If rankings are any indication of what might be to come, tonight’s wrestling dual between the Dodge City Red Demons and the Garden City Buffaloes could be a battle.
The Red Demons host the Buffaloes at 7 p.m. tonight in the Dodge City High School Field House.
Last year, the Red Demons lost to the Buffaloes 57-10 in a match which had been rescheduled due to an ice storm that paralyzed parts of southwest Kansas.
“That was a tough deal because we were ready to go and then I think we had like four competitions in seven days or something,” Red Demons head coach Lars Lueders said. “It definitely didn’t turn out the way we wanted it to.”
Fresh legs will be valuable for the Red Demons, particularly because seven Buffaloes are ranked in the top-six of their respective weight division in the 6A state rankings. The Red Demons have four, including senior Ansony Quezada, the No. 1 ranked wrestler in the 195 division.
The quantity of highly-ranked athletes in this dual isn’t a new thing, Lueders said.
“That’s how this dual always is,” Lueders said. “We always have a lot of ranked kids in this dual. It’s a big event, not just in our communities but I know people around the state watch it a lot too because it’s a big matchup and we’re both always pretty tough.”
Overall, Lueders said he thinks the teams are pretty evenly-matched.
“I think it could be a very competitive dual and very entertaining, whichever way it goes,” Lueders said.
Besides the benefit of having fresh legs this year when the team takes on Garden City, Lueders said he likes having this match right after break because it gives the team and coaching staff a good idea where the everyone is.
“It shows us how much we’ve improved over the break and it shows us what we need to work on,” Lueders said. “It’s a perfect gauge as to where we are and where we need to be moving forward, because typically if you can beat Garden in a dual you have a good chance to get a team-trophy in the state tournament, so it’s a good gauge where we should be at the end of the year.”
Two Red Demons are ranked just below their weight-division counterparts: Junior Couy Weil who is ranked No. 3 in the 113 division below No. 2 ranked sophomore Silas Pineda of Garden City, and junior Evan Darville, ranked No. 5 in the 285 division below No. 4 ranked Garden City sophomore Fuji Chairez.
Those matchups could be key for the Red Demons tonight. So could the upper weight divisions in general. In the five divisions above 160 pounds, only one Buffalo is ranked, while the Red Demons have two, Quezada and Darville.
The Red Demons take on the Buffaloes tonight at 7 p.m in the Dodge City High School Field House.