Ord put together a strong season-opening performance and exploited its depth on the way to a first-place finish in Thursday’s Grand Island Central Catholic four-team invitational.
The Chanticleers scored 111 points, outdistancing second-place High Plains (89), Gibbon (68) and the Crusaders (53). Sophomore Clinton O’Neel (106 pounds) and seniors Dusty Staab (152), Blake Bandur (195) and Devon Hernandez-Cronk (220) all recorded first-place finishes for Ord.
“We have some older kids at the upper weights who maybe haven’t wrestled as much, but they’ve wrestled junior varsity and been learning behind some pretty good kids,” Ord coach Derry Trampe said. “Now, they’re stepping in and taking over those varsity roles, so that’s helping us out. We’ve got some strong kids.”
Trampe also liked what he saw from his underclassmen. Ord’s first seven weight classes (106 to 145) were filled by either freshmen or sophomores.
“We have a lot of younger kids at the lighter weights and after the first round, we got our jitters out and I thought those kids wrestled pretty well in the second round,” Trampe said. “We picked up our intensity level a little bit.”
In order to maximize its potential in tournaments, Trampe said the Chants need to strive for the bonus points that are awarded for pins and winning by major decisions.
“It’s nice to be ahead in matches, but I like that drive where we keep trying to pin people when we’ve got the lead,” Trampe said. “I saw a lot of that tonight.”
Depth was a key factor for the Chants, who filled all 14 weight classes and have 17 wrestlers in their high school program. GICC had seven open weight classes, Gibbon had six open weights and High Plains had four.
“I think our numbers are our strength,” Trampe said. “We filled every weight class and the other teams didn’t and that, obviously, played a big part when everything gets said and done. Having those numbers just makes it easier for you to score a lot of points.”
Gibbon had four first-place finishers, including Dalton Smith (138), Adrian Banuelos (170), Jacob Eckel (182) and Aaron Bisbee (285). High Plains was led by weight-class winners Hunter Sharman (120), Cale Bolton (145) and Tanner Fate (160).
GICC coach Roy Emory found his squad on the wrong side of the numbers game. The Crusaders had open weights from 152 through 285.
“We’re low on numbers, so we’re kind of fighting that, but we’ve had good practices and that’s all I can ask for,” Emory said. “We know that we’re not necessarily going to be able to compete in the team race, but we still try to compete as a team. We support each other and cheer each other on and we practice hard to try and make each other better.”
Senior Mitch Maginnis (113), junior Kaleb Puncochar (126) and freshman Austin Walton (132) all captured first-place finishes for the Crusaders.
“Mitch wrestled well and Austin came out and got first place with three pins, which was maybe a little more than we expected,” Emory said. “Kaleb Puncochar came out and won a very tough bracket, so I saw a lot of good things.”
Emory said the Crusaders also showed they have plenty to work on.
“We looked a little sloppy getting off the bottom and finishing pins and we need to be a little bit more aggressive on our feet,” Emory said. “We’re counter-wrestling right now and we need to get on the offensive.
“Those are all things that we can clean up. It was a good place to start.”
GICC Four-Team Invitational
Ord 111, High Plains 89, Gibbon 68, Grand Island Central Catholic 53.
106—Clinton O’Neel, Ord.
113—Mitch Maginnis, GICC.
120—Hunter Sharman, High Plains.
126—Kaleb Puncochar, GICC.
132—Austin Walton, GICC.
138—Dalton Smith, Gibbon.
145—Cale Bolton, High Plains.
152—Dusty Staab, Ord.
160—Tanner Fate, High Plains.
170—Adrian Banuelos, Gibbon.
182—Jacob Eckel, Gibbon.
195—Blake Bandur, Ord.
220—Devon Hernandez-Cronk, Ord.
285—Aaron Bisbee, Gibbon.