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Wildcats place three in finals of Baldwin Invitational

Andy Brown / Louisburg Sports Zone

Louisburg sophomore Brandon Doles gets a pin during his 160-pound match last Thursday during the Wildcats’ dual against Ottawa.

In what was one of its tougher tournaments to date, the Louisburg wrestling team more than held its own Saturday during the Baldwin Invitational.

The Wildcats put three wrestlers in the finals and had three more place in the top six as they went on to finish ninth in the team standings.

Kaven Bartlett (113 pounds), Cade Holtzen (126) and Brandon Doles (160) each made their way to the finals and finished second. Ryan Owens (120) and Aiden Barker (170) was fifth and A.J. Reed (182) took sixth.

“Coach Harris at Baldwin has always tried to make this tournament a tough competition, inviting as many 4A schools as possible,” Louisburg coach Bobby Bovaird said. “Many times, it’s like a mini-state tournament. You’ll see some marquee match-ups throughout the tournament. I love that we had guys able to step up and battle their way into the finals. It’s a great feeling having our guys able to earn medals at this tournament.”

Holtzen recorded a couple pins on his way to the championship match as he opened with a first period pin of Clay Center’s Aden Hatcher and then followed that up with a pin in the third period of Burlington’s Johnathon Williams in quarterfinals. In the semifinals, he recorded a 14-3 major decision of Wamego’s Nick Cruickshank.

In the finals, Holtzen squared off with Marysville’s Isaac Novotny, who is ranked No. 5 in Class 4A. Holtzen and Novotny went into overtime, but Holtzen fell in a 10-9 decision.

“It was definitely an exciting match, and it came down to the fact that Cade made some mistakes that his opponent capitalized on to score his points,” Bovaird said. “The great thing about that is that we have some specific things to work on. We have time to make corrections, to analyze film, and to work on improving technique.

“The next time Cade faces off against this opponent, he’ll have put in the time to improve those areas. Cade really did wrestle a tough match against him, and he’s got nothing to hang his head about.”

Doles, who is currently ranked No. 6 at 160 pounds, also got off to a good start as he pinned his way to the championship match. He opened with a pin of Labette County’s Cody Hambleton and then followed it up with another pin of Baldwin’s William Damet, before getting a revenge win over Eudora’s Nate Criqui with a second period victory in the semifinals.

Burlington’s Cael Johnson was Doles’ next opponent in the championship. Johnson, who is the No. 1 ranked wrestler in 4A, pinned Doles in the second round.

“Brandon received our weekly ‘Wildcat Award’ for his performance this weekend,” Bovaird said. “He stepped up and got a revenge win against his Eudora opponent and he battled pretty well against his Burlington opponent, who is ranked #1 in the state. Five of his six losses this season come from the No. 1 (twice) and No. 5 (three times) ranked wrestlers in 4A.”

Bartlett, who also cracked the state rankings at No. 5 at 113 pounds, recorded three straight pins on his way to the title match. He defeated Osawatomie’s Damon Estes and Marysville’s Tristen Schaefer with first period pins and then pinned Perry-Lecompton’s Mason Bahnmaier in the second period of the semifinals.

In the first-place match, Bartlett lost a 4-0 decision to Holton’s Jake Barnes, who is currently ranked third in Class 3A.

“Kaven is really showing that his hard work in the off-season is paying off,” Bovaird said. “He’s got some great youth wrestling experience, and now he’s stepping up his game. I told him after his finals match that the conversation is no longer ‘he’s got a good chance of qualifying for state.’ It’s now a conversation of ‘he’s got a good chance at placing at state.’”

Owens advanced to the semifinals of 120 pounds and squared off with Osawatomie Chance Mitzner, who is No. 5 in the state. Owens battled him to the end, but lost a 3-2 decision, and eventually took fifth after he won a 6-5 decision over Eudora’s Dayton Fraser.

Barker went 3-2 on the day to finish fifth at 170 pounds, while Reed also picked up two wins to take sixth at 182 pounds.

“Ryan Owens battled and lost a tough 3-2 match to the No. 4 ranked kid in 4A,” Bovaird said. “In the consolation bracket, he had a tough time bouncing back, but he competed pretty well. Aiden Barker came out and wrestled well, too. AJ Reed also had a good tournament. What he’s missing in technique and experience, he makes up for with toughness and competitiveness. Jacob Briley and Sam Kratochvil also won some matches for us and had a good tournament.”

Louisburg is back in action Thursday when it travels to state-ranked Piper for a Frontier League dual.

Wildcats fall in Senior Night dual to Ottawa

On a night that honored seniors Hugh Staver, Sam Kraotchvil and manager Elizabeth Kratochvil during Senior Night ceremonies last Thursday, the Wildcats had a tough time against Ottawa in a Frontier League dual.

The Wildcats fell 60-24 to the Cyclones as Louisburg had to deal with several open weights.

Ryan Owens and Cade Holtzen opened with a pair of pins to give Louisburg a 12-0 lead early, but the Cyclones were just too much. Brandon Doles and Aiden Barker also recorded pins on the night for Louisburg.

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