While the close team races were expected, a close call Thursday by a three-time champion was not.
But Omaha Burke’s James Burks made it to Friday night’s semifinal at CHI Health Center.
The two-time All-Nebraska running back, one of two wrestlers going for his fourth state title this weekend, held on for a 9-8 decision over Bellevue West sophomore Jack McDonnell at 160 pounds.
Burks took a forehead to his face, bloodying his nose, in the first period when he and McDonnell tried to shoot at the same time. He needed an injury timeout.
Trailing 6-1 entering the third period, McDonnell got three takedowns against two escapes by Burks to close to 8-7. Burks escaped with 26 seconds left then each got a point at the 22-second mark — a stalling point on McDonnell and a penalty point against Burks.
Burks is bidding to be the Bulldogs’ first four-time champion and the 10th from Class A. Now 58-0 this season, the Northern State wrestling recruit improved his state-record career win total to 214.
Pleasanton’s Tyler Pawloski made quick work of his two Class D opponents at 132. He’s the other wrestler bidding for a fourth title.
The semifinals begin at 5 p.m., but action starts at 9:30 a.m. with two rounds of wrestlebacks — Classes A and D first, followed by Classes B and C around 12:30 p.m.
Going into Friday, Columbus in Class A, Hastings in Class B, Broken Bow in Class C and Fremont Bergan in Class D were in the lead. Each a fresh face.
Columbus last won state in 1984 and Hastings in 1988, when the latter was in Class A. Broken Bow and Bergan never have won individual wrestling titles, though Broken Bow won the Class C duals title earlier this month.
Columbus scored 77 points through the quarterfinals to lead Millard South by 4.5 points, with Metro Conference champion Burke in third with 67. Lincoln East and Kearney round out the top five entering Friday.
Columbus put seven into the semifinals — Tanner Kobza at 120, Carter Kucera at 132, Avery McMeekin at 160, Blayze Standley at 171, Carson Zwingman at 182, Anthony DeAnda at 195 and Karson Grape at 220.
Millard South, Burke and Lincoln East have six semifinalists apiece. Kearney has four.
Hastings broke in front in Class B, which lacks a dominant team as seven-time defending champion Omaha Skutt qualified five for state.
The Tigers lead Skutt 46-40 but have three in the semifinals to the SkyHawks’ four. So their wrestlebacks will factor greatly in whether they can prevail Saturday. Others in contention include Columbus Lakeview with 35 points and Sidney with 34 1⁄2.
Broken Bow, which has had four individual champions in the past 53 years, went 6 of 9 in quarterfinals to lead two-time defending champion Valentine 68-53. David City, the champion in 2014 and 2016, was in third with 49.5. Both Valentine and David City have five semifinalists.
In Class D, Fremont Bergan led Plainview by a half-point, 52.5-52. Among the leader’s five semifinalists is 120-pound Zach Hamilton, who won last year at 113. Plainview also has five in the semifinals.
Nebraska state wrestling semifinals to watch
106 pounds — Caleb Coyle, Millard South (50-5), vs. Juan Pedro, Grand Island (36-12): A win for Coyle could be an emotional springboard for the Patriots in their title pursuit.
126 — Cam Russell, Millard West (33-5), vs. Cody Niemiec, Papio (43-6): With Fremont’s Cody Carlson upsetting top-ranked Conor Knopick of Millard South in the quarterfinals, the gate is open for No. 2 Niemiec and No. 3 Russell.
152 — Chance Fry, Lincoln East (30-0), vs. Deson Stapleton, Omaha Burke (44-9): No. 3 Stapleton got to this showdown with the top-ranked wrestler after rallying from a 7-2 deficit in the quarterfinals.
160 — Nolan Johnson, Omaha Westside (45-7), vs. James Burks, Omaha Burke (58-0): Burks worked for a 5-3 win against Johnson at the Omaha Creighton Prep Invitational. He barely got out of the quarterfinals, winning 9-8 over Bellevue West’s Jack McDonnell, in his pursuit to be Class A’s 10th four-time champion.
