Wrestlers test mettle against county’s best
In his eighth match at this weekend's Johnson County Wrestling Classic, Leif Goleman found himself in a rematch against Olathe East's Taylor Bauer, whom he had pinned earlier in the day.
The second match didn't turn out as well as the first one, however, as Bauer avenged his lone loss of Saturday with a pin of his own near the end of the second period.
"I caught him in a move during the first match," Goleman said, "and was able to get him on his back and pin him. If I hadn't done that, it would have been a great match."
Following the loss to Bauer, Goleman was pinned by Spring Hill's Drew Hudgins, who advanced to the finals in the second period and dropped to the consolation bracket.
A 9-6 decision over Blue Valley Northwest's Billy Hull then sent Goleman back to the rematch with Bauer.
"I started losing confidence during the day and was becoming tired," Goleman said of his eighth match in two days. "But in a way I was glad I lost a couple of matches at the meet. I found out just how much work I have left before the season's over."
The 171-pound junior, who eats full meals the night before a meet just so he can weigh in at about 169 pounds, now realizes he needs to add some muscle to his frame if he is going to be able to hold up against the more natural 171 pounders at regionals and at state.
"Most of the guys in my weight class are probably having to drop weight to wrestle there," he said. "They are more natural 171 pounders than I am. I have to get bigger and improve my stamina."
Goleman wasn't the only Wildcat to make some noise Friday and Saturday. As he did last year, Neil Erisman was named the event's Outstanding Wrestler Award by making quick work of his opponents.
"He did what he needed to do and took care of what he needed to take care," said De Soto wrestling coach Matt Jones of the 152-pound sophomore. "So we were real happy with what he did."
Though Erisman's reputation as one of the best wrestlers in the state helped him earn the award, Jones was quick to point out just how impressively Erisman wrestled.
In dispatching the five wrestlers he faced during the two-day meet, the top-ranked wrestler in 4A pinned them all in a collective time of six minutes, nine seconds.
Jones was also impressed with the performance of freshman 119-pounder Trevor Leahy, who finished fourth in his first big high school tournament.
"He has obviously wrestled a lot," Jones said. "But this was his first big varsity action. He nowhas a good gauge as to where he is. He knows what he has to work on."
Three other wrestlers made Saturday's bracket round action by finishing either first or second in their pool. But they dropped out of medal contention with two straight losses to begin the second day of competition.
Adam Faircloth fell to eventual 135-pound finalist Kenny Aubry of Shawnee Mission South by a pin and lost to Olathe North's Dane Jordan by a 14-9 count.
Casey Johnson was pinned by Olathe South's Conor Fitzgerald, 6A's top ranked wrestler at the 160 pound weight class, and then fell out of contention when he was pinned by St. Thomas Aquinas' Jed Mamie
Alex Mercer fell to Gardner-Edgerton's Willy Cochran, the second ranked wrestler at 215 pounds in 5A, by an 11-4 count. He then lost to Blue Valley Northwest's Todd Williams by a 7-5 score.
The Wildcats nearly doubled last year's score of 55 points when they tallied an 11th best total of 102 points at the 19-team meet. St. Thomas Aquinas won the meet with 220 points. Spring Hill finished second with 186.5 points and Blue Valley Northwest rounded out the top three with 182.5 tallies.
The Wildcats will continue their season Jan. 8 when they travel to Piper for a double dual with the Pirates and Mill Valley.