Boys Wrestling hosts home duals; girls compete at Onega

Kris Long, Print Editor-in-Chief

Manhattan High School boys Varsity wrestling hosted their annual dual tournament this Saturday, winning four out of their five duals and the bracket as a whole, while the girls team traveled to the Onega tournament and took second. 

The boys team hosted seven schools — Manhattan, Free State, Bishop Carroll, Paola, Dodge City, Shawnee Heights, Blue Valley Stillwell and Smith Center — and wrestled five of them. The competition this brought to Manhattan doubled the size of the annual tournament and was much more difficult than previous years 

“I think the competition was really good,” senior #138 Easton Taylor said. “We wrestled a lot of top-ranked teams in both 5 and 6A, so it was a great challenge for us.”

In the first three pool rounds the boys beat Paola 53-28, Bishop Carroll 48-33 and lost to Free State 39-35. In the Gold bracket round (1A vs. 2B) the boys beat Shawnee Heights on a criteria tiebreaker to make the winners match of round 5, where they defeated Dodge City also on a criteria tiebreaker. 

“It is very unusual to have to come down to [a tiebreaker], especially twice in one day,” head coach Shawn Bammes said. “Them not having a full roster was what it came down to as the deciding factor [in] both those duals.” 

The senior class starters kept the relatively inexperienced team afloat throughout the tournament, bringing them back from behind in the first dual against Paola and consistently delivering points. Among the standouts, Taylor pinned all five of his opponents, senior #145 Blaisen Bammes pinned three and won all five, senior #152 Tucker Brunner won four of his matches and earned one pin, #182 senior T.J. Tiede got three pins and senior #220 Talique Houston got two pins, one of which beat the Dodge City heavyweight after he was bumped up a weight class to face him. 

“I’m very proud of our seniors,” Bammes said. “Especially against Paola, we were down by a lot, and… our seniors stopped the bleeding. They stepped up, Easton stepped up with a big pin that really got the momentum going for us. Blaisen [went] out got a pin, Tucker [went] out and got a pin, all day long in tough situations our seniors stepped up and did what we needed them to do to provide that leadership, to provide that spark to the team.”

The girls team took second at the Onega tournament also on Saturday, with senior #120 Mia Minus, [grade] #138 MiKaya Brownfield, and junior #191 Haileigh Stokes taking first in their weight classes and [grade] #132 Saleen Wallace taking second. 

“I’m pretty satisfied [with taking first],” Minus said. “[The team] was pretty close…to beating Rock Creek.”

The tournament was much smaller than the boys, which meant some of the wrestlers had to wrestle the same opponent twice and most brackets were smaller than usual. Some girls got fewer than two matches.

“It’s pretty common [to have small brackets],” Minus said. “A lot of schools don’t have people and some [weight classes] are more packed than others, and sometimes they’ll have to combine them.”