182 — Andrew Mutherspaugh, Lincoln East (9-0), vs. Isaac Trumble, Millard South (54-0): A 1-vs.-2 tussle, with Mutherspaugh trying to take down No. 1 Trumble and return to the Parade of Champions. Mutherspaugh missed most of the season with a shoulder injury from football.
132 — Izaak Hunsley, Hastings (41-6) vs. Jerryd Hernandez, Scottsbluff (18-7): Hernandez, who missed part of the season, is ranked first and Hunsley second.
138 — Mason Brumbaugh, Hastings (42-7), vs. Nicholas Stoltenberg, Omaha Skutt (33-1): Only semifinal between the two leading team contenders. Stoltenberg is looking for a second title.
285 — Trevor Brown, Waverly (47-2), vs. Noah Stafursky, York (38-2): Brown is a good-looking freshman with a high upside in football. Stafursky is a Husker recruited walk-on lineman.
120 — Spencer Gaffney, Broken Bow (43-6), vs. Caydon McCracken, Battle Creek (47-2): McCracken heads the Huskermat ratings and Gaffney is second.
138 — Evan Waddington, Wood River (52-1), vs. Jefferson McNeill, Oakland-Craig (43-4): Top-ranked, Waddington is a win away from his fourth walk in the Parade of Champions. He was runner-up as a freshman and sophomore before winning this weight class last year.
170 — Zach Borer, North Bend (47-0), vs. Lane McGinley, Valentine (31-6): Borer, ranked first, is trying to get back to the finals for the first time since he won as a freshman. He’s in the 200-win club.
285 — Drew Drake, Broken Bow (45-5) vs. Riley Moses, Fillmore Central (42-2): Could be key for Broken Bow in team race, but Drake is going against a Husker walk-on who’s a pin machine.
113 — Scout Ashburn, Plainview (42-5), vs. Caden Arps, Fremont Bergan (40-3): They make it guaranteed a freshman from this class will be wrestling Saturday to start the march to four titles. It’s also a big match in what has been a tight team race.
126 — Quentyn Frank, Amherst (42-3), vs. Keegan Casey, Thayer Central (34-5): Frank, a freshman, is first and Casey, a senior, second in the rankings.
132 — Damian Stewart, Thayer Central (30-12), vs. Tyler Pawloski, Pleasanton (25-0): Ranked No. 4, Stewart will be trying to fell one of the giants of this meet. Pawloski is going for his fourth title.
160 — Joshua McFarland, Elkhorn Valley (44-1), vs. Dylan Soule, High Plains (41-9): No. 2 McFarland was last year’s 145-pound winner.
285 — Marcus Cave, Weeping Water, (55-3), vs. Jakob Jerabek, Arcadia/Loup City (44-0): The top-ranked Jerabek was last year’s Class C runner-up at 285.
Class A: With seven semifinalists, Columbus takes lead in search of first state title in 35 years
Robes will be the Class A dress code in Friday night’s state semifinals.
Fifth-ranked Columbus qualified a class-high seven to take an opening-day lead in the team race Thursday.
The Discoverers, who again sported their traditional maroon robes at state, won nine of 13 opening-round matches and followed with a 7-2 quarterfinal round.
“Half our team is in the state semifinals,” Columbus coach Adam Keiswetter said. “That’s pretty awesome.”
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Tanner Kobza (120 pounds), Carter Kucera (132), Avery McMeekin (160), Blayze Standley (170), Carson Zwingman (182), Anthony Deanda (195) and Kasten Grape (220) are the semifinalists for Columbus.
They helped push the Discoverers to the top spot in Class A at the end of the first two rounds, 4 1⁄2 points ahead of top-ranked Millard South and 10 points in front of No. 2 Omaha Burke.
“You always want to win every match, obviously, but overall a pretty good performance,” Keiswetter said. “We’ve got a good crew. We’re well- balanced, the entire lineup. We don’t have any holes. That’s kind of been our thing all year.”
Five of the seven semifinalists earned bonus points in both wins, a number that was padded by two pins each from McMeekin, Zwingman and Grape.
Zwingman’s falls came in a combined 67 seconds.
“One of them I didn’t even see him wrestle,” Keiswetter said.
