by Michael Smith
It has been an up and down year for Grain Valley junior wrestler Andrew Czeschin.
He had streaks of winning and streaks where he came up short in matches. On Saturday, he had his breakout moment in his first full season wrestling on the varsity team.
Czeschin came into the George Hoover Invitational at Liberty High School with a 18-20 record. He bumped his season record over .500 by going 4-0 in the heavyweight division, taking first place and helping the Eagles take fourth overall in the tournament with 145 points.
Liberty won with 379 points.
It was Czeschin’s first varsity tournament victory. He pinned Raytown South’s John Gonzalez in 53 seconds in the semifinals before pinning Kearney’s Jase Jackson in 49 seconds in the championship bout, capping a dominant day for the junior.
“Honestly, it felt pretty good,” Czeschin said with a smile. “It was the first big thing I’ve done this year.”
The Eagles rested most of their wrestlers for this tournament, but a few got in the action on Saturday.
Sophomore Justin Deweese (160 pounds) is taking advantage of his first year, wrestling at the varsity level and came into the tournament with a solid 27-11 record. He won his first three matches by pin, but fell in the championship match to Liberty’s Peyton Westpfhal by fall in the second period.
“I feel like my season is going well,” Deweese said. “I am going to keep putting in hard work and try to go to state.”
Like Deweese, Tyler Groves (132) made some noise in the tournament by going 2-1 and taking second place after falling to No. 1-ranked Christopher Coates of Liberty in the championship match.
“I felt a little bit under the weather, but that guy was such a stud,” Groves said of Coates. “I think I did pretty good today.”
Ethan Jones filled in for Brock Smith in the 120-pound weight division and had a strong showing by taking third place. He pinned Raytown South’s Raul Romero in the third period in his final match.
Jones has compiled a 20-8 record after bouncing back and forth between varsity and junior varsity.
“I went into this tournament with a lot of confidence and nothing to lose,” Jones said. “That last match for third place was pretty tough, but I knew he was always coming forward so I hit a couple of good shots.”
Other Eagles to compete in the tournament were Kaden Crandall (138, fourth place), Kollin Hanshuld (138, fifth), Jace Worthington (170, fourth), Collin Burd (182, fifth) and Gavin Barker (220, sixth).