It’s been a historic season for the Lee’s Summit High School wrestling team. It’s been an equally unexpected one.
By SAM MCDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
The Tigers have already clinched their first Suburban Gold Conference championship since 1996. The banner season comes only one year after they finished 7-12 in dual meets and were unable to field a full lineup for any of their matches.
“I can’t say we thought we would come out and win the conference this year,” said Tigers coach Jay McGovern, who is in his third year with the program. “We knew if we were going to do it, we would have to have a couple of guys filling the holes in our lineup. They’ve all come a long way and bought into what we’re trying to do.”
Lee’s Summit’s starting lineup features two wrestlers in their first year with the sport, McGovern said, so the Tigers aren’t exactly an experienced bunch. But that’s an improvement from McGovern’s first two years, in which the team would have to forfeit a handful of weight classes during duals.
The Tigers are led by their three returning state qualifiers — Alan Olivas, Brady Daniels and Cartland Allen.
Daniels won the 160-pound weight class Saturday at the Lydia’s Lights Blue Springs South Tournament, improving his season record to 20-6. He was one of 10 wrestlers from Lee’s Summit to reach the semifinals in the 11-team tournament.
Lee’s Summit finished third in the event with 414.5 points. Waynesville (452 points) and Platte County (424.5) took first and second, respectively.
“They’re starting to believe in themselves, and they’re finding out they’re pretty good and can be better than what they probably thought they could be,” McGovern said. “We can do bigger and better things than what we expected of ourselves.”
Athletes make college plans
A bevy of local high school athletes Wednesday are set to sign national letters of intent, which are binding agreements to continue their athletic careers into college.
National Signing Day on Wednesday is the first day participants of football, soccer, track and cross country are allowed to sign national letters of intent to attend NCAA schools. Athletes from all other sports were allowed to take part in the early signing period, which took place Nov. 13-20.
The Star will provide extensive coverage of National Signing Day in Thursday’s paper.
The Lee’s Summit West girls basketball team will travel to Truman on Friday for a makeup game from last week’s postponement. It will tip off at 5:30 p.m.
The Truman boys will host Park Hill at 7 p.m.