They nearly had a bigger lead — and a major upset — but senior Cade Fullner lost a 7-2 lead and was pinned by second-ranked Deson Stapleton at 152 pounds.
Columbus hasn’t finished in the top two at state since 2001 — its only such showing since 1989 — and hasn’t won a state team title in 35 years.
They have plenty of work ahead to end either of those droughts, though.
Millard South and Burke each put six into the semifinals.
The Discoverers have uphill battles in three of their Friday night draws, matching up against top-ranked opponents at 120, 132 and 170.
Defending Class A champion Lincoln East, ranked third, finished Thursday in fourth place, 12 points back of Columbus. The Spartans also pushed six through to the semifinals, including a trio of top-ranked wrestlers.
Team scoring: Columbus 77, Millard South 72.5, Omaha Burke 67, Lincoln East 65, 5Kearney 58, Grand Island 38, Papillion-La Vista 38, Omaha Central 36, Papillion-La Vista South 30.5, Bellevue East 23, Norfolk 21, Millard West 20.5, Gretna 20, Omaha Westside 18, Creighton Prep 17, Omaha Bryan 17, Lincoln High 14, Lincoln Northeast 13, Fremont 11, South Sioux City 11, Bellevue West 8, Lincoln Southeast 7, Elkhorn South 6, Millard North 6, Omaha Northwest 6, Lincoln North Star 3, Omaha Benson 3, Elkhorn 2, Lincoln Pius X 0, Lincoln Southwest 0, Omaha North 0, Omaha South 0
106 pounds: Caleb Coyle, Millard South, dec. Archer Heelan, Kearney. Juan Pedro Jr., Grand Island, dec. Nathan Rubino, Burke. Brandon Baustert, Lincoln East, major dec. Roy Ashburn, Northwest. Gabe Grice, Bellevue East, dec. Caine Stenger, Columbus, 16-4. 113: Blake Cushing, Grand Island, pinned Ethan Batterton, LSE. Garrett Grice, Bellevue East, pinned Quentin Donald, Benson, 4:55. Emilio Haynes, Central, major dec. Blake Jackson, Millard South, 10-0. Hunter Nagatani, Kearney, pinned Clay Cerny, Columbus, 5:09) 120: Nathan Rizek, Lincoln East, dec. Ian Rudner, Papio, 11-6. Peyton Martinez, South Sioux City, pinned Solomon Allerheiligen, Millard North, 2:57. Jakason Burks, Burke, major dec. Rylie Steele, Kearney, 13-4. Tanner Kobza, Columbus, dec. Weston Godfrey, Norfolk, 7-2. 126: Cody Carlson, Fremont, pinned Conor Knopick, Millard South, 3:46. Ladamien Sturdivant, Bryan, pinned Daniel Schuman, Elkhorn South, :55. Camden Russell, Millard West, 33-5 pinned Aaron Dittmer, Norfolk, :58. Cody Niemiec, Papio, dec. Daniel Derosier, Bellevue East, 4-2. 132: Carter Kucera, Columbus, major dec. Jeromy Nielsen, Burke, 11-2. Phillip Moomey, Kearney, pinned Abdi Mohamed, Bryan, 3:26. Nolan Niemiec, Papio, dec. Kolby Lukasiewicz, Grand Island, 5-1. Antrell Taylor, Millard South, pinned Breckin Sperling, Lincoln East, 1:49. 138: Blaine Miller, Burke, major dec. Jackson Okereke, Lincoln High, 16-5. Maxx Mayfield, Lincoln East, tech. fall over Peyton Meink, Millard North, 16-1. Preston Mort, Lincoln NE, pinned Tyler Salpas, Grand Island, 5:32. Tyler Antoniak, Millard South, dec. Gauge Mcbride, Kearney, 6-2. 145: Nick James, Kearney, 44-2 major dec. Caleb Connor, Papio South, 8-0. Trey Nielsen, Burke, major dec. Blake Smith, Millard South, 11-1. Deon Davis, Central, pinned Kaw doh Htoo, Northwest, 1:49. Levi May, Millard West, dec. Creighton Baughman, Papio, 8-7. 152: Chance Fry, Lincoln East, pinned Justin Davis, Central, 1:05. Deson Stapleton, Burke, dec. Joshua Licking, Norfolk, 9-8. Alex Irizarry, Papio South, pinned Colten Kowalek, Kearney, 4:21. Cole Price, Papio, dec. Ethan Valencia, Millard West, 10-4. 