Erisman finishes title sweep
The De Soto wrestling squad worked on the basics Tuesday.
Friday and Saturday Neil Erisman again proved that he's got those down pretty well.
Erisman, one of just two seniors on the team and the only Wildcat with any state tournament experience, won the 171-pound class of the Johnson County Invitational, completing a career sweep of the event for De Soto's most accomplished wrestler.
"He wrestled pretty well," De Soto coach Matt Jones said.
Erisman has had little trouble through the first three weekends of the season and Saturday he finally ran into an opponent he couldn't simply bowl over. After pinning five of his six opponents and defeating the sixth 15-0 at the Eudora Tournament of Champions, Erisman remained undefeated at Johnson County. The finals were close, however.
Erisman defeated Jed Mamie 8-5.
"The guy he beat in the finals was pretty tough," Jones said.
Mamie, a Saint Thomas Aquinas senior, placed third in last year's Class 6A state tournament and offered Erisman some of the toughest resistance to this point in the season.
"He had some better matches, but it was very comparable (to Eudora)," Jones said.
One of the top wrestlers in the state, Erisman has thus far avoided any landmines in his quest for a state title. Jones said the senior's intense nature -- both a blessing and a curse -- is responsible for the fact that no one has caught Erisman off guard or looking ahead.
"It's a good thing and a bad thing," Jones said. "Neil's thing is he wants to go out, he wants to pin them, and he wants to destroy them. Sometimes I have to tell him beating someone 5-3 is still a win."
But don't look for Erisman to take that advice any time soon. Stopped just short in each of his first three runs at a state title Erisman said he's brought new focus to the 2005-06 campaign and now with three weeks to fine tune strength, speed and moves, he said he doesn't plan on letting any competitor catch him by surprise come January.
"I wrestle guys like it's going to be the toughest match of my life," he said last week. "I try to go out there, wrestle hard and work on stuff I don't normally do. I just do whatever it takes to win."