Wrestlers reflect on successful year
Team notches first top-10 finish at state
Although Bryan Roddy didn't compete at the state 4A wrestling meet last month, the senior grappler still felt as if he contributed to De Soto's first top-10 finish.
In all, four wrestlers qualified for the state meet for De Soto. But that doesn't mean the other wrestlers didn't affect the team standings in Wichita.
"It was pretty exciting even though I didn't wrestle," Roddy said. "I pushed Alex (Mercer) in practice, and I helped make him a better wrestler because of it. And in turn, that made the team better."
All of the teams that finished ahead of De Soto in the state meet standings qualified at least six team members. Holton was the only top-10 team to take fewer wrestlers than De Soto. The Wildcats scored 50 points and finished 10th with just three athletes at the meet.
De Soto wasn't just a one-meet team in 2004-2005. The Wildcats also finished in the top half of the standings in most of the tournaments they entered, including the Frontier League meet.
The Wildcats finished fifth in a field of 13 with 105 points. At the 4A regionals in Fort Scott, De Soto was sixth out of 15 teams. At the Johnson County Classic in December, De Soto finished sixth out of 18 teams from Johnson County
Roddy said that tougher practices and more conditioning were just two of the factors that went into the successful season. He added that the team found it easy to stay loose as well.
"We were a close group," Roddy said. "We all enjoyed each other and enjoyed practicing together."
Although his junior season didn't end the way he thought it would, Neil Erisman (41-1) turned in stellar performances week after week and nearly tied the state 36-pin single-season record that former Blue Valley North wrestler Tyler McCormick set three years ago.
But the 152-pounder fell short of the record and the state championship when Columbus' Nick Zahm took him down with time running out in the championship match. Leif Goleman placed fourth at the meet, while Mercer was sixth.
Erisman's 35 pins led the Wildcat team this season. Mercer (35-11) was runner-up in pins for the Wildcats with 22 falls. Leif Goleman (33-8) and Adam Faircloth (23-13) pinned 17 and 16 opponents, respectively. Roddy (21-15) was next with 11 pins.
Erisman and Faircloth were neck-in-neck in takedowns this season with 53 and 51, respectively. Mercer added 47 falls to the Wildcat total, while Goleman had 44. Brandon Hurt had 35 takedowns.
Goleman and Faircloth were especially adept at getting out of trouble and turning the tide on their opponents. Goleman had 24 reversals, compared to 20 for Faircloth. Mercer finished with 17 reversals. Roddy and Hurt had 11 and nine reversals.
Goleman led the team in escapes with 21, while Mercer added 19. Roddy contributed 16 get aways. Matt Below (4-20) and Faircloth were good for 15 escapes. Hurt and Jacob Rupe (5-25) were good for 14 escapes apiece.
Erisman scored the most team points for De Soto this season with 179 points. Mercer contributed 135 points, while Goleman and Faircloth tallied 113 and 101 points, respectively.