Blue Springs could have easily been hindered in Tuesday’s dual with crosstown rival Blue Springs South.
The Wildcats were missing two of their top wrestlers in 106-pound sophomore Cayden Dotson (113), who is a ranked as an honorable mention wrestler in his weight class on missouriwrestling.com in Class 4, and Korbin Shepherd (120), who is ranked fourth.
Shepherd was injured during the Winnetonka Tournament Saturday and Dotson was sick.
However, Blue Springs got by even without two of its star wrestlers. Led by the efforts of their underclassmen, the Wildcats won six out of seven of the contested matches against the Jaguars as they rolled to a 54-18 victory at Blue Springs South.
Four out of six of those victories were by Blue Springs underclassmen. Sophomore DeAndre Thomas (138), a returning state medalist, who has had a great past few days of wrestling. He won his weight class in a loaded Winnetonka Tournament last weekend and earned a 19-4 tech fall victory over South’s Alex Israelite.
“I’ve had a great week, and I’ve been working hard at practice,” said Thomas, who finished sixth in the 126-pound division at state last year. “At first I was going for a pin then halfway through the match, I went for a tech (fall) because I don’t have many of those this year.”
Blue Springs coach Bobbe Lowe noted that Thomas has a lot of upside and said he should be ranked in the top six after the big week he’s had.
“DeAndre, the sky’s the limit with him,” Lowe said. “He’s got a lot of potential. The last two weeks he’s turned up his wrestling pace. He said he wants to wrestled harder and score more points. This weekend was a big tournament for him to go out there and beat some top guys. Hopefully that will get him on the board.”
Freshman Korbin Katamura (160), like Thomas, had an impressive showing despite having a season that he called “rough.” He dominated South’s David Jones in a 27-8 tech fall victory, while scoring several takedowns.
“I think I did a lot better than my other matches,” Katamura said. “I was more confident with my shots.”
Other underclassmen to win for Blue Springs were Jason Gross (126), who earned an 8-6 overtime victory over Logan Hecker after a reversal in the final 10 minutes of regulation and an overtime takedown; and freshman Jaxson McIntyre (132) pinned Cooper Doolin in 1:29.
“They are doing great,” senior Lawson Lackey said of Blue Springs’ underclassmen. “The team’s got a lot of potential for the future. I am excited to see them when they get a little bit older.”
Added Lowe of the underclassmen: “They went out there and did what we talked about and just going out and scoring points. For Korbin being in the middle of the lineup for a freshman can be tough. He’s wrestling a lot of juniors and seniors. It was good to see him go out there and put some points on the board and get a win.”
Lackey (182) got a pin in 1:03 over South’s Evan Thielen and senior Koby Mansfield (195) pinned Cooper Boyles in 1:04. Xavier Cooper (220), Simeon Sullivan (285), Daemon Hegarty (145) and Michael Infranca all earned forfeit victories for the Wildcats.
For South, Brevin Millican (152) got his team’s only win in a contested match as he pinned Aaron Hazen in 1:56. Nina LePee (113) and Tyler Fields (120) took forfeit victories for the Jaguars.
When asked about his team’s performance, head coach Doug Black let out an “UGH!”
“I am kind of embarrassed,” Black said. “I thought our kids would come out with a little more urgency. Blue Springs is good, but they are our rival and our kids just laid down. I wasn’t expecting that. I was embarrassed for our alumni and our fans. I thought they would come out and compete and they didn’t do that tonight.”