160: Nolan Johnston, Westside, dec. Liam Kirk, Elkhorn South, 8-1. James Burks, Burke, dec. Jack Mcdonnell, Bellevue West, 9-8. Carter Abels, Kearney, pinned Brogan Zegers, Lincoln SE, 2:41. Avery Mcmeekin, Columbus, pinned Cade Schendt, Papio South, 1:53. 170: Kale Dawson, Bellevue West, dec. (sudden victory) Blake Forsythe, 5-3. Cole Huss, Gretna, pinned Krew Tran, Millard South, 3:24. Blayze Standley, Columbus, dec. Gus Franzen, Kearney, 8-3. Isaiah Alford, Lincoln High, major dec. Grant Lyman, Lincoln East, 11-3. 182: Andrew Muthersbaugh, Lincoln East, pinned Carson Maas, Papio, 4:39. Isaac Trumble, Millard South, pinned Cedric Relford, Elkhorn, 1:48. Trajen Linear, Papio South, dec. Jack Larchick, Gretna, 14-11. Carson Zwingman, Columbus, pinned Oscar Richter, Grand Island, :32. 195: Dillyn Miller, Burke, pinned Anthony Stege, Lincoln NE, 1:37. Josh Trumble, Millard South, dec. Daylon Keolavone, Grand Island, 3-2. Anthony Deanda, Columbus, major dec. Jacob Hilding, Central, 9-1. TJ Huber, Gretna, dec. (sudden victory) Easton Waller, Lincoln NS, 3-1. 220: Kasten Grape, Columbus, pinned Luis Quezada, South Sioux City, 1:44. Chris Karmazin, Lincoln East, dec. (sudden victory) Trevin Escamilla, Fremont, 3-1. Tony Pray, Creighton Prep, won in tiebreaker Jaylon Walker, Bryan, 5-3. Gavin Peitzmeier, Millard South, pinned Tyler Robinson, Papio South, :51. 285: Conner Cowling, Norfolk, pinned Tavion Samuel, Bryan, :32. Jack Hasz, Creighton Prep, pinned Peyton Spencer, Lincoln NE, 5:14. Jacob Frezell-McClinton, Central, dec. Ethan Mcphillips, Grand Island, 5-3. Cade Haberman, Westside, dec. Deangelo Stapleton, Burke, 7-3.
Class B: Hastings tries to take title away from Skutt for first team win since 1998
A Class B team race that’s quickly turned into a numbers game may have finished Thursday with more questions than answers.
Top-ranked Hastings took a first-day lead, but pushed only three of their eight quarterfinalists through to Friday’s semifinal.
“We knew we had some tough draws in the second round,” Hastings coach Brian Laux said. “We’re going to need them to respond tomorrow.”
That’s because there’s a dynasty in the rearview mirror.
Fourth-ranked Omaha Skutt, which has won 20 of the past 21 Class B team titles, put four of its five qualifiers into the semifinals.
“It’s not surprising to me,” Laux said. “They still have bullets.”
Laux’s group ran out to an early lead, but only Izaak Hunsley (132 pounds), Mason Brumbaugh (138) and Damen Pape (170) scored wins in the quarterfinals.
Hunsley and Pape combined for three pins and a major decision.
Skutt, meanwhile, got bonus points in seven of its eight wins Thursday, including five pins. They’ll have semifinalists in Zach Ourada (106), Caleb Lazure (126), Nick Stoltenberg (138) and Eli Jansen (182).
The SkyHawks will need a big semifinal round — where point values nearly double — to make up for any points that Hastings will accrue during Friday’s wrestlebacks. Hastings have six more wrestlers than Skutt in the consolation rounds.
The Tigers are looking for their first state team title since 1998.
While Laux liked the way his team wrestled for most of Thursday, he understands that wrestling a Class B team title from a program like Skutt isn’t done on opening day.
