Augusta's wrestling team isn't at full strength as a few Orioles had to miss out of Thursday's dual at Bluestem.
That was no problem for the Orioles, who got to flex some of their strength with their depth. Augusta easily handled Bluestem, a 3A school, and got a 72-12 victory to improve to 3-0 in duals this season.
Several of the younger Orioles got some valuable match experience at the varsity level. Freshman Garrett Tipton (132 pounds), Shane Bosley (160) and Dalton Watts (170) all got quality wins with pins. In all, the Orioles got seven pins on the night. Bluestem, which had four open weight classes, won two duals. Lane Moran (152) and Logan Haworth (185) both got pins for victories. Every match was decided by a pin.
"Even the JV guys, they went out and did exactly what they needed to do," Augusta coach Brandon Terry said. "There are several of them, like Dalton Watts. In a lot of schools, he'd be a varsity 170-pounder. He's technical, and he's good. There are several of the younger kids that are getting better. They're kind of buying into our system."
Nathan Moore (120) got a pin off his first takedown just 1:06 into his bout against freshman Jace Brewere. Kalaeb Bratton (138) got two takedowns off shots to the legs of Denton Douglas and built an 11-1 first-period lead before getting a pin at the 3:46 mark.
Connor Spellman and Bluestem senior Adam Wolfe had one of the best bouts of the night at 145. Spellman took a 2-0 lead after milking and circling for the first two points of the match. Late in the second period, Wolfe defended a tough shot, but Spellman eventually fought through for a takedown that led to a pin at the 3:49 mark.
Shane Bosley (160) drove Justin Stevens hard for the first takedown, then got a 3-point nearfall for a 5-0 lead after one period. Bosley fought off a solid shot by Stevens and turned it into a takedown of his own. The two exchanged reversals before Bosley set himself up for a pin win at the 3:42 mark.
Scott Hooglugt (182) also got a pin for a victory.
Augusta is competing at the Douglass Goodwill tournament today.
"It's as tough as a lot of one-day tournaments," Terry said.
Despite the big loss, Bluestem coach Kelly Benton has high hopes for some of his Lion wrestlers. He hopes they can learn from competing against a power 4A school like Augusta.
"I think it gives them a good opportunity to get out there and wrestle a higher-caliber wrestler," Benton said, "and to understand that not every match is going to be easy, that the hard work they put forth in practice is really going to come into play on the wrestling mat and help us compete at a better level for 3A and 2A."
Benton said the Lions have a few wrestlers to watch out for this season. Lane Moran (152), who is the team captain despite only being a sophomore, should be able to get back to State and even earn a medal. Last year, he was the Central Plains League champion who went 1-2 at the 3A tournament.
"I'm sure that, here in the near future, we'll see him in the rankings," Benton said of Moran. "He's really blossomed. This year, he's got better technique, of course better strength, and better knowledge of the sport."
Logan Hayworth, who sat out last season to bulk up for football, is back at the heavyweight position for the Lions this season. Benton has high expectations of the senior, who should be able to compete for a state qualifying spot.
"Him coming in here losing a year, I don't think has really hurt him that much. He's looking really aggressive, really good.
Benton also has high hopes for Casey Garner, a tranfer from Eureka who was the Tri-Valley League champion and went 1-2 at State.