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Archive for Friday, February 14, 2003

League title disputed

Paola, Eudora stake claims after dual

February 14, 2003

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— As far as Baldwin High wrestling coach Kit Harris is concerned, the Bulldogs are co-Frontier League dual champions.

But there's some question about the title.

Baldwin entered Thursday's double dual with Eudora and Paola with a 7-0 record, while the Cardinals and Panthers were 6-1. Paola beat both teams, improving to 8-1; Baldwin went 1-1, also ending the season 8-1.

Do the squads share the title? Does Paola win because it beat Baldwin head-to-head? None of the league athletic directors knew the answer to those questions, but in Harris' view, the teams are co-champs.

"It's perhaps a bit of a letdown," he said. "But it in no way diminishes the effort of our kids. They gave a champions' effort tonight."

The issue might not be resolved until after the season. For now, the Bulldogs have their first Frontier League dual title since 1976.

After losing to Paola, 36-23, in the second dual of the night, Baldwin had to beat Eudora to lay its claim. The Cardinals won the first three matches, and Baldwin trailed, 13-0.

"You gotta make sure you're up for every team," Harris said. "But that's what it's like this time of year. There's good wrestlers, match after match."

Baldwin responded by winning the next six matches, taking a 29-13 lead. But that brought up Eudora's best wrestlers: 160 pounds and up.

Eudora High's Kyle Brouhard, bottom, struggles to avoid being
pinned by Paola's Aaron Edwards. Brouhard eventually lost the
119-pound match during Thursday's double dual at EHS.

Eudora High's Kyle Brouhard, bottom, struggles to avoid being pinned by Paola's Aaron Edwards. Brouhard eventually lost the 119-pound match during Thursday's double dual at EHS.

"We'd talked about how much we'd relied on our big guys this year," Eudora coach Bill DeWitt said. "I was glad our younger guys stepped up."

The Cardinals took just one of the next three matches, ensuring the Baldwin victory despite late pins by Eudora's Mike Paxton and Shane Grant.

Both teams now turn their attention to Saturday's league meet at Paola. As tough as Thursday's double dual was -- it took five and a half hours for the league's top three teams to wrestle -- it probably served as precursor to Saturday's tournament, which begins at 9 a.m.

"There weren't a lot of pins, brother," DeWitt said. "It's tough this time of year, especially when you get these three teams together."

For example, Baldwin's 171-pound junior Kyle Flory, the defending league champ, got a taste of a possible finals matchup when Paola's Nathan Payne edged him 4-2. Payne is Class 5A's top-ranked wrestler, while Flory is third in 4A.

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