De Soto sends three grapplers to state
Last season Adam Faircloth and Leif Goleman ended their seasons with unfinished business. Saturday afforded the two Wildcat wrestlers the beginning of the opportunity to finish that business.
They join freshman Neil Erisman as De Soto's entrants into this weekend's Kansas State High School Wrestling Meet in Wichita.
Goleman is happy that he's finally getting the chance to compete state wrestling meet while also focusing on the challenge ahead.
"It's not as exciting as I thought," he said. "I was hoping to go last year. But I'm going now, and I'm happy."
Goleman, who will take a 22-4 record at 152 pounds into the state meet, started the regional with pins over Council Grove's Chase Quick and Topeka Hayden's Josh Torrez.
He lost a major decision to eventual champion Alvin Metcalf (33-4) of Fort Scott by a 17-6 margin. He then won a major decision Burlington's Justin Erbe 14-4 in the consolation semifinals and pinned Torrez again in the consolation finals.
Goleman started the tournament as the third seed and made prophets out of the regional organizers by finishing third in the tournament.
"Leif wrestled amazing his final two matches of the tournament," said De Soto coach Eric Deyoe. "When he is wrestling confident, he is one of the most difficult wrestlers to beat in the state."
Faircloth started the meet as the eighth seed and finished fourth at the 4A regional at Santa Fe Trail.
He started the meet by losing a decision to eventual runner-up Colby Riffel of Chapman.
Battling through the consolation bracket, Faircloth technical falled Council Grove's Shalaine Elias and won a decision over Eudora's Miles Cleveland, earning a spot in the consolation semifinals.
Faircloth secured his spot in the state meet with a major decision over Baldwin's Joe Bonner and was pinned by Prairie View's Tyler Atwood in the consolation finals.
According to Deyoe, Faircloth saved his best wrestling for the regional tournament.
"He wrestled with a lot of heart and showed a lot of desire to beat some really good kids and make that trip to Wichita," the coach said. "We talked a lot during the week about how each match is up in the air regardless of record. It all comes down to who wants it more, and Adam wanted this very badly. It showed in his passion on the mat."
Erisman, who is ranked second at 145 pounds by the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association, stretched his undefeated record to 30-0 heading into the state meet and continued to leave a trail of ranked wrestlers behind him on the way to a possible matchup with top-ranked Eric Luedke (34-1) of Colby.
The freshman phenom started the regional meet with a pin over Louisburg's Bobby Wallace and a 6-1 decision over conference rival and fourth-ranked Travis Eden of Santa Fe Trail.
Erisman then stunned the throng of wrestling fans with a quick-and-easy first-period pin of Spring Hill's fifth-ranked Justin Stirling.
"Neil didn't leave any doubt in anyone's mind of how good he is," Deyoe said. "He is wrestling the best he has all season. It will be a lot of fun to see what he can do in Wichita at the peak of his performance."
Brandon Hurt (15-10) battled his way into the consolation semifinals of the 103-pound weight class despite wrestling with a strained shoulder. A major decision loss to Eudora's Andy Coffman ended his season.
Hurt lost his first match to Ottawa's Blaine Angell by decision to drop down into the consolation bracket.
Marty Below (14-9) went 2-2 in the 275-pound weight class and reached the consolation quarterfinals.
He pinned Osawatomie's Michael Taylor in opening round action and then was pinned by eventual champion Dennis Kimzey of Prairie View (32-2).
Below pinned Council Grove's Matt Fox and was pinned by Burlington's Cory Matlock to fall out of the state tournament contention.
Chad Falke (18-11) lost his first match at 140 pounds to eventual champion Chad Schmale (28-3) of Santa Fe Trail. He then major decisioned Vashon Perryman of Ottawa and lost to Derek Trammell of Spring Hill by major decision.
Faircloth, Erisman and Goleman will take the next step toward a possible state championship at Kansas Coliseum in Wichita this Friday and Saturday.
Faircloth (17-12) begins action against Lansing's Sean Flynn (30-7). Erisman (30-0) drew Columbus' Brian Simpson (23-14) for his first-round match. And Goleman (22-4) will go up against Abilene's Ross Taplin (32-1).