MAIZE—For the second time in two weeks, the Maize High School wrestlers participated in a league matchup with an opponent they will encounter again during regionals.
Maize hosted Derby on Thursday, Jan. 31, and lost 52-24. The Eagles also visited Hutchinson last week and fell 37-31. All three schools, members of the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League’s Division I, will compete in the Class 6A regional at Hutchinson.
“Where you do match up, you try to learn things and figure things out,” said Schauer.
As usual, Maize was hindered by its open weights in the heavier divisions. The Eagles forfeited the last four matches of the night, starting at 182 pounds.
Schauer said he doesn’t talk to his wrestlers about winning duals because they give up 24 points from the start. Instead, the Eagles focus on individual improvement.
“The matches that we wrestle, we usually are 50-50,” Schauer remarked.
The Eagles started with a victory at 106 pounds Thursday, when Fayden Reneau pinned Tanner Smith in the third period. However, Derby answered in the 113-pound match, when Cody McDonald pinned Monty Stoner. McDonald, who won in the first period, is ranked No. 4 at his weight in 6A, according to the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association.
McDonald’s victory tied the team score 6-6, but Maize took the next four matches to push its advantage to 24-6. Those matches included the 126-pound bout, featuring Maize freshman Brett Moon, the No. 2-ranked wrestler at his weight. Moon beat Tanner Brown by major decision.
Maize’s series of victories also included the 138-pound match, which junior Kyle Baldwin dominated to win by tech fall. Baldwin beat Aaron Angel.
Derby claimed the last four contests with a major decision and three pins. The Panthers had two ranked wrestlers competing during that streak: senior Ben Becker (first at 152) and senior Chandler Ayer (sixth at 160).
Ayer pinned Tate Hettinger in the third period to bring the Panthers within two, 24-22. They overtook Maize in the next match, when Matt O’Neill pinned Kyle Sisco in the first period. That gave Derby a 28-24 lead. Maize forfeited the last four matches to seal Derby’s win.
“You always have to get better on your feet, and that really is our emphasis,” said Schauer. “ … That’s where you spend most of your time.”
Perhaps the most exciting battle Thursday occurred in the 132-pound match. Maize junior Fernando Nuno decisioned senior Gage Wells 5-3. Schauer explained that Nuno was a rookie who had wrestled for only a couple of years.
“Fernando’s just so strong,” Schauer added.
He described Nuno as a motivated wrestler who “goes hard,” but he said the junior has a tendency to get out of position. Nuno’s other habit is an asset.
“He’s always winning a match he’s not supposed to,” Schauer said.
Next up for Maize is a dual tournament Saturday at Goddard. Schauer said one goal this time of year was to avoid injuries.
“Now’s the time to start peaking,” he continued. “That’s what we’re trying to do.”