Basehor With four tournament titles entering Saturday's Bobcat Classic at Basehor-Linwood, Free State senior Justin Stevens already was a confident wrestler.
Winning his fifth straight crown at the Bobcat Classic on Saturday certainly did nothing to hurt his confidence.
Stevens, ranked No. 2 in his weight class in Class 6A, breezed through the early rounds and hung on to win a double-overtime thriller in the 189-pound finals.
"Every championship feels great because it's a week's worth of work," said Stevens, who went 4-0 at the two-day event to improve to 19-0. "But it's really special to be in this big of a tournament and to live up to my expectations and my coaches' expectations for me."
FSHS coach Darrell Andrew was thrilled for Stevens.
"He's having a season to remember right now," Andrew said. "He followed his game plan perfectly in that final match and he pulled out the victory."
Although the final victory came by the slimmest of margins 2-1 in double-overtime over Glenwood's Rodney Grap both Stevens and Andrew felt in control the entire match.
"My game plan was to stay in close and to stay in good position so I didn't get scored on," Stevens said. "I did that and when we got to the second overtime I was able to escape for the win. It feels great."
Stevens wasn't the only Firebird to fare well at the Bobcat Classic. Senior Ian B who entered the event with a 12-2 mark, placed third at 215 pounds.
In his semifinal match against Junction City's Jeff Frandin, Bwas in control. Bwas compiling points, but late in the match, Frandin slapped a headlock on Band it led to a fall.
"I feel I was the one who should've won that match," said B who came back to beat Effingham's Phillip Lyons, 9-5, in the third-place match. "I outwrestled him (Frandin), but it was a sloppy match and I got caught with a late headlock. After wrestling for a while you learn to come back quickly and I did that and I'm pretty happy with third. I get a rematch with him in two weeks at Junction City."
The Firebirds' other placers were Anthony White (fourth at 135 pounds) and Kyle Frank (sixth at 171 pounds).
Eudora's Luke Powers (152) and Jason Marmon (215) both placed sixth.
Out of 21 teams, the Firebirds finished 12th with 73 points.
Andrew said Free State really wasn't worried about its team score. All the Firebirds were looking for was some mat time against good competition.
"This is an amazing tournament," Andrew said. "Every weight class is tough and you've got the best of 4A, 5A and 6A competing here. We weren't really worried about our team score, we just wanted to see how we stacked up against some good competition."
The Firebirds will wrestle Lawrence High at 5 p.m. Tuesday at LHS.