The Lafayette Lancers will travel to Jefferson City to compete in the Capital City Tournament.
The one-day tournament is Saturday (Jan. 13).
It’s an event coach Jonathan Sumner said his Lancers look forward to as it is a state-level caliber tournament.
“We are heading to Jefferson City this weekend to see some of the toughest competition from the other side of the state,” Sumner said.
After that, Lafayette will take part in two more tournaments before postseason begins.
“Then, (we go) to Winnetonka the following weekend for one of the toughest tournaments in the state and then finish with the Thrasher Tournament at Francis Howell the following weekend, which is arguably one of the toughest tournaments in St. Louis,” Sumner said.
Lafayette is set to wrestle Eureka for the Suburban West Conference championship in a dual Wednesday (Jan. 10) on the stage in the school’s theater.
The Lancers are fresh off winning the Lafayette Fred Ross Invitational.
“We threw things together pretty quickly after we heard the All Suburban Conference tournament was canceled,” Sumner said. “It wasn’t that hard as I had people all around me helping me. Our tournament director and one of my assistant coaches Wade Pinkston really ran the show and did an outstanding job organizing the whole the tournament. Wade along with a very supportive community of parents and coaches allowed us to put together a successful tournament.
“We all want to thank Wade for running a great tournament and we want to thank our kids, parents, and coaches for all that they do.”
The tournament, which will be an annual event Sumner said, is aptly named.
“Fred Ross coached at Lafayette from 1969 to 1995 (26 years) as the head coach,” Sumner said. “His team finished second in 1991, first in 1992, and fourth in 1994. He coached 10 individual state champs and 37 other state medalists.”
Sumner said Ross was thrilled with the honor.
“He was ecstatic and excited for all of it,” Sumner said. “Alumni from his era of coaching came in from all over the country to be a part of it and watch him be inducted into the Lafayette Wrestling Hall of Fame. It was really neat to see him and his athletes interact and enjoy the day.”
Sumner said he has been in touch with Ross before.
“He actually called me after this season to congratulate me and our team on our fourth-place finish at state last year and said he had been following our team,” Sumner said. “He is now retired and living in Macon. He is volunteering as an assistant wrestling coach for their program that is only a couple years old. I got to meet him this summer when I went to Macon to run a camp for Nick Purler for their school.”
This first Ross tournament was a good one, Sumner said.
“It was a solid mix of teams,” Sumner said. “It was made up of the majority of the teams in finished in the top half of the Suburban Conference tournament last season.”
Lafayette won the tournament with 259 points. Seckman finished second with 209.5 points. Eureka finished third with 190.5 points. Lindbergh finished in fourth with 127.5 points, and Parkway South finished in fifth with 101 points.
The Lancers not only won the team title, but had five individual champions, nine finalists, and 15 kids who finished in the top 5 of their weight class.
Individual champions for Lafayette included Jayden Carson at 120, Cam Wegener at 145, Anthony Michaels at 152, Austin Wegener at 182, and Cortez Woods at 220.
Second-place finishes for the Lancers were Carson Boren at 113, Jaylen Carson at 126, Gabe Frankenberger at 132, and Jake Malven at 170.
Jalin Reese finished fourth at 106 along with Jonah Robinson. Gaelyn Nooner, Evan Boren, Desean Reese, and Henry Thomas all finished fifth.
“(The) Kids wrestled hard last weekend, and we are very proud of them and their efforts,” Sumner said. “It is a long season and this is merely a steppingstone for what this group is looking to accomplish.”