“Day 3 can look a heck of a lot different than Day 1,” he said. “We know it’s going to get more difficult.”
Fifth-ranked Columbus Lakeview finished Thursday in third place with Sidney and Lexington rounding out the top five.
Hastings 46, Omaha Skutt 40, Columbus Lakeview 35, Sidney 34.5, Lexington 30, North Platte 29, Scottsbluff 29, York 29, Wahoo 28, Cozad 26.5, GI Northwest 26, Blair 24.5, Waverly 24, Plattsmouth 23, Chadron 20, Aurora 19, Gering 19, Beatrice 18, Schuyler 16, Norris 13, Raymond Central 12, Adams Central 11, Fairbury 11, Ralston 11, Seward 11, Alliance 10, Auburn 10, Bennington 9, Gothenburg 9, McCook 9, Boys Town 7, Crete 7, Central City 6, Ogallala 6, Wayne 5, Holdrege 4, O’Neill 3, West Point-Beemer 1, Columbus Scotus 0, Conestoga 0, Falls City 0, Elkhorn Mt. Michael 0, Nebraska City 0, Omaha Concordia 0, Omaha Gross 0.
106 pounds: Zach Ourada,Skutt, dec. Ivan Lazo, Lexington, 6-3. Grady Arends, GI Northwest, dec. Austin Munier, Sidney, 13-10. Quinton Chavez, Gering, major dec. Ty Rainforth, O`Neill, 13-5. Caden Svoboda, Aurora, dec. Luke Bailey, Blair, 10-3. 113: Paul Garcia, Scottsbluff, major dec. Mitch Albrecht, Raymond Central, 14-6. Jaylan Ruffin, North Platte, dec. Thomas Ivey, York, 3-2. Tanner York, Beatrice, dec. Tristen Obermiller, Adams Central, 7-0. Jace Russman, Cozad, dec. Landon Zeckser, Hastings, 4-1. 120: Paul Ruff, Alliance, tech. fall Reece Jaqua, Wayne, 16-1. Jackson Nielsen, Blair, tech. fall Dylan Miller, Hastings, 24-9. Drew Arnold, Beatrice, pinned Dyson Kunz, Central City, 2:18. William Lomax, Boys Town, dec. Ean Bailey, Lexington, 10-5. 126: Caleb Lazure, Skutt, major dec. Kevin Price, Scottsbluff, 11-0. Nate Rocheleau, Gering, dec. Collin Quandt, GI Northwest, 11-6. Darian Diaz, North Platte, dec. Trevor Reinke, Beatrice, 1-0. Gage Perry, Columbus Lakeview, pinned Bryce Brown, Hastings, 5:34. 132: Brady Fago, Lexington, dec. Trevor Kluck, Aurora, 8-4. Wyatt Hotz, Gothenburg, dec. Noah Talmadge, Ralston, 10-3. Izaak Hunsley, Hastings, major dec. Gage Stokey, Ogallala, 10-0. Jerryd Hernandez, Scottsbluff, pinned Sean Martin, Seward, 0:55. 138: Joel Lemburg, Columbus Lakeview, dec. Juan Vergara, Wayne, 6-5. Trey Arellano, Sidney, tech. Fall John Karpov, Raymond Central, 20-5. Mason Brumbaugh, Hastings, dec. Miguel Roman, Schuyler, 6-5. Nicholas Stoltenberg, Skutt, pinned Cameron Kort, Adams Central, 1:32. 145: Devontae Gutierrez, Scottsbluff, dec. Seth Wonch, Aurora, 2-1. Brody Raines, Sidney, pinned Owen Friesen, GI Northwest, 5:54. Kole Ligouri, Auburn, pinned Cameron Zink, Ogallala, 0:57. Trystan Berry, Lexington, dec. Easton Albrecht, Raymond Central, 14-9. 152: Kaleb Canoyer, Waverly, dec. Blake Hoffmaster, Cozad, 10-4. Carson Core, Seward, dec. Carter Pursley, Aurora, 5-3. Harrison Gocke, York, major dec. Raymond Loftis, West Point-Beemer, 11-2. KC Higer, Sidney, dec. Zane Bennett, Wahoo, 9-5. 160: Zeth Gerkensmeyer, Columbus Lakeview, dec. Cash Arensdorf, North Platte, 11-4. Jake Lemmon, Chadron, major dec. Sam Moore, Central City, 10-0. Riley Kopf, Lexington, dec. Caden Yrkoski, Schuyler, 5-3. Gabriel James, Ralston, dec. Brady Robb, Sidney, 7-6. 