Lee’s Summit North wrestling coach Mick Cronk believed the Broncos had a chance of cracking the top three in its tournament last weekend.
He was right. And he also was left wanting for more.
State powerhouses Kearney and Liberty were the only teams that placed ahead of the Broncos during the 16-team Lee’s Summit North Invitational on Dec. 8-9 at North. That’s exactly where Cronk figured they could finish.
“For us to finish third behind those two teams, that’s a pretty good weekend,” he said. “That being said, we were just a few points behind Liberty heading into the finals and we only won one match.”
North wound up with 153 points, 20 points behind the runner-up Blue Jays. Both were well behind the champion Bulldogs, who won the team title for the third straight year with 269.5 points.
While nine of the Broncos’ 14 wrestlers earned medals with top-five finishes, only one of those medalists — Jaden Duran, who placed third at 138 pounds — came courtesy of a win during the championship or third-place matches.
“We did well, but I think we should have had a few guys win a couple of matches,” North junior Adrian Castaneda said. “A few guys could have stepped it up a little bit more, but overall we did good.”
Castaneda — a junior 160-pounder, who just missed qualifying for the state tournament last year after going as a freshman — was one of two Broncos to reach the finals.
“I thought Adrian had a really good tournament,” Cronk said. “He was a bonus-point machine throughout the weekend.”
Castanada won all his matches by pins or technical falls en route to the championship bout before losing a 12-4 major decision against Greyden Penner of Liberty in the final. Penner was the Class 4 state champ at 145 pounds last year.
“He’s really good,” Castaneda said. “He’s heavy with his hand and really quick on his feet. He’s like a top-tier wrestler.”
Lane Overton, a junior, reached the final at 152 pounds and lost and 8-2 decision to Luke Malizzi of Odessa. Making the final, Cronk said, showed how much progress Overton already has made after struggling with a sub-.500 record last season.
“You could literally see him every practice get better,” Cronk said. “Things are starting to click and today he ends up in the finals. He just wrestled extremely well.”
Duran took third at 138 pounds with a 9-5 decision against Andrew Miklus of Park Hill South in the third-place match.
The Broncos also had fourth-place finishes from Caden Schweitzer at 113 and Hunter Ross at 132 along with fifth-place finishes from Cody Steinbrugge at 106, Triston Jones at 145, Zane Ragland at 182, and Logan Thornton at 195.
“We’re extremely excited,” Cronk said. “There’s some really good competition here. For us to take third, that’s really good for us right now.”