Short-handed, short on experience and playing host to the defending Class 6A champions -- yep, Lawrence High's wrestling team couldn't have concocted a worse scenario for its home opener.
Add a tough Olathe North squad to the task of facing the 1996 state champs from Blue Valley, and the Lions certainly had their hands full Tuesday at the LHS gym.
But despite being leveled by Blue Valley, 52-18, and Olathe North, 56-18, Lawrence High coach Jim Beltch considered Tuesday a victory -- of sorts.
"We could've asked for a little better score, but they did a good job," Beltch said. "I see a good attitude out there and a lot of guys taking chances and that's good."
Lawrence High, who returned just one state qualifier in 140-pound senior Mike McAlhaney this season, were hampered Tuesday by the absence of five wrestlers.
"We had one guy not make weight, two were out sick and one didn't show up in time for weigh-in." Beltch said.
While the Lions were forced to forfeit five of the first six weight classes against Blue Valley, they did fare well when an LHS wrestler was available.
Jason Love, wrestling at 119 pounds, took a 14-12 decision over Eric Devorak to give LHS its first points. McAlhaney won a 19-4 decision over Ken Hester, Jason Fender toppled Blue Valley's Matt Sannes in the 145-pound class, 6-2, and Severino Woods beat Blue Valley's Phillip Sullivan, 6-3.
The only non-forfeit loss LHS suffered against Blue Valley was Justin Williams' 11-2 decision over Ryan Fender.
"Blue Valley is always tough," Beltch said. "They've returned most of their points from state last year and when that happens you know that team in going to be one of the top two or three in the state."
The Lions forfeited five matches against Olathe North.
In the 119-pound class, Love pinned O-North's Roger Johnson. Also picking up wins for LHS were Craig Mellies, a 14-8 decision over Brandon Miles at 125 pounds, McAlhaney over Shelby Warner, 15-13, and Jason Fender collecting a fall on O-North's Joe Schmidt.
"We have a young team, but have a lot of seniors that are trying to help the younger kids," Beltch said. "I saw a lot I liked, but we still need to be more aggressive and work lots on our skills."
Blue Valley 52, LHS 18
103 -- Adam Nehring, BV, won by forfeit. 112 -- Chad White, BV, won by forfeit. 119 -- Jason Love, LHS, def. Eric Devorak (14-2). 125 -- Scott Stevenson, BV, won by forfeit. 130 -- Tim Gilbertson, BV, won by forfeit. 135 -- Kevin Price, BV, won by forfeit. 140 -- Mike McAlhaney, LHS, def. Ken Hester (19-4). 145 -- Jason Fender, LHS, def. Matt Sannes (6-2). 152 -- William Morris, LHS, won by forfeit. 160 -- Justin Williams, BV, def. Ryan Fender (11-2). 171 -- Severino Woods, LHS, def. Phillip Sullivan (6-3). 189 -- Aaron Pastor, BV, won by forfeit. 215 -- Adam Woods, BV, won by forfeit. 275 -- Ryan Lindsey, BV, won by forfeit.
Olathe North 56, LHS 18
103 -- Mike Vaught, ON, won by forfeit. 112 -- Dan Bartholonew, ON, won by forfeit. 119 -- Jason Love, LHS, pinned Roger Johnson. 125 -- Craig Mellies, LHS, def. Brandon Miles (14-8). 130 -- Dustin Mather, ON, won by forfeit. 135 -- Scott Tolson, ON, pinned Derrick Wallace. 140 -- Mike McAlhaney, LHS, def. Shelby Warner (15-13). 145 -- Jason Fender, LHS, pinned Joe Schmidt. 152 -- Chad Balter, ON, pinned William Morris. 160 -- Greg Lubbers, ON, def. Ryan Fender (9-1). 171 -- Todd McElvey, ON, pinned Severino Woods. 189 -- Shannon McGuire, ON, def. Charles Chappell (12-3). 215 -- Beau Hahn, ON, won by forfeit. 275 -- Teddy Barnett, ON, won by forfeit.