170: Evan Canoyer, Waverly, dec. Zachary Serna, Norris, 9-2. Ace York, Fairbury, dec. Conner Wescoat, Cozad, SV-1 6-4. Damen Pape, Hastings, pinned Brock Skinner, Ogallala, 1:18. Gavyn Brauer, North Platte, pinned Jayden Wooten, Plattsmouth, 5:55. 182: Alec Langan, McCook, dec. Kole Bordovsky, Wahoo, 9-5. Eli Jansen, Skutt, major dec. Kolton Johnson, Crete, 11-3. Jacob Frenzen, Columbus Lakeview, dec. over Kobe Lyons, York, 3-0. Clark Riesen, Chadron, pinned Seth Firmanik, Fairbury, 1:29. 195:Grady Griess, GI Northwest, pinned Evan Morara, Hastings, 1:54. Conner Brown, Adams Central, dec. Cody Lomax, Crete, 12-7. Sam Kolterman, Wahoo, pinned Brayan Rodriguez, York, 2:41. Dylan Meyer, Norris, dec. Drake Rader, Plattsmouth, SV-1 4-2. 220: Jesus Maganda, Schuyler, dec. Blake Davis, Hastings, 3-2. Garett Menke, Bennington, major dec. Trent Weak, Holdrege, 20-6. Gabe Rand, Blair, dec. Colin Giron, McCook, 10-7. Devin Pfeifer, Plattsmouth, pinned Douglas Lazo, York, 3:05. 285:Trevor Brown, Waverly, dec. Trevor Nielsen, Plattsmouth, 10-3. Noah Stafursky, York, dec. Jade Wurth, Lexington, UTB 4-3. Josh Stallbaumer, Cozad, pinned Brady Soukup, Blair, 1:33. Jack Sutton, Wahoo, pinned Nouredin Nouili, Norris, 1:05.
Class C: After winning all eight first-round matches, Valentine’s Day belongs to Broken Bow
Thursday may have been Valentine’s Day, but Broken Bow made sure it wasn’t Valentine’s day.
The Class C No. 2 Indians won all eight first-round matches and followed that with six quarterfinal victories to take a first-day lead.
They lead top-ranked Valentine by 15 points and have one more semifinalist than the Badgers.
“We knew we could wrestle with any of these guys,” Broken Bow coach Eddie Schaaf said. “We went out and wrestled well. We wrestled tough.”
His team will have semifinalists in Spencer Gaffney (120 pounds), Casey Faulkenberry (126), Cole Ulmer (152), Lathan Duda (170), Colton Duda (195) and Drew Drake (285).
Gaffney, Faulkenberry, Ulmer and Drake each won both matches with bonus points.
Schaaf said the Indians could enjoy Thursday’s lead, but said there’s plenty of work left ahead.
“We can be happy, but we need to understand that we need to keep wrestling,” he said. “We’ve got to come out and wrestle tomorrow. We come out and have a great semifinals and we could put ourselves in a really good position.”
Point values nearly double across the board in Friday’s semifinal round, making wins there all that more important in a team race.
“The semifinal round is where things can really change,” Schaaf said. “Big points there.”
Valentine, the three-time defending Class C champion, won seven of its nine first-round matches then went 5-2 in the quarterfinal round.
The two teams have no head-to-head semifinals.
Broken Bow has never finished in the top three at the state tournament.
Third-ranked David City finished Thursday in third place and will take five to the semifinals.
