Buffaloes take second at Regionals
The Garden City Buffaloes headed into Saturday’s regional tournament ranked No. 1 in class 6A.
“Going into the tournament I was expecting to win it,” head coach Monte Moser said.
The Buffaloes went into the tournament without a full team, filling every weight except the 113 lb. class.
The Regionals format is simple, and the top four in each class move on to wrestle at the state tournament.
After one round of wrestling, all but four of the the thirteen wrestlers had won their matches. Racking up first round pins were sophomores Christopher Adler and Sammy Reyes, juniors Trevor Kennedy, AJ Hurtado, Anthony Gardner, and Juan Carlos Rodriguez, and senior Jonathan Heiman.
“I just went into the tournament with my mind relaxed and let my body do all the work for me. Muscle memory is the key,” Gardner said.
Winning their second round matches and moving to the finals were Heiman and his fellow seniors Anthony Calderon and Tyson Phllis, Hurtado, Gardner, Adler, and Reyes. All wrestlers in the finals had automatically placed and were guaranteed a spot at the state tournament.
“I got motivated for this tournament and I knew I wasn’t reaching my full potential. I came out with a good mindset and knew what I had to do,” Reyes said.
The tournament was not over yet for any of the Buffaloes, but gradually, one by one, four wrestlers were knocked off and beat out of the tournament. Wrestling through the backside and into the placing rounds were Kennedy and Rodriguez, both winning their matches and moving on to the consolation finals.
“I’ve been working on little things and practicing hard everyday to make myself better,” Rodriguez said. “I’ve gotten more confident on my shots, too.”
In Rodriguez’s third place match he earned a 9-4 decision win over Rakim Dean of Wichita South. Kennedy was unable to edge out a win and was pinned by Carson Nguyen of Maize at the 1:52 mark of the first period.
In a highly anticipated bout, Calderon came out on top of Jonathan Peterson of Hutchinson in an exciting scramble that ended 11-10.
Hurtado,ranked No. 1 in class 6A at 132 lbs., defeated Shane Goetz of Hutchinson by a score of 9-5 in a match in which Hurtado dominated the final period. Goetz is currently ranked No. 2 in class 6A at 132 lbs.
Phillis earned second place via a defeat by Eric Perez of Wichita Northwest. The score was close but Perez edged out a final takedown to increase the margin to 12-9.
Adler also lost a close in his finals match, and finished second. His loss came via an 11-8 decision win by Devin Webber of Wichita South.
In a very tough match against rival Dodge City, Heiman was defeated by Jacob Eggers by a score of 1-0.
Gardner, who perhaps the most impressive wrestler of the day, won his finals match over Jesse Oliver of Wichita Northwest via pin just 1:03 into the match.
“I just needed to open up. I’m feeling a little bit more confident with myself but I just need to keep practicing hard,” Gardner said. “I’m excited to wrestle at state with my team.
To round out the tournament for the Buffaloes, Reyes was defeated by Nathan McComack of Wichita North by a score of 9-1.
“I feel like I should have won my finals match. I just need to keep my mind focused and keep working hard. I really hope I can prove myself to everyone,” Reyes said.
“I feel like everyone wrestled their hardest. Sammy really stood out to me and I was pleased with Anthony’s (Calderon) finals match,” Moser said.
The Buffaloes will wrestle next in Wichita at the state tournament. The tournament will be held at Hartman Arena and will begin at 10 am on Friday, February 24.