There will be a new team champion crowned and a number of new faces in the 54th edition of the Newton Invitational Tournament of Champions Friday and Saturday at Ravenscroft Gym.
There are 27 teams slated to compete in the tournament this year. Two-time defending TOC champion Garden City, winners of six titles overall, declined to return for this year, but several strong teams are making their debut — including Junction City, Olathe South, Valley Center, Olathe Northwest and Wichita South.
There are 12 ranked teams and 88 ranked wrestlers scheduled to compete, including one first-ranked team (Manhattan, Class 6A), two-second-ranked teams (Arkansas City, Class 5A; Norton, Class 3-2-1A), a third-ranked team (Derby, Class 3A), a fourth-ranked team (Dodge City, Class 6A) and a fifth-ranked team (Valley Center, Class 5A).
Newton, itself, is ranked ninth in Class 5A.
There are 12 top-ranked wrestlers scheduled to compete.
Newton coach Tommy Edgmon is confident about his team’s chances for success at the tournament.
“We made a good showing at Derby (last weekend),” Edgmon said. “Every tournament we’ve been in this year has been progessively tougher than the last. We started at the Ark City dual tournament, then Douglass, then Carroll, then Derby. Now we have the TOC. If we can keep rising to the occasion and wrestle tough, we can do well.”
Newton has several wrestlers who Edgmon said can contend for a title this weekend.
Newton’s top contender is senior Logan Treaster at 120 pounds, entering the tournament at 19-0. Treaster finished second last year. Treaster is top-ranked in Class 5A.
Other contenders include freshman Grant Treaster at 103 pounds, sophomore Wyatt Hendrickson at 182 pounds and junior Cyle Gautschi at 220 pounds. Grant Treaster (15-3) is ranked third, Hendrickson (17-3) is ranked third and Gautschi (14-5) is ranked second.
“It’s going to depend on how the brackets are seeded,” Edgmon said. “They should get into the semis, or even the finals.”
Other Newton wrestlers with a strong chance to get on the medal stand include freshman Boone Roberson (10-5) at 113 pounds, senior Andrew Trowbridge (12-7) at 126 pounds, senior Brody Robertson (13-8) at 132 pounds and sophomore Colby Beer (8-7) at 195 pounds.
“We’re looking for those guys to show up and wrestle well,” Edgmon said. “If they get on the backside, those are guys with the mindset to wrestle tough through the back door and score a lot of points for us.”
Rounding out the probable lineup for the Railers are freshman Josh Edson (6-10) at 138 pounds, senior Kadin McBee (3-7) at 145 pounds, senior Austin Gehring (6-10) at 152 pounds, junior Brian Cusick (4-5) at 160 pounds, sophomore Dante Harper (4-11) at 170 pounds and junior Brecken Wedel (1-8) at heavyweight.
“As a team, our first- and second-round matches will be a lot tougher than what we
what we’ve seen at other tournaments,” Edgmon said. “We’ll be getting a lot of support from the home fans, and that will help our guys.”
Edgmon looks for Andover, Manhattan, Arkansas City, Norton and Derby to be among the favorites for the tourney title.
“Then there are a number of teams that have a number of strong wrestlers who can do well,” he said.
Edgmon said he has no goal for the team in the team standings.
“If each of us individually take care of business, then the team score takes care of itself,” Edgmon said. “If we have the opportunity to pull out a fourth or a third or get into the finals individually, the team takes care of itself. We have some heavy hitters who can do well for us and we have a lot of kids who can get through the backside and score a lot points for us.”