EP Stacks Up Nicely (photos)17:06 PM December 16, 2018
On day three of their wrestling marathon that included two trinagulat meets, the EP Panthers showed just how good they are and more importantly how good they can be by placing second at their holiday tournament on Saturday. Head coach Tod McCullough said,” We still have some improving to do. Some of the younger ones need to work on maturing and improving, but we’ll get there.”
The Panthers trailed only Lena-Winslow/Stockton, the second ranked team in class 1A at the end of the day. Le-Win/ Stockton took first with 244.5, EP had 179.5 and Orion finished third with 154 in the 14 team meet. Most Outstanding Lower Weight Wrestler was Jack Patting from Alleman and Brody Ivey from Newman was named Outstandiing Upper Weight Wrestler.,
EP had four 2nd place finishers with three of the them falling to Le-Win wrestlers in the finals. At 160 Tyler Smith, 17-2, fell to Case Hamston 6-4, at 170, Calvin Naftzger, 12-2, fell to Colin Dovarik 9-6 and at 285 Trevor Pratt, 11-7, lost by fall to defending state champion Ian Kuhel.
The other Panther to make the finals was undefeated Gabe Friedrichsen at 182. The senior was a perfect 17-0 entering the match which included a win over a number one state ranked wrestler from Mercer County on Thursday. The final saw Friedrichsen taking on 14-0 Ray Herd of Orion. The Panther senior took a 5-2 lead at the end of the first period and looked to be in complete control of the match. Around the one-minute mark of the second period Friedrichsen executed a takedown slam on the edge of the mat. The Orion wrestler entered the match with a brace on his right shoulder and he landed on the shoulder and withered in pain. Herd was awarded a point for what was ruled an illegal slam. After being assessed by a trainer it was determined Herd could not continue and was awarded the match. Initially Frierichsen left the mat in a huff, but later said he understood the call. “I dropped him pretty hard and the trainer called it off.”
The match was a continuation of the type of dominance Friedrichsen has shown during the early part of the season. “I think it goes back to his sophomore year when he had missed most of the season because of shoulder surgery and being an alternate for state last year has fueled his fire. He is stepping his game up because he wants to be down there, and he wants to medal," said McCullough.
Third place medals went to Tyler Smith at 106 and Lucas Carey at 195. 4th place finishes were garnered by Cody Jacobs at 126 and Jeremy Huizenga at 220. Corey Barnes took 5th at 132 and Trevor Cobo placed 6th at 132.
McCullough said he was pleasantly surprised that Pratt and Naftzger made the finals adding that Naftzger, “Should have had that match, (final) but got caught against one of the best kids in the state so that tells you how close he is. “
The Panthers were coming off a first-place team finish at the Plano Tournament last weekend, which McCullough noted was big step for several of the wrestlers. “I’m happy with the kids, we had some high expectations after last weekend, and I think we were close. Le-Win is a standout team, but we were very competitive." One of EP’s best wrestlers, Mat Garrison at 170, was unable to wrestle due to a medical condition.
The Panthers will travel to Springfield the weekend after Christmas to take part in Abe’s Rumble, which is dual meet tournament that features many of the top 1A teams in the state.
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