Bobbe Lowe has his first dual win as the Blue Springs wrestling head coach.
Lowe – who came to Blue Springs after 11 years at Oak Grove, including eight as head wrestling coach – got the win Thursday night at Rockhurst, as the Wildcats cruised past the Hawklets 48-21. The victory resulted from Blue Springs’ preseason preparation, he said.
“They’ve really done a great job the last month of just really buying into the new expectations,” Lowe said. “Things are just so much different, probably, than what they’re used to. I know Coach (Mike) Hagerty had a great program for a long time, but we have … different styles and techniques on how we run things.”
The Wildcats took eight of 11 matches for the team non-conference victory (three weight classes were open). Individual winners and their weight classes were as follows: Korbin Shepard, 106 pounds; Jason Gross, 120; Keegan Hodge, 126; Jett Merlo, 138; Payton Price, 152; Ray Horton, 160; and Zach Hazen, 220. Freshman Michael Infranca won at 145 by forfeit.
Gross, Merlo, Price, Horton and Hazen each won by pin. Merlo quickly built a 10-2 lead before pinning junior Jackson Atkins in 1:18.
“I came in the match just wanting to show my pace off, not give him any chances to score,” Merlo said.
Hodge had to rally to defeat fellow sophomore Ben Soden. Trailing 2-0 after one period, he scored four second-period points for the 4-2 decision.
“I just couldn’t get the first takedown,” Hodge said. “But later in the match, I feel like I improved a little bit.”
Originally, Hodge was slated to wrestle senior Eli Todd at 132. He dropped down a weight class when 126-pounder Corinne Robertson couldn’t wrestle because of “some equipment issues,” said Lowe, who forfeited at 132.
“He did a really good job,” Lowe said of Hodge. “Scrappy kid, fought hard – and probably picked up a decision that maybe we weren’t counting on. So that’s really good on his part.”
Heil, a senior, cruised to an 11-4 decision over junior Dawson Ervie to cap Lowe’s victorious Blue Springs debut. For the Hawklets, the match capped an evening that pleased Rockhurst coach Armand Aaron in terms of the development he saw from his team.
“I’m not disappointed. … You always want to win,” Aaron said. “But they’re a good team.”
Aaron was familiar with the quality of Blue Springs wrestling from last year’s dual, which the Wildcats also won.
“I knew they had a lot of those same kids back and we had a lot of new kids,” he recalled. “So I knew it was a pretty tough bill tonight for us.”