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Humboldt Cubs wrestler Dakota Slocum (top) searches for the best grip to pin Bluestem wrestler Zane McFall during Humboldt’s home meet on Thursday, Dec. 2.

JARED McMASTERS

With wrestling competitions kicking off last week, several area schools participated in weekend meets and tournaments. Here’s how the Chanute Blue Comets, Humboldt Cubs and Erie Red Devils fared the last few days.

Chanute

The Chanute Blue Comets varsity boys wrestling team got off to a hot start for the season when the Blue Comets went 5-0 in competition on Friday at Spring Hill.

The Blue Comets earned double-digit victories over Topeka Seaman, Tecumseh-Shawnee Heights, Blue Valley West, Olathe South and Olathe Northwest.

Chanute’s Dylan DeMeritt, Kolton Misener, Trey Dillow, Ty Leedy, Cade Small and Nathan Cunningham all went undefeated for the evening to help the Blue Comets outscore their opponents 253-115 through the five rounds.

Along with the varsity team, Chanute’s JV boys competed at Frontenac on Saturday, and all 12 wrestlers earned top-four finishes for their weights.

Hunter Burt picked up the Blue Comets’ only first-place finish, but Donovan Showalter and Jase Tarter each came in second place to help lead the charge for Chanute.

Rounding out the weekend for Chanute was the girls team, which competed at Emporia. Although team scores weren’t kept, five Blue Comets each finished in fourth place or better as individuals.

“We competed hard,” Chanute girls wrestling head coach Nick Nothern said. “It was a lot of girls’ first time competing in wrestling, and it was an eye-opener for some. We have a lot to work on, but I think we have tons of potential. We’ll keep working and building.”

Reese Clements earned first place, Kadynce Axelson and Brinly Bancroft earned second place and Ava Campbell earned fourth place. Jeannette Guernsey also finished in second place in JV competition.

“I was really proud of all the girls,” Nothern said. “Reese was dominant. Kadynce and Brinly wrestled really well. I was happy to see Jeannette compete so well.”

Humboldt

Humboldt Cubs wrestling coach Kent Goodner felt like his team spent more time on the defensive instead of attacking on Thursday night.

But a streak of 24 unanswered team points from his middleweights in a 36-27 victory at home over the Bluestem Lions was as close to an onslaught as he could’ve expected during the boys wrestling team’s season-opening win.

“We had two kids who could’ve won, should’ve won, but we’re going to work on it at practice some. We had a new kid step into 195 pounds. He had to step up a couple weight classes, but other than that, we finished strong,” Goodner said. “Our middleweights dominated. We’ve got some good stuff coming for the rest of the year.”

The Cubs fell behind early after Curt Shannon (106 pounds) and Robbie Robertson (126 pounds) were pinned in 3:09 and 0:50 to open the action.

From there, Humboldt flipped the switch to stage a comeback against the Lions. Chase DeMeritt earned a takedown against Zak Dotter in the 132 pounds bout before he pinned his opponent at the 1:39 mark.

“The biggest thing was our shooting,” Goodner said. “We sat back and waited for them to shoot, not on all of them but on about five or six of our kids. We always practice shooting, shooting, shooting, then scoring. I think we kind of played defense tonight rather than offense, and that’s something we’ll have to work on.”

Bradley Lowry made quick work of his match when he pinned Colt Williamson in just 22 seconds. Cole Mathes continued Humboldt’s winning streak when he won by fall in the first period of the 152 pounds contest to give the Cubs the team’s first lead of the evening.

Humboldt senior Colton Johnson (160 pounds) rounded out the Cubs’ run of dominance with a takedown and nearfall in the first period before he pinned his opponent at the 2:21 mark.

In the night’s most intense match, Humboldt’s Dakota Slocum went three periods against Zane McFall before losing in a 10-7 decision. With his opponent running out of steam in the final period, Slocum spent the final minutes of the match searching for a way to flip McFall for a pin but came up short.

“He made a couple errors, but other than that, he wrestled hard. I’m proud of him,” Goodner said. “We’ll clean him up and get him back on track. It was a tough match. He’s fought that kid for two or three years, and they go back and forth every year.

“If he would’ve had another 20 seconds, I think he would’ve got the kid to turn, but it is what it is.”

After Humboldt’s River Kaufman picked up six points at 220 pounds without a Bluestem wrestler to face, the Cubs carried a 30-27 advantage into the final heavyweight contest.

Andrew Watts, Humboldt’s preseason Class 3-2-1A No. 1 wrestler at 285 pounds, earned a takedown against Kolby Hebb before he pinned his opponent to secure the Cubs’ season-opening victory.

“That’s the reason why he’s No. 1 in the state,” Goodner said. “I think Andrew’s going to be our first state champion this year. I don’t think anyone’s going to go more than two periods with him.”

The Cubs didn’t get much time off before they returned to the mat at Coffeyville Community College over the weekend for the 2021 Kan-Okla Tournament.

Mathes, Kaufman and Watts all placed in the top six at 152 pounds, 220 pounds and the heavyweight division.

Watts earned second place at 285 pounds after he breezed through the competition in three straight wins by fall before he ultimately lost by fall in 3:06 to Wellington’s Hagan Wright in the first-place match.

Mathes took third after he rebounded from a 5-0 decision loss to Iola’s Trent Jones in the semifinal with a 4-2 decision win against Caney Valley’s Garrett Watson and a 5-3 win by decision over Pittsburg’s Jonathon Howard in the third-place match.

Kaufman picked up a sixth-place finish after he suffered a medical forfeit against Aaron Gharmalkar from Parsons in the fifth-place match.

“We definitely have room to improve,” Goodner said, “but we wrestled well.”

Erie

Along with the Cubs, the Erie Red Devils also took part in the 2021 Kan-Okla Tournament to earn eighth place as a team. Between the varsity, JV and girls teams, the Red Devils earned seven individual first-place medals.

“I’m proud of the effort and the fight that all of our kids showed over the weekend,” Erie head coach Will Weber said. “We have a lot to be proud of but also can’t hang our hats on the results of one tournament. We have bigger goals. We have to get back to work on Monday and prepare for this stretch to end the semester.”

Quinten Heady (138 pounds) was Erie’s lone varsity boy to finish in first place, but three other Red Devils turned in top-five performances as the team went 21-7 for the day. Drayton Kennedy (106 pounds) picked up second place, while Casey Welch (170 pounds) and Nate Thompson (145 pounds) came in fourth and fifth.

On the girls side, Katie Wallace, Breanna Ross and Katherine Malone all earned top-three finishes, led by Wallace’s first-place outing. Ashton Altman also took seventh place at 155 pounds to wrap up the team’s 10-5 record for the tournament.

Five JV Red Devils — Aiden Wilson, Seth Welch, Landon Kmiec, Jaden Daniels and Devin Westhoff — also racked up first place individual medals to fuel the group’s 19-5 record. Dylan Kirkpatrick, Taylor Holbert and Brandon Volz also turned in top-three finishes.

Erie will begin a busy week of competition with a girls meet at Coffeyville on Friday, Dec. 10, and a varsity boys meet at Anderson County on Saturday, Dec. 11.

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