Bentonville West is scheduled to host some of the top wrestlers in the state over the weekend at Wolverine Arena, but the format has been altered because of the threat of winter weather.
The event was originally scheduled to be a two-day individual tournament, but because of weather threat it has been changed to a dual tournament and shortened to one day
At A Glance
Bentonville West Invitational
Where: At Wolverine Arena
Notable: Eight-team dual format event which includes West, Bentonville High, Springdale High, Little Rock Catholic, Berryville, Shiloh Christian, Pulaski Academy and Searcy. The tournament was originally slated to be a bracket tournament over two days, but that changed because of the threat of winter weather on Saturday. Action begins at 3:30 p.m.
"We'll have four out of the top five teams in 6A-7A along with Pulaski Academy and Berryville," Bentonville West coach Aaron Wise said. "It's gonna be a good tournament with multiple state placers."
The number of teams is down significantly from a year ago, but Wise said there are several factors there, not the least of which is Saturday being an ACT test day.
The Wolverines got off to a good start last weekend with four medaling in Neosho, Mo.
Daryl Easterling, the defending 6A-7A state champion at 126, finished second at 132, while Charles Easterling was third at 113.
Sean Russell (160) and Brady Sifford (152) both surprised, finishing second and fourth, respectively, Wise said.
"Sean has been varsity on and off the last two years," Wise said. "But he's stepped up and been a leader and worked hard, and you're starting to see that pay off."
"Brady is pretty unknown to a lot of people. He's been stuck behind some pretty tough guys. Now, he's got an opportunity to shine. He's gonna surprise some people."
Arkansas-Little Rock signee Matthew Muller took third at 195 at the Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) Invitational over the weekend.
Muller, the defending Class 6A-7A state champion at 182, bounced back after getting pinned to win the third-place match in an event that included several nationally ranked teams and wrestlers.
Fayetteville coach Nika West said Muller's mat awareness has improved from last season.
"I harp at wrestlers all the time to always know the score and situation because it's loud and there's so much action going on around that they can't always hear me," West said. "One of his matches in pool, he got a takedown with about three seconds left. It wasn't a deciding factor since he was up already, but it was good he understands to go ahead and finish strong."
Marcus Tortorello, who finished fifth in the state in Class 6A-7A at 220 a year ago, was the only other Purple Bulldog to medal, finishing fourth. But he wrestled at heavyweight even though he weighed in at only 218.
"We like him at heavyweight right now," West said. "He's a lot quicker, and strength on strength he matches up pretty darn well. We'll see later on how our lineup shapes up."
The War Eagles finished 6-3 in the Jay (Okla.) Duals tournament and state medalist Charlie March went undefeated on the weekend.
March, who finished third in the state at 195 last year, is 9-0 early in the season and has been solid thus far, Heritage coach Doug Freeman said.
Senior J.C. White, a returning state medalist at 113, and 106-pounder Edgar Banuelos have also impressed early on.
"J.C. is just exciting to watch," Freeman said. "We've moved him around a little bit, which puts a little more pressure on him. But if you see better kids, it makes you better in the long run. Edgar has made a big bump from last year. He went 9-1 this weekend. He's put in lots of work and shown big improvement everywhere."
The Red Bulldogs picked up a third-place finish, going 7-2, at the Jay (Okla.) Duals last weekend, dropping duals to host Jay and Van Buren, which finished 1-2 in the 10-team event.
"Each one came down to the last match and came up short in both," Springdale High coach Josh Rivers said.
Senior Logan Walton, who was third in the state at 132 pounds in Class 6A-7A, went 8-1 with a tough loss to a wrestler from Miami, Okla.
"It was just a mistake," Rivers said. "He was beating the kid and had him locked up in a cradle, and he slipped out and Logan was flat on his back. It was more of a defensive pin. He looked over at me like 'What just happened?'"
But Walton will likely get a rematch in a couple of weeks when the Red Bulldogs travel to Miami for the War Dog Invitational in a couple of weeks.
R.J. Iban (7-2, Dalton Hopkins (7-1) and Nathan Bland (8-1) also performed well, Rivers said.
"R.J. wrestled last year and was right on the cusp of being really good," Rivers said. "His two losses were to a 220 kid and Charlie March (of Rogers Heritage). He'll probably find himself down at 182 by the end."
The Wildcats had 10 wrestlers place among the top five in their weight class at the Bolivar, Mo., tournament over the weekend.
Senior Max Salinas won the 160-pound class, while Alex Wilson (152), Dante Pellin (285) and Britton Bowman (170) each took second.
Brendan Davis (132), Wesley Rolfe (182), Nathan Bigfeather (22) and Jose Vargas (120) were each fourth, while Isaac Withrow (126) and Josh French (138) were fifth.
Sports on 12/06/2018
Print Headline: PREP WRESTLING Talented field coming to Bentonville West Invitational