By BRETT MARSHALL
Garden City High School wrestling coach Carlos Prieto made a pledge that his Buffaloes’ squad would not finish dead last in the 2012 Kansas City Classic, one of the toughest prep tournaments in the United States.
On Friday, his team made good on that promise as the Buffs scored 104 points and found themselves right in the middle of the 36-team field in 17th place heading into today’s final action.
Three of the Buffs swept their four matches in pool bracketing and advanced to the 16-wrestler final bracket for today.
That group included freshman Michael Prieto at 106 pounds; sophomore Tevin Briscoe at 132 pounds’ and junior Chris Adler at 152 pounds.
“It was an exciting day and the boys just wrestled their hearts out,” coach Prieto said. “They never gave up. We had several matches where we were behind, and they came back to win. There’s no cupcakes here. They just had to strap it on and tough it through.”
Prieto and Briscoe both had to go into overtime to claim their final bouts of the day to stay unbeaten. Prieto defeated Matthew Schmidt of Platte, Mo., in a match that went four overtimes. Briscoe was down 3-2 in his final match before tying it up, and then won 7-3 in his extra period match.
In addition to those three, five others advanced to the Gold bracket still with an opportunity to win the tournament.
That group included AJ Hurtado at 138 pounds, Trevor Kennedy at 145, Zac Finch at 160, Juan Carlos Rodriguez at 182 and Sam Reyes at 195. Rodriguez was 2-1 during the day while the others posted 3-1 records.
The remainder of the Buffs will compete in the Silver bracket. That group includes Efrain Sanchez at 113 (2-2), Alec Castillo at 126 (1-3), Anthony Gardner at 170 (0-3), Samson Aldaco (0-3) at 220 pounds and Aaron Lozano (1-2) at 285 pounds.
Bettendorf, Iowa, the defending champion, leads with 136 points.
“We’ve made some big strides in how we’ve wrestled,” Prieto said. “Couldn’t be more proud of the way the kids just never gave up in their matches.”
The tournament was to get under way at 9 a.m. today.