Archive for Thursday, January 22, 1998


January 22, 1998


Free State's wrestling team provided a chapter for the Firebird annals.

File it under intracity showdowns.

Free State whipped Lawrence High, 47-18, Wednesday night in the Firebirds' gym for the new school's first victory over the Lions in head-to-head varsity competition.

"It was big to us because these guys have been friends all along," said FSHS Darrell Andrew, an assistant at LHS the previous two years. "Tonight they proved they can be friends, but at the same time when they step on the wrestling mat it's a whole different ballgame. Our kids stepped up and competed, yet they showed the sportsmanship that was needed to maintain a good relationship."

The Firebirds (2-13) bolted to a 23-0 lead with victories by Anthony Santaularia (112), Ryan Fowler (119), Scott Smith (125), Shaun Flynn (130) and Brett Larson (130). Santaularia had a first-period pin. Flynn and Larson pinned their opponents in the second period.

"All week we had been expecting a close dual," said Andrew, whose team had lost 13 duals in a row before overwhelming Lawrence. "Then we got the momentum started early."

Jake Lawrence (171), Jeremiah Feurt (189) and Paul Cross (215) also had pins for Free State.

Mike McAlhaney (140), William Morris (152) and Adrian Garcia (hvt.) accounted for Lawrence's scoring. McAlhaney, now 16-2, and Morris won by pins. Garcia won by forfeit.

"We thought it'd be a lot closer," said longtime LHS coach Jim Beltch, whose team dropped to 4-9 in duals. "This has been a strange experience. We weren't wrestling well and they were."

Larson, a member of the Lions' team last season and Free State's lone senior, had hoped for a breakthrough performance.

"The guys were finally pumped up for a match after being a little hesitant," said Larson, who has a 17-5 record. "They finally wrestled like they really can against Lawrence, which is a very important dual for us. I'm glad to see a big smile on their faces."

Free State and Lawrence both lost to Topeka Seaman earlier in the double dual. Seaman beat Free State, 58-12, and Lawrence, 51-16.

Larson recorded a pin to account for half of Free State's points against Seaman. Santaularia and Smith won by decisions.

Garcia provided Lawrence's highlight against Seaman. He needed just 11 seconds to pin Nathan Gifford in the heavyweight class.

-- Steve Rottinghaus' phone message number is 832-7152. His e-mail address is

Commenting has been disabled for this item.