By BRETT MARSHALL
The Garden City High School wrestling team tuned up for the Kansas City Classic, which was scheduled to begin today, with a dominating 62-12 dual victory over Lawrence High on Thursday night in Lawrence.
The Buffaloes, ranked No. 1 in Class 6A, moved their dual meet record to 7-0 as they won eight of the 11 weight divisions that were contested against the No. 4-ranked Lions.
Three of Lawrence's state-ranked wrestlers — Hunter Haralson at 132 (No. 1), Caden Lynch at 138 (No. 4) and Andrew Denning at 160 (No. 3) didn't wrestle at all. The Lions' Garrett Girard, ranked No. 4 at 120, moved up to 126 and wrestled GCHS senior Jonathan Guerrero, who was making his first varsity start for coach Carlos Prieto.
Guerrero battled the state-ranked Girard before dropping a 6-2 decision.
"Jonathan's been with us for four years and this was a reward for all his hard work," Prieto said of Guerrero. "He really wrestled well, and gained a lot of experience and confidence from this."
The end result of those openings were that Trevor Kennedy (145), Juan Carlos Rodriguez (182) and Sam Reyes (195) had open matches, winning by forfeits.
And even with those 18 points, the Buffs were still dominant as they won eight of the 11 contested matches by a 44-12 count.
"Absolutely happy with the way things went," Prieto said. "The boys wrestled well. We had hoped to get some of those matchups that didn't come about. I'm not sure what was going on with their kids who were ranked, but didn't wrestle tonight. I just don't know. It's one of the reasons we scheduled the dual — to be able to see some of their really good kids. That's what's disappointing."
Three of the GCHS wrestlers won to remain unbeaten, all at 11-0 — freshman Michael Prieto getting a pin of Xavier Kenney at 106 pounds with just eight seconds left in regulation while senior AJ Hurtado pinned Sean McCoy just 58 seconds into the match. The third, sophomore Tevin Briscoe, earned a major decision over Cy Burhart by a 16-4 score.
"Overall, the kids looked good," Prieto said. "When we scheduled this dual, Lawrence was No. 2 and we really wanted to see all of their good kids, regardless of whether we won or lost. We just needed to see them to see what we need to work on for down the road."
Zac Finch pinned Jeff Wescoat at 2:44 to improve his record to 11-1. Matt Urrutia pinned Tim Tongone at 1:22 and is now 9-1 for the season.
Chris Adler (pin over Isais Rojo at 1:20) won at 152 and Samson Aldaco pinned Malik Davis at 1:01 in the 220-pound division to run his season slate to 8-3. Freshman Aaron Lozano was pinned by Alex Jones at 0:52 in his match.
In the one match that did take place between two ranked wrestlers, Garden's Anthony Gardner lost a 4-1 decision to Alan Clothier. Gardner and Clothier were the No. 1 and 2-ranked wrestlers in their division coming into the bout.
"It gives us a chance to see where we're at," Prieto said. "I think Anthony would say he could wrestle better. We know he can, but this one doesn't count like the ones that will count in February. So, it's a good learning tool to use. Win or lose, it really just doesn't matter that much right now. I'm not too worried."
Prieto said that sophomore Efrain Sanchez had a particularly good and different type of match in posting a 21-7 major decision over John Jacob.
"We were having trouble getting him (Jacob) turned, so we just told Efrain to let the kid back up, give him a point and then take him back down again. That's what he did and he did an awfully good job of it. He was really aggressive in the match. Whatever we need to do to score points, we'll do if somebody's not going to wrestle you."
As he has said through the first three weeks of the season, there is still plenty of room for improvement, but nonetheless pleased with the way the team has performed.
"Overall, happy with what I'm seeing, but we still have things to work on," Prieto said. "We'll be put to a good test tomorrow (Friday) at Kansas City."
The Classic, which is scheduled to run through Saturday, was to begin at 3 p.m. today.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.