By BRETT MARSHALL
With five individual titles and three second-place finishes, the Garden City High School Buffaloes wrestling team walked off Saturday with the Norton Invitational.
The Buffs, defending Class 6A state champions, scored 187 points to topple defending Class 3-2-1A state champion and host Norton, which was a distant second with 149.5 points.
"It was a good test, a lot of good individual wrestlers were there, and I think it continues to give us confidence that what we're working on is seeing progress," GCHS coach Carlos Prieto said. "Our boys that have been wrestling well, continued along that path, and several others gained confidence with their performance."
Gold medal winners included Efrain Sanchez at 106 pounds, Michael Prieto at 113 pounds, Tevin Briscoe at 138 pounds, Chris Adler at 145 pounds and Sammy Reyes at 195 pounds.
Runner-up finishers were Jesse Nunez at 152 pounds, Tye Hahn at 182 pounds and Aaron Lozano at 285 pounds.
Sanchez pinned No. 1-seeded Caysean Campbell of Norton in the finals at 1:52 of the first period.
Michael Prieto (26-1), the coach's son, also was impressive again, going 3-0 with three pins to his credit, including a dominant win over Kade Unterseher of Norton, with his pin just 56 seconds into the match.
The return of Briscoe also provided a lift to the Buffs, as the 2013 6A state champion (132 pounds) went 3-0 after sitting out the last three tournaments due to an injury. His victory in the finals came by a 2-1 decision over Clay Trejo of Cozad, Neb., last year's runner-up in Nebraska. By virtue of his 14-2 major decision and 17-2 tech. fall win, Briscoe was voted the Outstanding Wrestler for the tournament.
"Getting Tevin back was a big bonus for us," coach Prieto said. "He won a tough, tough bracket."
Adler, too, continued his strong season (26-5 record) by recording three pins, including a semifinal victory over Wyatt Kropp of Scott City (0:42) and in the finals Jared Tallent of Norton (3:00). Senior Reyes swept through his four matches, winning his first two by pins and then taking a slender 4-2 decision over Hank Pflaster of Cozad, Neb., in the semifinals and a 7-3 decision of Diego Maraville of Ulysses in the title bout.
Next up for the Buffs will be the Newton Tournament of Champions, which begins on Friday morning.
The Garden City High School girls and boys bowling teams competed Saturday at the Wichita Bishop Carroll Invitational at West Acres Bowl.
The Lady Buffs finished eighth among the more than 20 teams competing while the Buffs' boys were in 14th place.
For coach Kip Nichols, it was a mixed-bag of results, saying that he thought the girls bowled well early before running out of steam while the boys had a number of close matches, and struggled for much of the day.
Competing in the Baker format, where five bowlers roll two frames each toward the game total, the Buffs won pool play matches against Augusta (173-146, 207-145), tied Western Athletic Conference rival Great Bend (201-198, 172-186), lost to Maize South (124-189, 180-192) and to Wichita South (151-233, 203-207) and then split with Wichita East (176-149, 171-172). Following those five matches, the teams were re-seeded where the Lady Buffs were ranked fifth. They then took on a repeat with Wichita East, winning both games 215-146 and 165-140.
For the Lady Buffs, they opened with a split against Augusta (150-177, 180-125) before sweeping past Great Bend (192-173, 215-145), tying Maize South in game one (151-151) and then winning 145-137. Against Wichita South, the GCHS girls won 179-148 and 164-132. At that point, they stood in third place for total points.
They followed it up with a split against Wichita East (180-139, 126-140). Ranked fifth for the final two-game set, they faced Bishop Carroll and lost both games 161-171, 147-148.
Nichols said that Alexa Hemmert likely had the best individual performance of the day, starting off with five strikes in her first six frames.
The teams are back in WAC action at 3 p.m. Tuesday when they host Liberal at Garden Bowl.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.