Big-picture thinking is out this season for defending Class 4A wrestling champion Andale, coach Brad Lies said. Rather, the focus is week to week, with another trip to state far in the distance.
"We're taking one week at a time, trying not to get too far ahead of ourselves," Lies said. "We've got Buhler at home (tonight), get our weight down and get ready for that one.
"I'm trying to keep the kids focused on what's in front of them, not what's down the road."
The Indians lost their opening dual meet against Augusta, but they already have a runner-up finish in the Pratt tournament and won a tourney at Clay Center.
Andale returns three 4A runners-up, and all three are off to undefeated starts.
Levi Eck heads this group at 170. A year ago, he finished second at 145.
"He's had a growth spurt," Lies said.
Also sporting spotless records are Tyler Mies (113) and Colton Duhr (160). Mies was second at state at 103, and Duhr was runner-up at 152.
Lies said that another returning wrestler, junior Derrick Gates, has been impressive early. Gates is wrestling at 145 after competing at 171 a year ago and going 6-10. This year, he has a 5-4 mark and his fourth-place finish at Clay Center was a key to Andale's tournament victory, Lies said.
"He got us a lot of points there," Lies said. "We won by 12, and he accounted for eight points and that helped us out a ton."
Andale will face a tough field Saturday at Bishop Carroll's tournament. Five City League schools — Heights, North, Northwest, South and Carroll — will be there, as will Newton, Pratt, Salina South and Dodge City, among others.
Mies, in particular, faces a particularly tough field in the 113 division, a group that includes Javier Vieyra of Salina South, Quinton Harrison of Newton and Michael Lindler of Northwest.
Standing tough — After dual-meet losses to South and Northwest, defending Class 6A champ Heights takes an 0-2 record into tonight's match at East, but believing the Falcons are down is a risky bet, coach Mike Church said.
"We're a lot deadlier team than we were in Week One," he said, "and we're a lot deadlier team than we were in Week Two.
"Anybody that is going to lay down and sleep on us is surely mistaken."
Reinforcing that point are three senior wrestlers who have won their first two dual matches: Conner Neal at 126 (7-0 overall), Matt Reed at 170 (6-0) and Ulysses Deshazer at 220 (6-0). Church said that Deshazer will be returning to the 195 class, where he was fourth in the state a year ago.
Church said that South and Northwest had better dual teams than Heights when they met.
"The part of a dual is, you put your best 14 guys that you have available on that day out," he said. "Whoever's team is better that day, is better that day."
Another bright spot tonight for the Falcons will be the return from injury of freshman Sean Deshazer (106), who was injured during football season.
Can Heights win its fourth straight City League title? Just try to convince Church otherwise. With six duals left and the league tournament, it's still in sight, he said.
"The tournament counts for half the points toward the league championship," he said. "We're going to work hard and see where we are in February."