Wrestlers struggle against top competition
It was a slow day for the De Soto wrestling team, but the Wildcats finally got some traction in the final round of Saturday's Baldwin Invitational wrestling tournament.
Tom Beaver won his final match to place seventh in the tournament in the 189-pound division while Todd Atchison defeated teammate David Karnitz to place ninth at 103 pounds.
"We had a couple wins," Wildcat coach Matt Jones said. "We wrestled better later in the day."
Beaver won his match 8-2 against Wess Duerr of Anderson County.
It came after a long day on the mats. Jones said it was the product of lessons learned, and the best Wildcat performance of the day.
"He dominated the kid. He really, really did," Jones said. "He came out and wrestled hard. Some of it had to do with confidence, but he really wrestled well."
Jones said even though the meet didn't result in many wins or very high placers, it will go down as one of the best lessons for his young team. The eight-team tournament featured several of the best programs in the region, including a Missouri squad, Oak Park, that is bristling with top-tier wrestlers.
Just seeing how the best handle a big match and prepare for a long tournament has an effect on the team, Jones said.
"Even if they didn't win, they saw how those guys work and what they do," Jones said. "They saw it's not that much different from what we're doing here, but that it's all-out, 100 percent of the time."
De Soto returns to the mats Thursday as it travels to Anderson County for a triangular with the host Bulldogs and Eudora.
The Cats will then have nine days off before they begin the final phase of their season. The league meet will be Feb. 10 at Louisburg and regionals will follow one week later at Baldwin.