FSHS freshman Laython Biddle remains confident following first loss ahead of substate wrestling
photo by: Courtesy photo
This is a unique feeling for Free State freshman wrestler Laython Biddle, at least during his debut campaign.
For the first time all season, Biddle is coming off a loss when Free State travels to the Wichita Heights substate on Saturday. Biddle was pinned by Derby’s Treyton Rusher in the first-place match of the 160-pound bracket at last week’s regional meet.
After his first loss of the year, Biddle is now 22-1 and ranked No. 5 in Class 6A entering the second-to-last event of the 2020-21 campaign.
“That was one tough loss,” Biddle said. “Kind of hurt myself there at the end (figuratively), but I feel like I can rebound from that pretty easily and keep it going.”
Biddle better hope he can bounce back, because things don’t get any easier with a state berth on the line this weekend. Counting Biddle, four of the top-six wrestlers in the 160-pound weight class in Class 6A will be at the Wichita Heights substate on Saturday.
In the opening round, Biddle will face junior Easton Zapien (11-6) of Liberal. A win could earn Biddle a semifinal matchup with Dodge City senior Marcelino Otero, who is the top-ranked wrestler in the 160-pound weight class with a 31-3 record.
Win or lose, Biddle could end up facing Rusher (32-6, No. 4 in 6A) again or square off with Garden City senior Josh Janas (19-4, No. 2 in 6A) at some point. Both of them are slotted in on the other side of the bracket, with only the top-four wrestlers of each weight class earning a trip to the state wrestling meet.
Yet Biddle believes he learned a lot from his loss to Rusher and is more equipped to handle whatever this weekend throws at him.
“I just took a lot from it,” Biddle said. “I learned that we are dealing with different kind of competition now that we’re going against some better guys. We are going to have to wrestle a little bit harder to win those tough matches like that.”
Specifically, Biddle learned he needs to have more faith in his own moves on the mat.
“I need to trust my finish a little bit more and just escape from bottom,” Biddle said. “Don’t let any legs get in and just keep myself on a good base on my toes and stay fast.”
Growing pains are supposed to be a part of any freshman campaign, but Biddle has put together a breakout season in a weight division that is usually dominated by upperclassmen.
In fact, Biddle is the only freshman at 160 in Saturday’s substate bracket. Six of the other seven wrestlers are either juniors or seniors.
What Biddle lacks in experience, though, he makes up for in confidence. Biddle believes he can beat anyone on the mat, which is something that his own father, Tyson Biddle, taught him going up.
Tyson wrestled at the collegiate level for Missouri Valley, and has been Laython’s primary coach growing up. They watched wrestling together, even when Laython wasn’t competing in the sport.
“(He taught me) just to have confidence out there when you walk out there on the mat,” Biddle said of the main lesson from his father. “Know that you can beat everybody, and at least have that mindset going into it, and just trust your moves (and) trust your conditioning.”
That’s the mindset that Biddle has embraced during his first season wrestling at the high school level.
While it took 23 matches for Biddle to suffer his first loss, his second bout could have easily resulted in a defeat. After earning a 13-second pin in his opening match, Biddle needed overtime to outlast his second opponent.
“It kind of woke me up,” Biddle said of that match. “I realized I have to push. Not every match is going to be a pin. And I have to be able to work in the third (period).”
Biddle has been piling up the wins ever since and now has a shot to qualify for the state meet this weekend.
“I came into the season pretty confident that I was gonna be able to do big things,” Biddle said. “I didn’t see having this much success as part of that plan, but I worked hard all year. It’s paying off now.”
Free State (No. 4 in Class 6A) is sending 12 total wrestlers to substate this weekend, which is slated to begin at 12 p.m. Saturday at Wichita Heights.
Here is a quick look at the remaining 11 FSHS wrestlers and their outlook for their respective bracket:
106-pound weight class: Free State sophomore Nolan Bradley (19-2, No. 3 in 6A) vs. Liberal senior Damein Duran (10-5). There are three other ranked wrestlers in this bracket.
113-pound weight class: FSHS sophomore Eric Streeter (19-3, No. 3 in 6A) vs. Garden City junior Joel Contreras (12-13). There are three other ranked wrestlers in this bracket.
120-pound weight class: FSHS junior Darius Shields (17-1, No. 2 in 6A) vs. Haysville Campus senior Elissio Martinez (23-9). There are two other ranked wrestlers in this bracket.
126-pound weight class: FSHS junior Ezra Birdashaw (16-7) vs. Haysville Campus junior Dylan Sheler (22-11, No. 2 in 6A).
132-pound weight class: FSHS freshman D’onte Goodman (6-11) vs. Dodge City junior Damien Mendez (29-0, No. 1 in 6A).
138-pound weight class: FSHS senior Caleb Streeter (18-3, No. 3 in 6A) vs. Wichita Northwest senior Camden Aldrich (13-6, No. 5 in 6A). All six ranked wrestlers are in this bracket.
170-pound weight class: FSHS sophomore Matthew Marcum (15-4, No. 5 in 6A) vs. Hutchinson senior Christian Rodriguez (17-8). There are three other ranked wrestlers in this bracket.
182-pound weight class: FSHS senior Austin Burenheide (20-4) vs. Liberal senior Tony Rivero (16-2, No. 5 in 6A).
195-pound weight class: FSHS senior Alex Allison (12-6) vs. Haysville Campus junior Barrett Roads (18-7, No. 4 in 6A).
220-pound weight class: FSHS senior Cole Rorick (15-6) vs. Wichita Northwest senior Mason Ross (23-1, No. 1 in 6A).
285-pound weight class: FSHS junior Tai Newhouse (16-1, No. 3 in 6A) vs. Dodge City junior Angel Aguilera (22-6, No. 5 in 6A). All six ranked wrestlers are in this bracket.