Two duals earlier last week showcased Blue Valley Northwest as a wrestling squad to watch among contenders for the elite of the Eastern Kansas League.
Then, the Huskies placed seven wrestlers into the finals of the Shawnee Mission South Invitational on Saturday, which propelled them to the team title with 228.5 points.
One of the more impressive matches on Saturday came from Blue Valley Northwest’s Max Tierney, who faced Isaac Walton of Blue Valley North in the 160-pound title match.
Both wrestlers reclassified to a different weight division from a year ago — Tierney from 152 and Isaac from 170. Tierney brought the intensity and defeated Walton, 4-3.
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“We practiced over winter break and that got me back in shape, but it’s nothing like live matches,” Tierney said.
Coming off a wrist injury suffered during the football season, Tierney is working his way back into shape to be ready for the stretch run of the wrestling season.
“He’s just starting to get back,” BV Northwest coach Tim Serbousek said. “It’s taking him a while. He’s got those first two periods where he can wrestle, but the third one is kind of struggling. But it’ll come.”
One of the other impressive wrestlers for BV Northwest was Chris Lyons. A senior captain at 182 pounds, Lyons took care of business with a 5-0 victory in his championship match.
Serbousek complemented Lyons’ improvement in strength as the reason he’ll be in the hunt in upcoming tournaments.
“He really spent a lot of time in February of last year until the start of this season in the weight room and that’s made a huge difference,” Serbousek said.
Another standout title match at SM South occurred between Olathe East’s De’Khyale McFarland and Sam Elliot of BV Northwest in the 120-pound weight class. It was a rematch of last season’s Kansas Class 6A state title match.
On Saturday, both wrestlers battled in a back-and-forth contest. But it was McFarland who came out on top with a 5-3 win.
In the offseason, McFarland and Elliot trained together at the KCTC Freestyle and Greco-Roman Wrestling Club, so there’s some familiarity between them.
“It took a lot of practice over the summer, wrestling with him,” McFarland said. “It’s basically motivation and wrestling smart. I know how he wrestles. He knows how I wrestle.”
Some other notable performances came from two veterans on the mat.
First, junior Tanner Madl, at 152 pounds from Blue Valley, made quick work of his opponents. In the finals, Madl pinned his opponent within 50 seconds. Madle improved his season record to 19-0.
Ben Ewing, meanwhile, an Iowa State commit from Saint Thomas Aquinas, pinned all three of his opponents at 220 pounds. With quick footwork, Ewing is looking to ramp up his bid for a second state championship.
There was a highlight for SM South, the host school, as well. The Raiders’ Zac McQueen, a junior, outlasted Sid Miller of Lawrence Free State for an 8-2 victory in the 132-pound title match.
“After winter break there’s always a certain amount of rust to be worked off, but now it’s about getting to state and it’s all about getting back to work,” McQueen said following his victory.
St. Thomas Aquinas freshman Anthony Gaona, at 170 pounds, was steady in his 12-4 win over Blue Valley Northwest senior Eric Foerster. Gaona improved his record to 18-6 on the season.
Jason Laramore of Blue Valley Northwest took the 126-pound title with an 18-2 victory over Lawrence Free State’s Isaiah Jacobs.
At 195 pounds, SM West’s Jose Montoya defeated BV Northwest’s Foster Jacobs, 3-1. Montoya improved his season record to 22-3.
With a team victory and depth throughout their lineup, the BV Northwest Huskies have a chance to build on some momentum.
“It all starts with having a good time, but they also work hard,” Serbousek said. “We definitely push them and that just carries on.”