Archive for Thursday, December 9, 2004

Open classes hold back De Soto wrestlers at Wamego

December 9, 2004

The number of wrestlers, not the format, determined De Soto's fate Saturday at the Wamego Invitational Wrestling Tournament.

Although the Wildcats finished fifth at the seven-team event, it was difficult for Wildcat coach Matt Jones to say his team would have fared better had the coaches opted to stay with the regular tournament format instead of going with the dual tournament format.

"The coaches decided in their coaches' meeting to go with the dual tournament, because more kids would get a chance to participate in more matches," Jones said. "There were too many open classes. We all got to wrestle every kid of every ability. Everyone got a win. That probably wouldn't have happened otherwise."

The disadvantage of the meet occurred when the Wildcats, who traveled with just eight grapplers, had to give up 36 points to begin each dual because of open weight classes.

"That was a huge deficit to start out with," Jones said.

Jones' team set a goal at the beginning of the year to improve in the number of takedowns this season. And the head coach was happy to see that happen as his team went 2-2 in the tournament.

The Wildcats lost to Abilene (57-22) and Wamego (41-39), while knocking off Chase County (42-29) and Herington (36-35). Although De Soto won just two duals, Jones was glad to see his wrestling team put together a 17-8 mark on the day in matches wrestled.

Four Wildcats were perfect on the day. Brandon Hurt (119) went 2-0, Neil Erisman (152) was unblemished at 4-0, and Leif Goleman (189) and Alex Mercer (215) wound up 3-0 each. Both of Faircloth's losses came at the hands of ranked foes.

Jones said that Mercer started where he left off from last season.

"Alex wrestled really well," the coach said. "He seemed to have more intensity. He's as good as anybody on the team, and I think he's starting to gain some confidence."

Aaron Hansen has already equaled his win total from his 1-14 season in 2003-2004. His win came at the hands of a Hutchinson wrestler.

Trailing 2-0 early, Hansen earned a takedown, and the rest is history. The 145-pound sophomore rallied and won.

"I'm not sure how or when my rally started," he said. "I got the takedown, and everything started working."

De Soto will be in action again at 2 p.m. Friday at the Eudora Tournament. Saturday's action starts at 9 a.m.

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