By BRETT MARSHALL
Both Jon Lippelman and Carlos Prieto could empathize with each other when they looked at the starting lineup sheet for Tuesday night's wrestling dual between the Scott City Beavers and the Garden City Buffaloes at The Garden.
While Prieto didn't have at least six of his regular varsity grapplers, Lippelman not only was missing a few of his best matmen, but he was bemoaning the fact he only had 17 wrestlers out for this season's squad.
Despite that, there were a few good matches in the dual between two of the premier wrestling programs in Kansas — the Buffs as the defending state champions in Class 6A and the Beavers annually contending at the state tournament in Class 3-2-1A, but being moved up to Class 4A this year with a larger school enrollment.
The Buffs were missing a wrestler at 106, but the Beavers were without competitors at 113, 152, 170, 182 and 195 pounds, so the Buffs cruised to the 66-12 dual win.
At least for the visiting Beavers, defending state champion James Jurgens (120 a year ago) was able to showcase his skills with a pin of Noe Lugo at 3:21 of the match at 132 pounds.
"It's okay for early in the season," Jurgens said after winning at 132 pounds. "I'm still working on getting down to 126. I've got a little better technique this year, but still got a lot of things to work on."
The Beavers competed in the Hoxie Invitational last weekend, and this weekend compete in the Colby Duals against some top teams.
"We always see good wrestlers at both places," said Jurgens, who indicated that moving to 4A will present new wrestlers to compete against at the end of the season. "They don't know me, and I don't know them. And we usually just don't see teams from back east much at all. It will be an interesting season."
In perhaps the best match of the night, Garden City senior Chris Adler remained unbeaten in eight matches with a 3-0 decision over sophomore Wyatt Kropp at 145 pounds. The last time Adler had seen Kropp on the mat was four years ago, and it was a lot different this time around.
"He's much better on his feet and with his neutral stance," Adler said of Kropp. "I think tonight I was just in better shape and pushed the match in the third period."
Adler took a 2-0 lead in the last minute of the first period with a takedown, then the second period was scoreless. Adler secured the final point with 1:55 left in the third period on an escape.
"I'm just doing what the coaches (Carlos Prieto and Paul Lappin) have been working with me on," Adler said. "Win, and you learn something. It's just another step up the mountain to our goals at the end of the season."
Adler said he is much stronger this season, and he has already seen the fruits of that improvement.
"Last year, I couldn't hold anybody down," Adler said. "Tevin (Briscoe, 138-pounder) and coach Lappin have been working extra with me, and I've seen the improvement."
Garden City's two state champions — Briscoe and 120-pounder Michael Prieto — won easily by falls. It took Briscoe just 1 minute, 15 seconds to pin Jesse Anchondo, while Prieto got his pin in just 26 seconds against Chase Ramsey.
Another highlight match came at 220-pounds, where Garden's Benny Hernandez edged Lane Hayes with a 2-1 decision. Aaron Lozano at 285 pounds closed out the match for the Buffs with a pin of Cole Birney at 2:30 of the second period.
"We absolutely would want to wrestle them healthy if we could," coach Prieto said afterward. "They're beat up. We're a little beat up. But we've got numbers where we can slip people into the lineup, and they can't. We had some good matches in the weights where Scott City is pretty good."
Coach Prieto said he was pleased with how Adler and Hernandez came through in their matches.
"The Kropp kid is really strong, and was one of Scott's best football players," Prieto said of the younger brother of senior Warren Kropp, who is sidelined with a shoulder injury at 170 pounds. "It was just a good match for Chris. It was good for him to get into the third period. There's a lot to work on, and I'm not too concerned about the conditioning right now."
Prieto also continued to be impressed with his freshman Hernandez.
"He continues to listen, and that's what we look for from our incoming freshmen," Prieto said. "He's starting to piece it together."
The Buffs will travel on Saturday to Clay Center for the Clay Center duals where they will compete with nine other teams, including defending Class 3-2-1A champion Norton and Class 4A champion Holton.
Results in Scoreboad, Page B2.