Story and photo by Daniel Mohrmann
In what is often billed as a miniature Class 3A state wrestling tournament, Wes Reeves put everyone on notice by claiming the 190-pound championship at the Mel Smith Invite in Florence on Jan. 13 and 14.
Regarded as one of the top three wrestlers in his weight class, Reeves worked his way through the bracket and ended his weekend with a 6-2 decision victory over Eaton’s Cal Sidwell, the No. 1 wrestler in the state, according to Tim Yount’s On The Mat Rankings.
Reeves’ win makes him a bona fide favorite to win a title at the state tournament in less than a month.
“I think so,” Reeves said. “There were a lot of people watching and I beat the No. 1 guy.”
Having seen Reeves battle all season in competition and practice, coach Paul Bonner is pleased to see that everyone is witnessing the top-level talent that he gets to watch on a daily basis. What’s fun — and perhaps a little stressful — is that, for the remainder of the season, Reeves will be getting the best shot from every wrestler he meets on the mat.
“Most certainly there’s a target (on Wes) moving forward,” Bonner said. “There is now a face to the name, especially with the Eaton kid and with other kids that were there.”
The atmosphere in Florence was nothing short of intense. Reeves didn’t wrestle at the high school level last season, but going into the Mel Smith Invite gave him a level of nerves he hadn’t experienced in a while.
To get through it, he just leaned on his abilities and had faith that the work he’s been putting in would pay off in the form of a championship win.
“It was just having total confidence and keeping my focus,” Reeves said. “There are a lot of nerves in a situation like that. You just have to tune everything out and do your best.”
The girls were also in action over the weekend, competing at the Alpha Female Tournament at Vista Ridge. Again, it was a high-quality field of competition and, although the Mustangs didn’t get the results they were hoping to see, it’ll make them more prepared for the atmosphere they’ll see at regionals.
“For the girls, it was arguably the toughest tournament in the state,” Bonner said. “There were a lot of ranked girls.”
In the 100-pound silver bracket, Maggie Ganser advanced to the third-place match, but ended up losing. Alex Traenkle suffered the same fate in the 115-pound silver bracket. Abby Reeves competed in the 130-pound gold bracket, but lost to Doherty’s Olivia Butler in the quarterfinals.