By BRETT MARSHALL
Four top-10 finishes highlighted the final day of the Kansas City Stampede tournament for the Garden City Buffaloes wrestling team.
Senior Sammy Reyes had the top individual finish, taking fourth at 195 pounds, and concluding the two-day tourney with a record of 5-2.
Sophomore Michael Prieto placed fifth at 113 pounds, losing his first match of the season in the quarterfinals of the Gold Bracket, and finishing the tourney with a 7-1 record.
Senior Chris Adler and junior Efrain Sanchez each placed 10th, with Adler going 6-3 at 145 pounds and Sanchez finishing 4-4 at 106 pounds.
"All in all, considering everything, I thought the boys wrestled lights out," said head coach Carlos Prieto of his depleted roster. "We're competing well. Some of the matches we lost were by just one or two points, so we're not getting blown out. It was a good, tough tournament and a good way to end this part of the schedule."
The Buffs, who have been without 126-pounder Alec Castillo and 285-pounder Montana Fuller all month due to injuries from which they are recovering, also went to K.C. without 138-pound state champion Tevin Briscoe (injured at Clay Center), 160-pounder Ruben Rodriguez (Clay Center injury), and then lost 182-pounder Peyton Hill to injury on Friday after he had posted a 3-1 record in pool play matches. He was unable to continue wrestling on Saturday's final day of matches.
"All you do is ask the kids you've got out there to go and wrestle their hardest, and that's what they did," coach Prieto said. "I'm proud of the effort. I think getting the number of top 10s that we did shows that we're competing hard. Another win here, or there, and we've got enough points to jump up several places."
As a result, the Buffs finished tied for 24th with Arkansas City, ironically the other Kansas state team champion in the field, with 202 points. Archer High School of Lawrenceville, Ga., was the runaway winner with 557.5 points, while Stillwater, Okla., was second with 497.5 points. Tuttle, Okla., Edmond North, Okla., and Bettendorf, Iowa, rounded out the top five team finishers in the 39-team field.
In Saturday's bracket matches, Michael Prieto, the coach's son, went 4-1, beating Justin Nelson of Granite City, Mo. (15-0, tech. fall); losing to Tanner Litterell of Tuttle in the quarterfinals (8-2 decision) before coming back with three straight wins — a 12-1 major decision over Cody Mealer of Thompson; a 12-2 major decision over Garrett Rowe of Choctaw, Okla., and a 6-0 decision over Arkansas City's Logan Terrill, the Class 5A champion and just one of two wrestlers to have beaten Prieto a year ago.
Reyes was solid throughout the entire two-day competition, and on Saturday went 2-2. In his quarterfinal match, he earned a 5-2 decision over Riley Fielder of Tuttle, and then lost 20-3 by technical fall to Derek White of Edmond (Okla.) North in the semifinals. In his third-place match, he lost a heartbreaking 4-3 decision to Chance Cooper of Timberland High School.
Sanchez went 2-3 in his final day of competition, dropping a 3-1 decision to Nate Keim of Collinsville, Ill.; advancing with a forfeit in the next round; then was pinned by Jack Wagner of Bettendord at 4:41. Sanchez then bounced back with a pin of his own, taking down Cale Betchan of Perry, Okla. at 1:05, before getting pinned again, this time by Gage Hermon of Blue Springs, Mo., as time ran out.
Adler improved his record to 14-3, going 2-3 in the bracket round on Saturday.
He lost an 8-6 decision to Cameron White of Nixa, Mo., then won a 4-1 decision over Sky Darrah of Timberland, before dropping a 6-4 decision to Hunter Condit of Perry, Okla. He then pinned William Seibert of Farmington, N.M. before dropping a 3-1 decision to Will Steltzlen of Collinsville in his final match.
The Buffs will now be idle through the holiday break, taking most of this week off until resuming practice on Friday. Their next competition will be Jan. 4 at Scottsbluff, Neb.
"It will give us some time to get healed up, get some of our other boys back, so we can get ready for the final push toward the state tournament," coach Prieto said.
Results in Scoreboard, Page B2.