Goleman, Erisman men of the mats in Wamego tourney
Four Wildcats qualified for the championship match in their respective weight class to help De Soto to a fourth-place team total of 112.5 points at Saturday's Wamego Invitational. Two of those wrestlers won championships.
Neil Erisman moved up a weight class to 152 pounds and didn't skip a beat from last year's 33-1 season, especially early on when he pinned his first two opponents.
"I'm still out of shape and didn't wrestle very well," Erisman said despite pinning his first two opponents in 30 and 35 seconds, respectively. "I really should have handled my last match better.
"He was a pretty good wrestler, but I struggled in the match. I should have beat him worse."
The match he was referring to was Erisman's 10-9 win over Chris Sutton-Kern of Concordia in the 152-pound championship.
Erisman was quick to change the conversation from himself to the championship match that featured teammate Leif Goleman.
Goleman, who competed at 171 pounds after hitting the mat at 160 last year, also made quick work of his first two opponents by getting pins. Goleman then routed Chase County's Kyle Smith in the championship match, outscoring him by a technical fall total of 16-0.
Brandon Hurt also qualified for the finals against Keaton Taylor from Silver Lake but came up short in the championship when he couldn't rally from an early 4-0 disadvantage.
Hurt narrowed the gap to 5-2 but came up short in his bid to give De Soto three champions.
Blake Lindbloom clawed and scratched his way into the finals match, but fell short when he was pinned by Concordia's Danny Lavoie at 56 seconds.
Three other Wildcats placed in the top four despite a slew of wrestlers missing the meet because of illnesses.
Jacob Rupe (fourth at 125 pounds), Adam Faircloth (fourth at 135) and Alex Mercer (third at 215) all earned medals at a meet that featured two of the better wrestling programs in 4A in Concordia and Abilene.
"I think we could have done better yet had we had some of the other guys wrestling," Erisman said. "But we do feel pretty good about the fourth-place finish. At the same time we don't want to be satisfied with the finish because we are trying to build a program here."
De Soto next takes the mat at 6 p.m. Friday when they dual it out with Bishop Ward in De Soto.
1. Concordia, 173.5, 2. Abilene, 152.5, 3. Silver Lake, 134.5, 4. De Soto, 112.5, 5. Herington, 93, 6. Wamego, 73, 7. Chase County, 69.5, 8. Hutchinson Trinity, 13, 9. Topeka Hayden, 5, 10. Manhattan Flint Hills Job Corps, 3.