On a frigid Dec. 7, inside a warm and humid gymnasium, Lee’s Summit West competed with 21 other area schools in the Steve Leslie Invitational Wrestling Tournament at Pleasant Hill.
For a young squad like the Titans, tournaments of this size can be grueling for the athletes. Conditioning is a key component to their success on the mat.
Each wrestler competed in seven pool matches to determine seed position for the bracket portion of the tournament. The top four in each weight class then faced off in the championship bracket.
In the end, the Titans were more than prepared for the challenge.
Lee’s Summit West placed wrestlers first, second, or third in nine of 14 weight classes. Although the Titans only placed fourth in the tournament, “It was a huge day,” according to head coach Ethan Hauck.
Several grapplers walked away with first-time achievements.
Sophomores Levi Schmoll and Lawyer Beckum each won their first his first high school tournament.
“It’s always big to break the ice with your first tournament championship,” Hauck said.
Actually, Hauck couldn’t quite decide between Schmoll and Beckum concerning the highlight of the day.
“I suppose if there was an outstanding performance, it was Lawyer,” he said. “He was a state qualifier last year but he has improved dramatically. Then of course there is Levi. Those two guys were just great. They won matches last year, but this year they may be in the upper echelon.”
Jake Woods and D.J. Thogerson also finished first in their weight divisions as well.
Not to be forgotten is Kyle Stein, who finished third in the 195-pound weight division. Stein just completed the football season, where he helped the Titans win the 2013 Class 5A state championship.
“Kyle Stien came in after football and needs to get into wrestling shape. It is a completely different thing. I am really proud of him because he wound up finishing third and he’s only had a couple days of practice,” Hauck said.
Earning medals at the tournament for the Titans were: Ryan Waits (7-2 at 106 pounds), who defeated Christian Ritter, St. Joseph Benton, for third place; Shane Knox (7-2 at 113), who defeated DeVonte Smith, Shawnee Mission NW, for third; Levi Schmoll (9-0 at 120), who defeated Jerico Harris, Harrisonville, for first; Lawyer Beckum (9-0 at 126), who defeated Dakota Jones, Adrian, for first; Austin Eveler (8-1 at 132) who lost to Ty Cochran, Harrisonville, for a second; Jake Woods (9-0 at 138), who defeated Olen Brattin, Pleasant Hill, for first; Steffon Fassett (7-2 at 145), who defeated Brady Franklin, Pleasant Hill, for third; D.J. Thogerson (9-0 at 152), who defeated William Holland, Prairie View, for first; and Kyle Stein (6-3 at 195), who defeated Nick Plocinski, Owensville, for third.