relatively young team learned what it was going to take to pull out a win.
"We're just inexperienced and we're young," Jones said. "It's a really tough tournament. It really shows them what's out there, and it's good to be exposed to harder teams so they have something to shoot for."
Although no De Soto wrestlers qualified for the first-round individual championship bracket, Jones said the tournament was not without a few bright moments.
The Wildcats managed to pull four different wins over the course of the first five rounds. Tom Beaver, who wrestled in the 189-pound class; Todd Atchison, who wrestled at 112; Eric Buffkin, who wrestled at 152; and heavyweight Michael Deiner all pulled victories last weekend.
With the rest of the weekend's matches resulting in losses, Jones said the team had its work cut out for it. He said he was going to start stressing basic maneuvers and stance positions to help the inexperienced guys adapt to wrestling eight-year veterans.
"Mainly we're going to just focus on good positioning and having a good stance," Jones said. "The moves will come eventually. But if we are in a bad position, the moves won't come easily."
Jones said one new wrestler that suffered from bad positioning at the tournament was Sam Stone, who wrestled in the 171-pound class. Stone was put on his back twice in the tournament and was unable to wriggle out. However, Jones said Stone possesses the drive necessary to win.
"He's the type of kid that's going to go out and go hard," Jones said. "He's only wrestled four matches in his entire life, and he's getting the hang of it."
Jones said Stone was just one of several guys trying out wrestling for the first time this year.
Stone said he and the other new wrestlers were taking everything in stride, and were trying not to get down about their losses. He said they were all learning from their mistakes, and that was what was important.
De Soto is set to wrestle again this weekend in the slightly smaller Johnson County Classic tournament.
"There will be some pretty high quality teams there, and it's a tough competition," Jones said. "If we come out with a couple of wins then I'll be happy."
Regardless if the team performs well or not, Stone said everyone would stay positive and support each other by attending one another's individual matches. He said it was kind of embarrassing to keep losing, but the team was still trying to grow into its surroundings.
"We're bummed we've been losing, but we're positive about it," Stone said. "We just go and support each other and stay positive."