The dual between the Dodge City Red Demons and the Hays Indians shows the strengths of both squads and where they need to improve in their Western Athletic Conference dual at the DCHS Fieldhouse.
Dodge City claimed the first six matches of the dual to score 34 points, then Hays won the final eight for 45 points to claim the WAC dual.
"I think tonight shows how important it is to develop a program from the early ages," said DCHS head coach Lars Lueders. "Everybody wrestled hard in my opinion and I'm proud of every kid out there regardless if they won by pin or got pinned.
"A lot of those younger kids have been wrestling for a long time. Once we develop a system where we have the heavier weights with guys who have been wrestling a little bit longer and more experience, I think that's when you'll see Dodge City wrestling for a state title."
The Red Demons (6-3) started strong with Howard Johnson recording a pin at 3:10 in the 106-pound match and Jaden McRoberts won by major decision at 113 pounds.
Johnson was sick and didn't wrestle last weekend in the Salina South Invitational, so he was well rested for his match.
"The coach just tells me how to get things started and get the team started on a good roll," Johnson said. "I'm just back to normal from my sickness."
McRoberts finished second in the Salina South meet and Lueders said he is the most improved wrestler as the season has gone. McRoberts said a lot of his success goes to weights and wrestling Clay Weil in the practice gym.
"I've been lifting and I've been getting more technique in," McRoberts said. "And wrestling with my partner has also helped me, too."
The changing of weights between Weil and Jaquan Graves at 120 and 126, respectively, continues to show dividends. Weil won by pin at 1:27 in his match; while Graves followed with a pin victory in 27 seconds.
"They are both great wrestlers and I don't matter whatever weight they went in, they would be successful," Lueders said. "We're confident in both of those kids, no matter what weight class."
The final two wins were also by pin. Dakota Loeschen returned to the varsity level competition and beat his competition at 2:25; and Dane Edwards overcame his first loss of the season to beat his opponent at 3:29.
"That victory should give Dakota some confidence. He was pumped up and smiling and you like to see that as a coach," Lueders said. "It was good to see Dane come out on fire against a tough kid after his loss last week and rebounded."
Hays then took charge when Jake Sedbrook won by decision over Jhett Ostrom. The Indians followed that with six straight victories by pin to finish the dual. Winning for Hays were Leroy Franco (152), Clay Drylie (160), Kyler Meyers (170), Ethan Detering (182), Braydon Delzeit (195), Preston Weigel (220) and Vincent Scott (285). Meyers, Detering and Weigel are all ranked in their weight classes.
The Red Demons will return to action Thursday night when they host the Hugoton Eagles in another dual before heading to Newton for the Tournament of Champions meet. Action in the dual will start at 6 p.m.
HAYS 45, DODGE CITY 34
106 — Howard Johnson (DC) pinned Nate LaPorte, 3:10.
113 — Jared McRoberts (DC) beat Ross Hattan, 9-0 (major decision)