CLEAR LAKE — For the first two years of his career, Eric Faught watched as teammate Ryan Leisure ticked off milestone after milestone for the Clear Lake wrestling program. Now, it’s Faught’s turn.
On Tuesday night in a dual vs. Spencer, Faught reached his first major milestone as he picked up his 100th career victory with a pin in 45 seconds vs. TJ Arnold. The Lions went on to win the dual 49-23.
“I don’t like to leave things up to chance, especially this match; I like to just get it done with,” Faught said. “It’s kind of memorable because I wanted to get it done, it’s something to get out of the way and it’s fun. Something like this, and a state title, you don’t want to mess up on when you have the chance.”
The Lions passed out '100 wins' signs to the Clear Lake fans in attendance, and when Faught recorded the fall, the gym erupted in applause. Faught flexed, gave his coach Mike Lester a high-five and then posed for pictures next to his 100 wins banner.
Faught knew he was nearing the mark, and a little message to his mom helped set up a night he’ll cherish.
“I didn’t really have much planned. I kind of just told my mom after the Battle (of Waterloo), 'Hey by the way, it’ll probably be 100 on Tuesday,’” Faught said.
Up next, he said, is 150.
“The biggest thing with Eric is he’s been a great leader,” Lester said. “Him and I talked, too, how he’s really big into the team this year which is really fun to see when kids talk about that, especially in a leadership position. He’s a very credentialed wrestler and sometimes you see people focus on themselves, but that’s not Eric Faught.”
Faught’s milestone was just a footnote on a good night for the Lions on the mat, which included six pins. It was a pin by Dalton Mennenga that ignited the Lions in a tight dual early.
Mennenga, wrestling at 182 pounds, trailed 2-0 after the first period of his match vs. Adam Freeman, and then scored two takedowns in the second period to tie it up, 4-4. Starting from the down position in the third, Mennenga scored a reversal and then turned Freeman onto his back to notch the thrilling pin in 5 minutes, 42 seconds.
Rhys Glidden added a pin at 152, Kade Hambly continued his strong start to the season with a win by fall at 195, Sam Nelson recorded a pin at 106 and Aaron Canchola had a pin at 120.
The dual victory came after this past weekend’s Battle of Waterloo which saw the Lions record their best ever finish in the tournament.
Lester called the weekend, plus Tuesday’s win, a great way to go into the winter break. The Lions are just happy their dual performances are starting to come around.
“I was not expecting this much enthusiasm this year which is super good and it really just makes everyone, from JV to the best on varsity, it really makes everyone have fun no matter what,” Faught said.