Broken Bow 68, Valentine 53, David City 49.5, Battle Creek 40.5, Arlington 36, David City Aquinas 35, Pierce 29, Milford 28, Wood River 27, Malcolm 26, Logan View 22, Boone Central/Newman Grove 21, Kearney Catholic 16, Perkins County 15, Ravenna 15, Norfolk Catholic 13, Centennial 12, Hemingford 12, Sutton 11.5, Bridgeport 11, Centura 11, Gibbon 11, North Bend 11, Oakland-Craig 11, Winnebago 11, Wahoo Neumann 9, Cambridge 9, Fillmore Central 9, Tekamah-Herman 9, Chase County 8, Hershey 6, Ord 6, Stanton 6, Syracuse 6, Johnson County 5, Hartington Cedar Catholic 4, HTRS 4, Lincoln Christian 4, Shelby-Rising City 4, Twin River 4, Loomis/Bertrand 3, Wakefield-Allen 3, Gordon-Rushville 2, Kimball 2, St. Paul 2, BRLD 0, Cross County/Osceola 0, Doniphan-Trumbull 0, Freeman 0, Madison 0, Minden 0, Mitchell 0, South Central 0, Southern Valley 0, Wilber-Clatonia 0, Yutan 0, Louisville minus-1, Ponca minus-1.
106 pounds: Brock Bolling, Pierce, dec. Wyatt Schoepf, Centennial, 9-5. Dylan Ancheta, Wood River, dec. Hunter Vandenberg, DC Aquinas, 6-4 TB-1. Casey Benavides, Bridgeport, dec. Julio Reyes, Johnson County, 6-0. Konner Schluckebier, Milford, pinned Jose Escandon, Gibbon, 2:59. 113:Chris Williams, Valentine, pinned Spencer Bridgmon, Syracuse, 1:01. Carson Thompson, Wood River, dec. Matt Bruns, Hershey, 8-6 SV-1. Dru Mueller, Logan View, major dec. Jordan Cluff, Kimball, 14-4. Zach Zitek, DC Aquinas, pinned Jacob Hilmer, Loomis/Bertrand, 4:25. 120: Spencer Gaffney, Broken Bow, pinned Wyatt Schmit, HTRS, 2:31. Caydon McCracken, Battle Creek, pinned Will Grape, Boone Central-Newman Grove, 4:18. Ryan Zoucha, Malcolm, dec. Zak Hansen, Stanton, 4-0. Hunter Gilmore, Arlington, dec. Tobin Olson, Valentine, 3-0. 126:Brandon Schram, Tekamah-Herman, dec. Ethan Zegers, Milford, 7-4. Justin Davis, Hemingford, pinned Lee Carlson, Sutton, 4:37. Casey Faulkenberry, Broken Bow, pinned Martin Valencia, Logan View, 1:55. Daniel Escandon, Gibbon, dec. Cameron Schrad, DC Aquinas, 6-2. 132: Jacson Valentine, David City, major dec. Jadden Treffer, Ravenna, 15-7. Gage Krolikowski, Valentine, pinned Owen Lade, Battle Creek, 3:10. Jeaven Scdoris, Milford, dec. Hunter McNulty, Logan View, 8-6. Christopher Feldner, Kearney Catholic, pinned Christopher Nickolite, DC Aquinas, :34. 138:Evan Waddington, Wood River, pinned Sam Copley, Milford, 3:10. Jefferson McNeill, Oakland-Craig, dec. Morgan McGinley, Valentine, 8-3. Wyatt Smydra, Norfolk Catholic, pinned Jaxson Jones, Twin River, 3:40. Damien Kersten, Battle Creek, tech. fall over Trevor Widener, Bridgeport, 20-5. 145: Chase Olson, Valentine, dec. Mason Schleis, Shelby-Rising City, 6-2. Joseph Hinrichs, Sutton, dec. Max Hohn, Wahoo Neumann, 5-4. Justin White, David City, tech. fall Zach Rogers, Kearney Catholic, 18-2. Josh Miller, Arlington, dec. Turner Korth, Hartington Cedar Catholic, 9-3. 152: Cole Ulmer, Broken Bow, pinned Grant Lindsley, Shelby-Rising City, 2:32. Ty Heimes, Battle Creek, pinned Nolan Eller, DC Aquinas, 3:46. Noah Styskal, David City, major dec. Ethan Koch, Hartington Cedar Catholic, 16-6. Kile Bentley, Centura, pinned Isaac Verzani, Wakefield-Allen, 2:29. 160: Brett Tinker, Pierce, dec. Isaiah Borgmann, Stanton, 7-4. Dylan Vodicka, David City, pinned Conner Halverson, Gordon-Rushville, 4:34. Caleb Long, Valentine, dec. Brady Hull, Logan View, 7-0. Ethan Dozler, Boone Central-Newman Grove, pinned Colten Ballentine, Hershey, 3:17. 