The Valley Center High School wrestlers won their first league dual Thursday when they topped Goddard 48-13, marking their second consecutive victory at home.
The schools are members of the Ark Valley Chisholm Trail League’s Division II. Both teams participated in the December Duals on Saturday, Dec. 1, at Valley Center, where the Hornets won the championship and Goddard took fourth.
Valley Center coach Brian Shelton said his wrestlers performed better Thursday than they did in the tournament. He said all 14 boys made mistakes Saturday, and they spent three days attempting to correct those errors.
“We have a team that likes to practice,” he added.
Valley Center freshman Ryan Delforge made a strong statement in the first match of the night. The 106-pounder won by tech fall (17-1) and gave his squad a 5-0 lead. That increased to 11-0 since Goddard was open in the 113-pound class.
The Lions got on the board in the 120-pound contest, when Dakota Leach decisioned Braden Holle 5-0 and moved the overall total to 11-3. However, Valley Center won the next three matches to build an insurmountable 26-3 advantage.
The most exciting matchup took place at 160 pounds, where the Hornets’ Tony Bluml led 3-2 in the third period. Goddard’s Dakota Driskill was awarded a point due to a Valley Center penalty, and the boys were tied at the end of three periods. Driskill picked up his last point in overtime and prevailed 4-3.
According to the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association rankings for 160-pounders, Bluml is the No. 4 wrestler while Driskill is No. 5 in Class 5A. Valley Center is the No. 6-ranked team in 5A.
The Hornets took four of the last five matches on the night. Although Shelton has described this year’s squad as a young team, he was pleased with the boys’ work ethic.
“It’s hard to know what you’re going to get,” he said, “but I do know we’re going to get effort.”
Next up for the Hornets is a dual tournament Friday and Saturday at Colby. Shelton said the competition would include seven duals in two days.
In addition, the weekend will mark the end of a period that featured 13 duals in seven days for Valley Center.
“We’re going to get better or we’re going to get trounced. I don’t know which one,” Shelton said with a chuckle.
He acknowledged that it was early in the season. He is looking for steady improvement in his team.
“It’s just baby steps all the way to the state tournament,” Shelton remarked.