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The Kansan - Newton, KS
  • Newton to host TOC

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  • One of the toughest wrestling tournaments in the state turns 50 this year.?The Newton Invitational Tournament of Champions celebrates it’s golden anniversary this weekend with 27 teams, including four top-ranked teams, three defending state champion teams, 16 ranked teams, 19 top-ranked wrestlers, 10 defending state champions and 107 ranked wrestlers.?“I’m not even that old,” Newton coach Jude Wilson said. “It’s been a long-standing tournament with a great reputation to it. It’s a great milestone for Newton, the community and this school. I’m excited to be a part of it.”?The host Railers come into the tournament unbeaten in both dual meets and tournaments, winning three titles this season — the Douglass Goodwill Invitational, the Bishop Carroll Invitational and the Augusta Invitational.?Newton enters the tournament as defending Class 5A runner-up and ranked fourth in Class 5A this season.?Newton is led by unbeaten Dillon Archer at 195 pounds, where he is ranked second. Other ranked wrestlers for the Railers going into the tourney include Quinton Harrison, who is fourth at 126 pounds; Anthony Monares, ranked fifth at 132 pounds; Garrett McEachern, who is ranked fourth at 138 pounds; Jared Langley, who is ranked third at 170 pounds; Raymond Gallegos, who is ranked fifth at 220 pounds; and Garrett Lee, who is ranked fourth at heavyweight.?“We’re doing OK,” Wilson said. “This has always been our first real test as far as tournaments go. We use it as a measuring stick. Kids are going to see a lot of competition they haven’t seen yet, so it’s kind of exciting.”?Top squads attending include top-ranked Garden City (Class 6A), Arkansas City (Class 5A) and Colby (Class 4A). Manhattan (Class 6A) and Arkansas City are defending state champions.?“This will be the first time we get to see Ark City,” Wilson said. “Colby is one of the top teams in 4A. We haven’t seen Norton, a top team in 3A. Manhattan is going to be tough. There are going to be a lot of good teams we haven’t gotten to see yet. We haven’t seen Garden City. They are tough.”?Two-time defending tourney champion Tulsa (Okla.) Union is not returning, but coming into the tournament is the top-ranked Class A school from Nebraska, Grand Island. The Islanders are the defending state champions is Nebraska’s largest class.?“I don’t know how good they are,” Wilson said. “They have a good reputation. They are a real solid team. I don’t even remember the last time we’ve seen a Nebraska team. We’ve seen Colorado and Oklahoma. We’ve never been that far north. I imagine they will be competitive. It will be another good one to see. It makes the field tougher. ... Something Kansas people want to know is how they compare to other states at times. It’s a good one to have in the tournament.”?The Railers were fourth in the tournament last year, the highest finish for the team in years. Wilson said the team could match or exceed that, but it won’t be an easy task.?“I think we need to show our toughness on the mat,” Wilson said.. “The kids won’t always execute everything right, but they can show their toughness physically and wrestle anybody out there. We want to win some of the close matches. It’s becoming more and more important as you get later in the season.?“It’s important because it’s our home tournament. We’re going to have to win a lot of close matches to be in the team race.”?Newton comes into the tournament after a week off. Things will get tougher in the following weeks with Thursday duals, followed by weekend tournaments.?“Before this tournament, it’s nice to have some rest and not worrying about making weight on Thursday and again on Friday,” Wilson said. “(Later,) we’re just getting more mat time and having fun with it. This week is a little more serious. We approach it more as a state tournament. There are a lot of good teams here, and we don’t know where we stand with some of them. This is a big test for us.”   

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