Wrestlers grab honors at Tonganoxie tourney
Five De Soto wrestlers earned top-three medals at the Tonganoxie Wrestling Tournament last Saturday and paced the Wildcats to a fourth-place team finish in the process.
Neil Erisman remained undefeated for the year on his way to the individual championship at 145 pounds. For the third straight tournament, he was given the Outstanding Wrestler award.
Leif Goleman joined Erisman on the winner's stand at 152 pounds and assured the Wildcats of at least two champions for the second-straight week.
Every De Soto wrestler except Goleman, who was seeded third, finished their seed in the tournament.
Goleman defeated Central Height's Kyle Gorton in the semifinals before upsetting the top seed, Eddie Cardona, by fall. Gorton had defeated Goleman 13-11 in the Burlington Tournament earlier this year.
"It is exciting to be able to witness improvement," coach Eric Deyoe said. "Anytime you have a wrestler who has lost to someone and then they come back and beat them later in the season you are witnessing something special.
"It is difficult mentally and emotionally to overcome losses. Leif is really doing a great job building from his losses and making them work in his favor."
Earning runner-up medals at the tournament were Brandon Hurt at 103 pounds and Chad Falke at 130 pounds. Marty Below took home the third-place medal in the heavyweight division.
As well as De Soto competed, they could have done even better. Adam Faircloth, one of the area's better wrestlers at 112 pounds, missed the entire tournament because of the flu.
The flu also kept Hurt and Jacob Rupe from finishing what they started.
Andrew Parker (215 pounds) wrestled his way into the consolation semi-finals. But that was as far as he would get, as a knee injury ended his run.
"We are right where we want to be at this time of the season," Deyoe said Tuesday morning. "We are making progress and wrestling better each time we compete."
The Wildcats have some tough matches coming up. But Deyoe was optimistic about the preparation of his team.
"The upcoming week's practices and competitions are only going to help us prepare for the high level of wrestling we will see at the end of the season," he said. "Right now is a great time to continue learning and preparing for regionals and the state tournament."
De Soto travels Jan. 2 to Bonner Springs for a quadrangular with Santa Fe Trail and Immaculata.