Marion’s 12 wrestlers finished 12th of 19 teams participating in Norton’s J.R. Durham Invitational Friday and Saturday. The Warriors scored 51 points. Manhattan won with 170.5 followed by Garden City (158).
“At Norton, like always, the competition was amazing,” coach Tyler McMichael said. “There were a lot of ranked wrestlers from all different classes. Going to Norton is a very tough tournament and really shows us where we are in comparison with other teams around the state.
“One thing that it helps us learn about our team is how well they react and wrestle when being put on a bigger stage such as Norton. The competition, the crowd and the atmosphere are all bigger than we are used to, and it is a great way to see if they fall into place or don’t keep up. It is tough going against larger schools that are at the top of their respective classes, and it is a new world to wrestle high class 5A and 6A teams.”
Tyler Palic (8-1) led Marion by placing second at 195 pounds with a 2-1 record. Palic, who ranks second in the state, faced a pair of ranked wrestlers in the outing. Following a first-round bye, Palic earned a win by fall. He twice defeated fourth-ranked Hayden Wiltfong from Norton, including a 4-0 decision in the semifinals. In the championship, Palic lost a 5-3 decision to Cimarron’s top-ranked Josh Seabolt.
“It was a great match, and we figured quite a bit out about how our style needs to be adjusted in those big time matches,” McMichael said of the championship. “Luckily we will get to see (Seabolt) again before the state tournament.”
Charlie Nordquist (13-3), who ranks sixth in the state, placed third at 220 pounds with a 4-1 record, scoring 16 points. After winning his first two matches by fall and by 7-4 decision, Nordquist lost a 12-6 decision in the semifinals to Chris Cox from Hoxie, who ranks first in the state. Nordquist pinned his opponent in the consolation semifinals, then won by 6-1 decision over Beloit’s Creighton Johnson in the third-place match.
“Charlie got a good taste at what a No. 1 ranked kid is and a full-sized 220 at that,” McMichael said. “Charlie has been weighing in around the 195-pound mark, so those kids are quite a bit bigger than him.”
Jarret McLinden (12-6) went 3-2 at 285 pounds, scoring 10 points. He pinned his first opponent, then lost by fall in the quarterfinals. McLinden pinned his next two opponents before losing a 5-1 decision in the consolation semifinals.
Calib Mallory (5-7) went 1-2 at 138 pounds, scoring four points. He pinned his first opponent, then lost his next two matches by fall.
Forest Slater (1-6) concluded scoring for Marion, going 1-2 at 106 pounds and scoring one point. After a loss by fall, Slater won an 11-9 decision in the consolation bracket. He lost by fall to conclude the outing.
Also competing for Marion were: Ethan Darnall (7-8), 0-2 at 132 pounds; Brock Mitchell (5-11), 0-2 at 145 pounds; Kyle Horton (5-11), 0-2 at 152 pounds; Kolton Brewer (2-10), 0-2 at 160 pounds; Todd Palic (7-7), 0-2 at 170 pounds; and Luke Lanning (3-13), 0-2 at 182 pounds. Will Alleven (0-8) forfeited two matches at 113 pounds.
“Our biggest thing to work on moving forward is working harder in the practice room and the wrestlers taking advantage of what we do in there,” McMichael said. “Some are not using their time and giving everything they have every single day. The ones who are, are showing huge progress”
Coming—Marion will wrestle at Halstead this weekend. Matches are scheduled to begin Friday at 4 p.m. Saturday’s schedule begins at 9 a.m.