The Pratt Greenbacks wrestling team captured third place at the Abilene Tournament.

Pratt’s Greenback wrestling team went into a stacked Abilene Tournament last week down one varsity wrestler. But they competed well in spite of still not being at the level head coach, Tate Thompson wants the team to be at by mid-January and beyond. The Greenbacks finished the day with two champions, one runner-up, two thirds, two fourths and two fifth place finishers on the day. The team finished 3rd behind the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in 4A and ahead of McPherson, Salina Central and Abilene.

At 113 lbs. sophomore, Kaiser Pelland lost a close decision, 11-6 to the No. 3 ranked 5A wrestler, Adam Slade from Salina Central in the first round. The rest of his day was routine as Pellan pinned Rakestraw of Silver Lake, Gardner of Smoky Valley, Rose of Marysville and Welsh of Abilene. The loss in his first match kept him out of the championship because of the way the pools were set up, but he was 4-1 on the day and earned 3rd place. He is 12-5 on the season.

Senior Kadence Riner, 152 lbs., began his day with a win over his teammate, then got a fall over Kliesen of Scott City, an impressive fall over True of Salina Central with a emphatic throw for a pin. In the finals, Riner momentarily stopped his wrestling motion and paid for it, as the match would then be tied at 5 before he kicked it into high gear, separating himself from his opponent and ending with a sound 9-6 decision.

“Blips, errors, and loss of focus in matches happen all the time. We use these early season tournaments to remind us how we want to wrestle in the postseason,” said Thompson. “Kadence will come back stronger after the break and continue on his hunt for a 4A championship. As long as we make adjustments each week, he will get there, no doubt.”

Riner was 4-0 on the day to win the tournament. He is 13-1 for the year.

This was the last tournament before the winter break and Thompson said he is ready to use the break to improve for the second half of the season.

“We have a lot of work to do and high standards to meet. We will focus on improving our offensive attacks and pushing the action as we get into the second half of the season,” Thompson said. “The tools are there, but the work has to be put in and our guys are going to have to try some new things and allow themselves to be pushed so we can wrestle like Greenbacks. The proof will be in the performances in January and February.”