EARL WATT • Leader & Times
After the seniors were recognized for their contributions to Liberal wrestling, the Liberal wrestlers found little success on the mat against Dodge City.
The Redskins had a pair of wins with Julian Orrantia and Ayden Juarez, but Dodge City claimed victory in all the other matches, and the Redskins fell 69-10.
The Lady Redskins earned wins with Isabella Gutierrez and Hayleen Martinez and one forfeit from Dodge, but the Lady Redskins had several open weights and dropped the dual 66-18.
“I didn’t like the score,” Liberal coach Mike Fowler said. “We have a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. We have a week and a half left of getting better, and we are going to do the best that we can.”
Liberal had chances in several matches, but reversals flipped the script.
“During some of the matches, we had opportunities to get pins,” Fowler said. “We didn’t get them, and turned around and got pinned. Those are 12-point swings. There were at least three matches like that. That’s a 36-point swing.”
The Lady Redskins had to face the best girls team in Kansas.
“The girls are fighting hard,” Fowler said. “They are a team-oriented group of girls. Dodge City girls are ranked No. 1 in all classes. We went out and competed our best. We did well on the girls side. But we have to take the mentality to regionals to wrestle to win instead of wrestling not to lose. I felt like a couple of the girls knew they had a tough opponent, and went to not lose instead of having a winning attitude.”
With only two home events this season, Liberal recognized its seniors Tuesday.
“It was nice seeing parents and wrestlers from one end of the gym to the other,” Fowler said. “Having the parental support is awesome.”
The Western Athletic Conference has been a battle for the young Redskins, and while Fowler knew there would be challenges, he also expected better results in some matches.
“The WAC teams are all very tough,” he said. “Most of them have upperclassmen. We should have done better against Dodge. They are younger like us. We should have matched up better. Moving forward, we have good freshmen, sophomore and junior classes.”
The Lady Redskins travel to Dodge City Friday to compete in the regional tournament, and the Redskins head to Wichita North for regionals next week.