Wrestling squad set for home tournament
The scores weren't pretty - De Soto lost duals Jan. 31 to Eudora 57-12, and to Anderson County 64-18. Still, Wildcat coach Shannon Sawner said in the wins De Soto was able to collect and in his team's performances in losses, he saw progress.
Sophomore Josh Below, wrestling at 215 pounds, picked up his first varsity win with a pin against his Anderson County opponent. Freshman Brandon Vukas, Cameron Magdaleno and sophomore Sammy Seibolt all picked up wins against Eudora.
"Although the scores don't look it, we wrestled well," Sawner said. "Brandon won one match against Eudora's back up kid at 140 and had Max Hopkins from Anderson County on his back and nearly pinned him at one point before losing by fall in the third period."
The team also won two matches by forfeit against Anderson County.
The double-dual meet marked the team's last regular season action of the season, the Wildcats now focusing on defending their home mats against a fierce Frontier League.
De Soto will play host to the eight-team Frontier League tournament Saturday at the high school, action getting under way at 8:30 a.m.
The league tournament will mark the first of the season's three final wrestling opportunities. The Wildcats will return to Eudora the following Saturday for regionals, where it will again see plenty of Frontier League teams, facing off against current league foes Baldwin, Louisburg, Eudora, Ottawa, Paola and Spring Hill, former league teams Anderson County, Prairie View and Osawatomie, and area powers such as Abilene, Santa Fe Trail and St. James Academy.
De Soto will be wrestling at regionals for a chance to advance to state, and Saturday's league meet should be one heck of a tune-up for regionals.
Sawner said he's looking for aggression on the mats in the season's final weeks.
"I'd rather see them making mistakes being aggressive," the first-year coach said. "We may be trying to do some things sooner than we should, but I'd rather see that than see them be passive, not trying to win a match."
The team, which had only the Jan. 31 duals to break up a two-week window, has been working on the basics, and a little more.
"There's a lot of stuff I have in the bag we haven't been able to show yet," Sawner said last week.