Grain Valley wrestling coach Jeff Bowman couldn’t tell you his team’s dual record. That’s not what he and the Eagles are focused on right now.
“Right now, I’m just really concerned about these guys getting better,” Bowman said.
For the record, Grain Valley is 6-7 and the progress Bowman is looking for is reflected in that mark. The Eagles have won their last two duals, including a 54-27 victory over host Blue Springs South Thursday night.
“For me, I just want to see our guys improve and start to accomplish our goals,” Bowman said. “And I think we’re starting to do that.”
Bowman is looking for individual progress over team totals as Grain Valley begins the home stretch into the state tournament. He saw that against South as the Eagles racked up five victories with pins. Dru Azcuna picked up the first one when he dropped South’s Landon Shoemaker in 18 seconds at 113 pounds.
Drake Tipton (145 pounds), Evan Reich (152), Hunter Newsom (182) and Donovan McBride (285) followed with quick pins, as Grain Valley recorded all its victories in the contested matches by fall.
“I’m pretty happy overall with our entire lineup,” Bowman said. “I can go through weight by weight and discuss how they’re fine-tuning and that’s what I love to see right now.”
South (3-5) recorded three pins: Trey Greiner (138), Cooper Boyles (195) and Tommy LaPour (220). Danny Hampton, a 106-pounder, had the only non-pin decision after outlasting Tyler Groves 13-12.
Like Bowman, South coach Doug Black is putting an emphasis on individual improvement. That’s even more of an issue for the Jaguars, who only have two returning lettermen. Their varsity lineup against the Eagles Thursday included four freshmen and four sophomores.
“I thought we’d get one or two more matches in our favor, but overall the kids went out and wrestled hard tonight,” Black said. “That’s what we’ve been preaching since mid-December – go out and wrestle hard and good things happen. And that’s what they did tonight.”