Lee’s Summit North-Blue Springs dual recap

The Lee’s Summit North boys wrestling team has had Blue Springs’ number in recent years.

Coming into Wednesday’s season opening dual against the Wildcats, the Broncos had seven consecutive wins against their former conference rivals.

That trend continued as North got big wins from Noah White and Drew Gray late in the dual as it came away with a 46-30 victory, earning their eighth consecutive win over Blue Springs.

“Our young kids were really aggressive,” North head coach Mick Cronk said. “They are pretty new to the sport but they didn’t back down, but they worked on things that we did in practice.”

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Wildcat freshman Kade Schmidli used a chicken wing to roll over North sophomore Mason Zimmerman to get a pin third period of the 175-pound bout to give his team a shot at a comeback as it trailed 34-24 with three matches remaining.

White and Gray notched consecutive pins in the next two matches to put the dual away for the Broncos.

White (190) used a half nelson in his match to turn junior Myles Weatherspoon and get him on his back for a pin in 1 minute and 53 seconds to put North up 40-24. Going into the season, Cronk said White was going to be someone to look out for.

His name is going to pop up. He’s tough,” Cronk said.

Gray (215) is also filling an important role for North. He is filling in for the injured Hank Natali, a state qualifier in 2022-23, who tore his ACL during football season. The Broncos senior was being pulled backward from the bottom position by Blue Springs senior Thomas Bolling. Gray used his momentum to float over the top to gain control and he pressed Bolling’s shoulders to the mat for a pin at the 2:08 mark to put an exclamation point on the victory, putting his team ahead 46-24.

“Hank is a great wrestlers, those are some big shoes to fill,” Gray said. “I feel like I have to wrestle for him and wrestle for a season that he wanted to have.”

Senior Luke Steinbrugge picked up an important victory for North as he is one of two returning state qualifiers from last season’s team. The 157-pounder used an armbar to roll over sophomore Brock Combs and get the fall at the 1:37 mark, earning six more points for his squad.

“I was pretty nervous about my first match, but I think it went well overall,” Steinbrugge said. “I think I could have taken a better shot, but it all worked out.”

Other Broncos to pick up victories Wednesday included junior Zac Scherer (113), who pinned junior Jace Smothermon in 1:33; senior Charlie Dykes (132), a state runner up last season, pinned freshman Jackson Paulsen with a cradle in 1:56; senior Preston Sunarjo (138), who topped junior Travis Birkenmaier by a 12-3 major decision; senior Seth Hooper (150), who pinned senior Korbin Schmidli in 3:42; and senior Owen Barnhill (144), who pinned junior Rylan Smith in 2:51.

“I think I could have said on my offense more,” Barnhill said. “I just need to keep working to score.”

Blue Springs was able to hang with North until the last three matches as it had five winners in Wednesday’s dual. The lineup for the Wildcats’ mostly consists of newcomers with a few seasoned wrestlers mixed in.

Returning state qualifiers – Greg Dillon (165) and Conor Tindle (285) – both won by pin. Dillon won by fall against John Sandy following a throw in 44 seconds and Tindle quickly dispatched Morgan Edwards in 36 seconds.

Other Wildcats to win included freshman Aiden Bowman, who pinned North freshman Mason Ryan in 1:33; and senior CJ Phillips (126), who pinned freshman Adam Paul in 4:57.

“We are pretty young,” Blue Springs head coach Bobbe Lowe said. “We are very novice and inexperienced. There were some new kids who did well for their first time wrestling. There were probably 15 to 18 kids who competed today who never wrestled.”

What do you think?


Written by Michael Smith

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