Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Dave Faries
Editor 

Four Place At Banner County Wrestling Tournament

 

Dave Faries

Banner County's David Gifford topples Zaine Gallegos of Bayard.

Kimball took home two second place medals while the Wildcats finished with a couple of thirds at the Banner County Tournament. Over some nine hours and 275 matches between wrestlers from 14 teams on Saturday, however, a few things more important than overall standings were apparent.

First, early season conditioning can vault some to the top while knocking others into consolation rounds.

“I tried to outmuscle him and spent all my energy in the first period,” Kimball’s Tristan Carruthers admitted following a loss to Cesar Hinostroza of Holyoke.

He would bounce back to record a 2-3 record on the day.

The size of the field also offered local athletes to pair off against unfamiliar foes, something that helps wrestlers improve early in the long season--as well as offering a few surprises.

“You never know, really, when one kid might come out of nowhere,” Jonathon Withrow explained. “You just go 100 percent.”

Most importantly, Banner County’s signature wrestling event has become one of the premier tournaments on the December calendar, drawing teams from Wyoming and Colorado in addition to those from the panhandle.

“We just have a lot of good competition,” said the Wildcats’ David Gifford.

The Banner County 220 pounder captured his first two matches by pin, although his second round affair against Sedgwick County’s Levi Davis teetered through the first period.

“I have to learn not to wrestle so sloppy,” he noted afterward. “I almost let it get away.”

Gifford emerged from his pool with a 2-1 mark, but was pinned by Holyoke’s Sidney Struckmeyer in the medal round. He finished third.

Wildcats newcomer Gared Krakow also placed third, in the 195 pound class. He racked up a 3-1 record before Tanner Wiley from Bayard stilled him in the finals.

“That was pretty good individually,” observed Banner County head coach Bill Gifford. As a team, however, the five-man squad wound up one clear of the cellar.

“I thought we had a chance to place higher,” he continued. “We had opportunities, but didn’t take advantage.”

T.J. Grubbs, wrestling at 220, lost in all four encounters. Yet there were moments when he gained the upper hand.

“It’s disappointing,” he admitted. “But I just have a few mistakes to correct.”

Early in the season, coaches are still working on attacks and countermeasures and inserting new moves into the practice curriculum.

“You don’t realize how much you forgot,” said Banner County 145-pounder Noah Huber, who lost a tight 11-10 decision to Ty Grimes of Hyannis in his opener before being pinned in round two. “I’d rather be doing better, but I’m on track to peak at districts.”

Freshman Garrett Grubbs (126) went 0-4 on the day.

Kimball’s Tatum Morgan squared off against the young Grubbs in the second round, pinning him at the 1:53 mark. Morgan dominated his opener, but fell to eventual winner Chandler Tyan of Sutherland in round three.

He wound up 3-2 in fifth place after pinning Garden County’s Jesus Marquez, also at 1:53.

“This is the best experience ever,” he said. “You get to wrestle a bunch of teams you won’t even see at districts.”

Kimball’s lone senior emerged from the fray with an optimistic attitude.

“If we keep working at it, we’ll all be at state,” he added.

Head coach Wade Brashear considered the day a positive one, but also recognized the need to correct several mistakes. Carruthers could have placed but for a few errors. Justin Mohr struggled early, falling to eventual 132 winner Seth Harrington from Sedgwick County in the first round. He dropped two more before rebounding with a convincing win by pin of Minatare’s Robert Ellis.

“I think we’re coming along,” Brashear said. “It was a tough tournament, good competition--and that’s what you need.”

The team took eighth place thanks to wins accumulated by Morgan, Mohr and Carruthers, as well as silver medal finishes earned by Withrow and Rowdy Keller.

Withrow stormed through the 145 pool rounds, pinning Nathaniel Nixon of Crawford at 1:46 and familiar foe Garrett Zwiebel from Morrill at 2:27. He then earned a 9-2 decision over Morrill’s Seth Rudy to enter the championship match.

Sutherland’s Greg McKain dealt Withrow his first defeat of the season. But, as coach Brashear pointed out, “Jon lost to a tough kid.”

Withrow is now 8-1 on the year.

Dave Faries

Kimball’s Rowdy Keller rolls out of trouble against C.J. Sidrow.

Keller’s only defeat at 106 came to his nemesis, C.J. Sidrow of Morrill. He captured an 13-10 decision over Crawford’s Slade Martinez in round one, faced Sidrow--the only wrestler to beat Keller all year--in the second then cruised to wins against Eric Rojo (Holyoke) and Brock Lay (Lingle-Fort Laramie).

He is now 7-2.

Keller will likely see Sidrow again. Although the Morrill wrestler has studied the Longhorns sophomore’s strengths and weakness, both Keller and his coach consider a turnaround possible in the event of a rematch.

“I think he will [beat Sidrow],” Brashear said. “There are just some things to work on.”

Kimball travels to Ogallala for a dual on Thursday. They take part in the Sidney Tournament Saturday.

The Wildcats visit Sutherland for a tournament on Saturday.

 

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