HAYS, Kansas — The Cloud County Community College wrestling team experienced some growing pains against high caliber competition Sunday as the T-Birds were limited to a pair of wins at the Bob Smith Open, hosted down I-70 at Fort Hays State University.
"I think our youth showed with a lot of our guys," said Cloud County head coach, Cody Cole. "It was a pretty tough tournament with some good NCAA Division II teams and Oklahoma State was there. But our youth definitely showed and it didn't seem like we were as comfortable competing there as we have been."
Freshman 125-pounder Jorge Vega led the way for the T-Birds with a 2-2 tournament record. In the consolation bracket, Vega earned back-to-back convincing wins over Logan McDowell (16-2 major decision) from Bethany College and Cameron Rudy (14-9 decision) out of Labette Community College.
His tournament came to an end with a tough 3-2 decision on a last-second takedown by Central Oklahoma's Zach D'Amico; the eventual third-place winner.
Cole also pointed to freshman Ryan Delforge as a bright spot for the T-Birds Sunday as, despite going 0-2, Delforge competed well in the 157-pound bracket against Fort Hays' Efe Osaghae and Dalton Moran from Oklahoma State.
"The kid Jorge went against was a little older and capitalized on a mistake. And then Ryan went out and battled in both of his matches, wrestling Fort Hays' starter and then wrestling an Oklahoma State kid on the backside. He was in both those matches as well, just made a few mental mistakes," Cole said. "Those two guys continue to battle every weekend for us."
Cole said he hopes Sunday serves as a teaching moment moving forward.
"The guys need to realize that, no matter what singlet (the opponent) has on, they're stepping on the same mat as us and we need to be competitive," Cole said.
The good news for the T-Birds is they won't have to wait long for another chance to get back on the mat as they compete in their first KJCCC dual of the season at 5 p.m. Tuesday on the road against Northwest Kansas Technical College.
Cloud County then heads to Central Christian College for a dual at 7 p.m. on Friday.
"We get to have a short memory and go out and compete again on Tuesday," Cole said. "I think it's very beneficial as we near Christmas break that this wasn't the last thing we were going to remember. We'll have two more chances against two teams that are pretty competitive."