Wrestlers third at Burlington meet
Erisman, Goleman lead way with first-place efforts
Neil Erisman and Leif Goleman took similar paths to championships at the Burlington Wrestling Invitational Saturday and led the Wildcats to a third-place finish in the process.
Each wrestler won his respective weight class by pinning his way through the field. Each competed against undefeated wrestlers in his championship match. And both went up against Coffeyville grapplers in their first-place bouts.
About the only differences between the two state tournament hopefuls is that Erisman (22-0), who is ranked No. 1 in the state, wrestles at 152 pounds, while Goleman (15-1) competes in the 171-pound weight class. Erisman needed just three matches to stake his claim to the gold compared to four matches for Goleman.
"Both guys are just wrestling really well right now," De Soto wrestling coach Matt Jones said. "The two Coffeyville kids are very talented athletes."
Four other Wildcat grapplers wrestled their way into championship matches Saturday but failed to win those matches.
Alex Mercer (19-3), the Kansas Wrestling Coaches Association fourth-ranked wrestler at 215 pounds, also scored points for De Soto by fighting his way to a runner-up finish. Mercer fell to West Elk's Cameron Galvan in the finals.
Adam Faircloth had the intimidating task of wrestling against defending champion Kenny Tyler of West Elk in the 140-pound match. Tyler is the top-ranked wrestler at 140 this year in Class 1-2-3A.
Wildcat senior Brandon Hurt battled his way into the 119-pound championship match before succumbing to Rock Creek's Brett Swoyer, 1-2-3A's fifth-ranked grappler.
At 275 pounds, Bryan Roddy scrapped his way through the brackets until he ran into Prairie View's Darrell Kimzey, the fourth-ranked wrestler in 4A this year.
Other Wildcat wrestlers to earn top six medals were Jacob Rupe, sixth at 125 and Aaron Hansen, fifth at 145.
Matt Below forged a 1-2 mark at 189 at the tournament. Nick Hurt was 0-2 at 130 and Tim Hamilton was 0-2 at 160.
Hurt and Hamilton notched their first varsity action at the event.
"Both were very aggressive and competed during their matches," Jones said. "That's all we ask -- that they work hard and you go out there and compete."
Jones said the tournament was good for the entire team because it gave everybody on the team an opportunity to go out and get a win.
Burlington placed two grapplers on the top of the medal stand en route to the team championship at the 12-team tournament. The Burlington Wildcats edged out Coffeyville 174-173. De Soto scored 161 points to claim a top-three finish for the second year in a row.
The Wildcats were a combined 19-15 as a team at the tournament.
De Soto will compete in the two-day Bobcat Classic Friday and Saturday at Basehor-Linwood. Wrestling begins at noon Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.