Flyers' reign in district tournament comes to end with third-place finish
For every cloud, there really is a silver lining.
The wrestling team at Lindbergh Senior High school has dominated the District No. 2 tournament for the past three years, but the Flyers' reign came to an end last weekend as they captured third place. Head coach Tom Gose was disappointed, yet optimistic about the fact that he had 11 grapplers advancing to the sectionals this weekend at Lindbergh.
"We were disappointed," Gose told the Call. "We got used to winning it (districts) in the past three years and placed third. We blew a couple of opportunities to win the team title, but we advanced 11 wrestlers and had some of them wrestling injured."
At 160 pounds, senior Frank Pichler provided one of many highlights for the Flyers as he won the district championship in his respective weight class.
"I'm really proud of him," Gose said. "If you would have told me that he would have been our only district champion, I would have told you that you were crazy."
The Flyers had five wrestlers take runners-up honors, which means that Lindbergh had six grapplers overall make the championship round.
At 103, freshman Jesse Cain took second place, which drew praise from the Flyers head coach.
"Jesse was wrestling a guy that beat us pretty badly before," Gose said. "We're really happy with Jesse. He wrestled really well this weekend."
Junior Jeff Streibig grabbed second at 130 despite being injured. With a guarantee to the sectional tournament since he reached the district championship match, Streibig defaulted his match to keep the injury from progressing any further than where it currently is.
"Jeff got the job done," Gose said. "His injury really hampered him and he ended up defaulting his championship match."
One of the more exciting matches of the evening was a 140, which pitted the Flyers' Kevin Duniven against Anthony Haddad of Marquette who happens to be ranked No. 1 in the state. The Lindbergh junior has wrestled injured throughout the season and gave Haddad a tough match, according to Gose.
"He's been wrestling with an injury all season," Gose said. "I was hoping that he'd just get to the finals and it was the most exciting match of the night."
Despite qualifying for the sectional tournament, Duniven will not compete next weekend due to an interview for a scholarship at St. Louis University. The three-day interview process just happens to be during the state championships, which are Feb. 19 to 21 at the Hearnes Center in Columbia.
"Kevin won't be wrestling at sectionals because of a scholarship interview at SLU," Gose said. "I can't really blame him for not passing up a $100,000 scholarship opportunity."
The Flyers' Daniel Virtue also captured second place at 145, which is what Gose was expecting out of his junior grappler.
"We thought Daniel wrestled really well," Gose said. "He placed as high as we realistically expected him to."
Lindbergh's sixth wrestler to make the championship round was senior A.J. Peters who placed second at 171.
"A.J. had a huge semifinal match to get into the finals," Gose said. "We're really happy with how he's wrestling."
Taking third for the Flyers were juniors Greg Feilner (135) and Ben Lachmann (152), while junior Brent Bradshaw (189), senior Matt Heard (215) and sophomore Nick Stienbrook (112) took fourth-place honors. All wrestlers will advance to the sectionals this upcoming weekend.
The Flyers will have a distinct advantage to their opponents this weekend as they play host to the sectional championships Saturday morning.
"Sectionals comes down to being mentally ready," Gose said. "It's great to watch because everyone's on top of their game. Right now, our week is going to be based on mental attitude."
The sectional championships are scheduled for a 10 a.m. start.