Derby wrestling file photo (Bryce Wells)

After finishing second at state a year ago, Derby’s Bryce Wells has become one of the team’s biggest contributors as a junior.

After a narrow loss to Ark City in its opening dual of 2020, Derby set its eyes on its annual home tournament this past weekend.

Mother Nature stepped in the way, however, forcing a cancellation due to uncertain forecasts and a number of teams pulling out of the tournament.

Losing a weekend of matches is tough for wrestlers, but it’s also bittersweet when it’s one of a handful of chances to wrestle at home.

Coach Bill Ross and staff were able to make up for the loss of these matches with the addition of the Andover Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 1.

Derby is preparing for a robust field of 31 teams in the annual Newton Tournament of Champions this Friday and Saturday.

Teams participating this weekend include Andale, Andover, Andover Central, Ark City, Bishop Carroll, BV Southwest, Burleson Centennial (Colo.), Derby, Dodge City, Emporia, Eureka, Goddard, Holton, Hutchinson, Lawrence Free State, Leavenworth, Maize, Maize South, Manhattan, McPherson, Newton, Norton, Olathe South, Seneca (Mo.), Stilwell (Mo.), Valley Center, Wichita Heights, Wichita Northwest, Wichita South, Wichita West and Winfield.

Now through the first six weeks of the season, Ross gave a look at how some of his varsity wrestlers have developed through 2019-20.

106: CODY WOODS (10-5)

“He’s brought a business-like attitude at practice. He’s a silent leader. He has maturity beyond his years and that and some of his ‘funk’ are some of finest attributes.”

113: KNOWLYN EGAN (9-9)

“Knowlyn is kind of our guy right now [at 113], but that could change at any time … He’s really slick on his feet and very, very technical.”

132: BRYCE WELLS (11-6)

“He’s shown a lot of maturity and come January and February he starts hitting his peak. When the matches really count, he really turns it up a notch.”

138: XAVIER SISCO (3-1)

“He took a little time off last year, but I’ve got him in class and he’s very respectful … If he continues on the track he’s on now, he’s going to help this team be very successful.”

145: CASON LINDSEY (10-2)

“He knows exactly what he wants and what it takes to get there. Now that he’s a junior, he’s one of the most mature kids in our room and is very competitive and hates to lose. He’s got his eye on the prize.”

160: TREYTON RUSHER (9-6)

“He’s got a couple little fundamental things we’re working on with his shot right now … there are a few things that he sees he’s doing. We fix some of those things, he’ll win a lot of matches for us and possibly be at that state tournament and score some points for us.”

182: TAIDON WILLS (5-0)

“We feel confident that he’s got enough experience, protects himself as he wrestles, and [will] do what he needs to do to place [at regionals and state]. He’ll be right in the mix for a gold medal.”

195: TYLER ALLEN (9-4)

“Within the last year he has grown up a lot and he was chosen to be a captain in our [practice room]. He shows the leadership qualities, his attitude is good and he wants to be a champion.”

220: BLAISE WOOD (10-6)

“He’s so strong for a freshman. He’s one of the strongest freshmen I’ve ever had on the team. He’s got some talent and we just have to refine some of his technique right now … If we can get him a little more technically sound, we expect him to help us get to state and score some points for us.”

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