RHS grapplers continue learning curve

The Spartan wrestling team continues to take on top-notch competition as the new season opens. After losing a dual at home to last year’s Class 2 state runner-up Excelsior Springs on Thursday, the Spartans did not find things any easier at Saturday’s Marceline Tournament.
“This was a very tough tournament,” Richmond Coach Ken Simmons said. “The “A” pool had one weight class with two state champions and a runner-up. Several returning state medalists and champions were there.”
The Spartans had three sophomore wrestlers in “A” pool. Reny Reis put together a 4-1 day at 140 as he recorded a pair of falls and a major decision on the way to a second-place finish.
“Reny beat a Brookfield opponent (sophomore Gary Lindsay) who was fifth in state last year by a 9-3 score,” Simmons said. “His loss came to a third-place state medalist from Marceline (senior Josh Weaver). He has looked very good so far this season and should continue to get better.”
Colby Bowles and Chris McFall each brought home third-place medals for Richmond. Bowles went 2-2 in the 189-pound bracket with both of his victories coming by falls.
“Colby ran into two tough opponents – losing decisions to both,” Simmons commented. “His last loss was to the defending state champion, Devin Mellon of Lawson. He will also get better as the season progresses and should be a force this year.”
McFall earned third place at 119 with a 1-2 mark with his one victory coming with a fall.
“Chris lost first round to a returning state medalist and then a close match to his Whitfield opponent,” Simmons said. “He has shown some good potential, but needs to cut down on fundamental errors.”
Richmond had seven wrestlers in the “B” pool. Preston Maples at 125, and Tyre Winfrey at 215, were both undefeated in three matches. Maples won all three of his by falls and Winfrey recorded a pair of falls. Jacob Gardner also recorded three falls at 285 while going 4-1 for the day.
Two Spartan wrestlers split their four matches – Jake Vandiver at 135 and Kane Southwick at 145.
Vandiver won two of his by falls and Southwick had one. Eric Wilson won two of his three matches in the 152-pound bracket with one coming by a fall, with T.J. Kirkham winning one match by fall as he went 1-2 at 160.
Simmons thought his “B” pool wrestlers had a pretty good day.
“We lost some close matches I felt we could have won, so we need to work on closing out matches,” he said. “I saw a lot of positive things to make me see quite a bit of potential if they continue to work in practice and improve.”
The Spartan wrestlers will be at Smithville Tuesday for a dual beginning at 6:30 p.m.

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