Almos, Galvan lead Northwest to 8th at home tournament
Spear-headed by the efforts of Mario Galvan at 195 pounds and Colton Almos at 138, the Shawnee Mission Northwest wrestling team finished eighth out of 12 teams Saturday at the Northwest Cougar Invitational.
Galvan’s record went unblemished all day and he punctuated his performance with a 5-4 victory over Shawnee Mission North’s Armando Contreras in the championship match.
Almos earned third in the 138-pound division when he pinned Aaron Wilson of Washburn Rural four minutes and five seconds into the match.
“Mario winning the championship at his weight was huge, and Colton coming in third was big,” said Northwest head coach Howard Newcomb, “Our depth is hurting us a little bit, so for those guys to score so highly really helped.”
Newcomb praised his pair of high finishers for sticking to the basics.
“They both were using their fundamentals and listening to their corners,” Newcomb said. “Their strength and experience through years on the mat really got them through.”
The Cougars also earned big points through fourth-place finishers Dondi Jones at 106 and Jacob Heindel at 285.
Fellow Sunflower League opponent Olathe East took the tournament’s top honors with 164.5 points. Blue Valley Northwest earned second with 133, while Dodge City took third with 126.5 points. Northwest earned 75.5 team points. Shawnee Mission North was 10th with 46.
In addition to Contreras’ second-place finish at 195 pounds, North’s Cody Carson also earned medalist honors for his third-place finish at 160 pounds.
The tournament again was a success for the host school in that it was run smoothly and the invited schools enjoyed the action and atmosphere, according to Newcomb who doubles as the event organizer. Newcomb was quick to laud his staff, including Jenny Newcomb — his wife.
“The tournament ran really, really, smoothly,” stated Newcomb, “and that’s thanks to the people who run the main table. Jenny Newcomb, Randy Hill and Melissa Hill have been very important to keeping it running smoothly.”
The invitational also marked the beginning of a new endeavor for the Cougar wrestling program. Newcomb, in an effort to both raise proceeds for the program and to get his wrestlers involved with helping the community, used the tournament to kick off Northwest’s “Take Downs for Down’s Syndrome” campaign. The week before the tournament, the Cougar wrestlers went out among the community to gain pledges for every takedown in the tournament. Cougar wrestlers also passed a donation jug around the tournament.
“It’s part of the ‘First Downs for Down’s Syndrome’ program,” Newcomb stated. “Our kids are now going to go out and get pledges for the takedowns they get this season. Our goal is to raise $4,000 and then ‘Take Downs’ will contribute $2,000 to us.”
The Cougars hope to start getting plenty of those takedowns this weekend when they travel to the Johnson County Classic with 19 other schools. Still concerned about a lack of depth and experience, Newcomb wants his athletes to stick to the basics at the tourney.
“Predictions are really hard to determine for this meet,” Newcomb said. “We want to make sure our kids compete well and do the things we’ve been practicing. They just need to worry about wrestling well and listening to their coaches in the corner. As we get experience we need to show the ability to learn from it.”
The Johnson County Classic starts at 3 p.m. Friday, and matches resume at 10 p.m. Saturday at Blue Valley High School.