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Wrestling notes: Newton prepares for talented tournament

Published Jan. 12 at 4:45 p.m. | Last updated Jan. 11 at 3 p.m.

The wrestling season hits what could be referred to as a midterm exam this weekend.

When the Newton Invitational kicks off its two-day run Friday, many of the teams in the field of 28 will be trying to see how they stack up with an eye toward state, which will be the final week of February.

How tough is the field?

“In the semifinals, you might see a match that you would see in the finals of other tournaments,” Newton coach Tommy Edgmon said.

Four of the top 10 in Class 5A (No. 2 Arkansas City, No. 5 Valley Center, No. 7 Andover and No. 9 Newton) and three of 6A’s top 10 (No. 3 Derby, No. 7 South and No. 10 Northwest) will be taking part in the tournament. Class 3-2-1A is represented by second-ranked Norton.

The host Railers are coming off a good showing in last weekend’s Derby Invitational. Newton, seventh after the first day, edged out Campus for sixth place. The Railers were powered from an expected source in senior Logan Treaster, top-ranked in the state at 120. He beat his top two rivals in winning his weight class.

Logan’s brother, Grant, is ranked third at 106. Brody Roberson placed sixth at state at 120 last year as a junior and is at 132 this season. They also has a freshman brother, Boone, who wrestles at 113.

Also crucial were the showings of sophomore Wyatt Hendrickson at 182 and junior Cyle Gautschi at 220. Hendrickson, who has just three losses all year, prevailed over Goddard’s Austin Andres to win his class.

Gautschi, not originally in the Railers’ lineup, worked his way in and won the 220-pound class at Derby.

“When you knock off a returning state champ or a kid that is ranked in the top three, then that gives you the feeling of, ‘Hey I do belong here,’ ” Edgmon said. “That’s what they’re going to get out of it. They believe they do have a chance now, because now they know they can hang with those guys.”

Maize on the move – Maize’s success in both football and soccer has taken a toll on the Eagles’ wrestlers.

First, linebacker Cameron Hughbanks – a state qualifier a year ago – suffered a separated shoulder that will cause him to miss the entire wrestling season. Then, on top of other football injuries, coach Mike Schauer lost a couple during the boys soccer season. Graduation losses were difficult enough, but Schauer said the misery was compounded.

“We have lost six kids to fall sports (injuries),” he said.

Still, thanks to sophomore Aiden Campbell, Maize – which will also be taking part in the Newton tournament – is finding success.

Campbell improved to 24-2 and a No. 2 ranking at 126.

“He’s cutting weight, but it’s working well,” Schauer said. “The weight loss hasn’t affected him much, and he’s looking pretty strong.”

Another wrestler that has Schauer excited is freshman Duwayne Villapando, ranked sixth at 145.

“He’s a super talent,” Schauer said. “I’m tickled to death we landed him. He’s the top freshman in the state, a tremendous wrestler.”

Senior Zac Grantham is ranked fourth at 132 and provides the leadership to a young team. Junior Talon Fitzmeier just returned from injury and wrestles at 160.

Sophomore Jacob Quiggle, the football team’s starting nose guard, just came back as well at 220.

Schauer said his Eagles are taking it match to match with an eye toward state.

“You weigh in and hold your weight,” he said. “Win the close ones, and get your mindset that you’re going to beat someone, even if it’s only by one point. If we’re going to place at state, we’re going to have to do that.”

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