By RON PRESTON
Focusing on getting better each and every day, the AHS wrestling team and their parents received that message from head wrestling Coach James Stout at the annual end-of-season awards banquet, Tuesday.
Stout thanked the parents for their dedication and loyalty to their sons and the program during this past season.
This season saw the team accomplish a Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association team academic honorable mention (2.95 GPA) award as one of their major achievements.
The team members who received honorable mention certificates were: Logan McDowell, Zane Baugh, Jr. Morgan, Caysen Smith, Seth Strauss, Blake Anguiano, JT Brantley, Jacob Hagedorn, Nick Ward, Blaise Lehman, Alex Madacs, Jaron Dillon and Johnathan Todd.
Senior Brandon Rein received a First Team All Academic Award from the KWCA.
The Cowboys finished second in the North Central Kansas League, fifth in regionals and 13th at the state tournament.
The team had a 12-6 dual record of which it had a 5-5 dual record versus top 10 opponents.
Senior Jr. Morgan (120) and sophomore Caysen Smith (126) were first team All League wrestlers.
Honorable mention went to: Logan McDowell (106), Zane Baugh (113), Seth Strauss (132), Jacob Hagedorn (132), Alex Madacs (182) and Johnathan Todd (285).
State tournament qualifiers were: McDowell (qualifier), Baugh (third place), Morgan (second place) Seth Strauss (qualifier) and Hagedorn (qualifier).
Team awards presented by the coaching staff went to Rein and Quade Baugh (both undefeated in JV) as the Most Valuable Utility Wrestler.
Freshman Felix Strauss was awarded the Most Improved JV wrestler award.
Smith was presented the Most Improved Varsity wrestler certificate.
Junior Jacob Hagedorn won the Cowboy Up award from the coaches.
Senior Nick Ward received the Hard Luck wrestler award due to injuries and close matches although he managed a 20-5 season record.
Senior Jr. Morgan was voted by the coaches as the Most Valuable Wrestler. Morgan had a 36-3 season record with 20 wins by fall. Of the seven individual awards recognized by the NCKL, Morgan was first in four of the individual recognition categories and second place in a fifth one.
Jr. led the conference in Most Reverses with 19, Most Takedowns with 86, Most Three Point Near Falls with 31 and Most Technical Falls with five.
Sophomores Zane Baugh led the league with the Most Two Point Near Falls with 29 and Caysen Smith had 45 escapes to be recognized as the wrestler with the Most Escapes.
Sophomore Seth Strauss was second only to Freshman Jason Zook of Chapman with 24 behind Zook’s 26 in Most Falls.
Morgan addressed the crowd by saying, “There were a few times that I hoped this season would hurry up and get over with. I look back and now I hate that it’s over, I miss it so much. You under classmen make the most of it, focus like coach said and leave it all on the mat.”
Assistant coaches Corey Casteel, Tom Taplin and Nathan Howard all echoed coach Stout’s and Jr.’s comments in their remarks. Getting better each and every day, focusing on the classroom as well wrestling and taking advantage of off season training and wrestling camps to be ready for next year.
The evening concluded with a highlight video of the season.