170: Alex Chapa, Ravenna, inj. default over Blake Moore, Tekamah-Herman. Lathan Duda, Broken Bow, dec. Burton Brandt, Syracuse, 8-4. Zach Borer, North Bend, pinned Trevor Peterson, Chase County, 1:08. Lane McGinley, Valentine, dec. Dylan Zoucha, Malcolm, 5-3. 182: Kobe Wilkins, Arlington, dec. Jesse Ulrich, Ord, 6-5. Luke Fairbanks, Wahoo Neumann, dec. Hunter Schwaninger, Lincoln Christian, 7-3. Drew Sprinkle, Cambridge, dec. Spencer Allen, David City, 8-3. Joseph Reimers, DC Aquinas, tech. fall Treyvon Brooks, Broken Bow, 19-4. 195: Colton Duda, Broken Bow, pinned Nolan Schultz, DC Aquinas, 5:08. Beau Wood, Perkins County, pinned Joey Otero, Norfolk Catholic, 3:23. Ryder Fuchs, Pierce, pinned Evan Fisher, Chase County, 1:21. Haydn Deinert, Malcolm, dec. Matthew Feldner, Kearney Catholic, 9-3. 220: Jon Merten, Boone Central-Newman Grove, major dec. Nathan Scheer, St. Paul, 14-5. Austin Marx, Battle Creek, pinned Cade Payne, Hemingford, 5:55. Remington Gay, Arlington, pinned Josh Bailey, Johnson County, 5:55. Kalten Bauers, Centennial, pinned Keifer Anderson, Broken Bow, :37. 285: Prosper Gilpin, Winnebago, pinned CJ Hoevet, Ord, :47. Jake Ingwersen, David City, dec. Emillio Perez, Perkins County, 5-4. Drew Drake, Broken Bow, pinned Kale Nordmeyer, Malcolm, 1:32. Riley Moses, Fillmore Central, dec. Justyn Hale, Oakland-Craig, 4-2 TB-1.
Class D: Seeking first top three finish, Fremont Bergan sends five to semifinals
Day 1 at the state tournament finished with Fremont Bergan in pretty heady territory.
Alone on top.
The second-ranked Knights put five of their eight qualifiers through to the semifinals, taking a lead in the Class D team race after the opening two rounds Thursday.
“It’s a nice place to be,” Bergan coach Curtis Marolf said.
Top-ranked Plainview finished a half-point behind, with No. 3 Amherst within striking distance.
Caden Arps (113 pounds), Zach Hamilton (120), Jacob Johnson (145), Ethan Villwok (182) and Peyton Cone (220) each had a pair of wins for Bergan to advance into Friday night’s semifinals. Four of the five registered bonus points in both victories.
“Those points are going to help us,” Marolf said. “We can’t get ahead ourselves, though. (Friday) is going to be a big moment with all the lights. We’ve got to stick to that process.”
That starts, Marolf said, with the three wrestlers not in the semifinals doing their part in the wrestleback rounds.
“Those are big points on the backside,” he said. “We’ve got to take it one point at a time.”
Three of Bergan’s semifinal matchups are against the two teams directly behind it in the team race. Second-ranked Arps will meet No. 4 Scout Ashburn of Plainview, second-ranked Johnson draws No. 3 Sam Florell of Amherst and Hamilton will square off with Amherst’s Isaiah Shields in a battle of the top two in the 120-pound ratings.
Plainview will have five in the semifinals with Amherst pushing four through.
“We can’t make any of those any bigger than they are,” Marolf said. “They’re wrestling matches.”
Bergan has never had a top-three team finish at the state tournament.
Elkhorn Valley finished Thursday in fourth place, with Central Valley rounding out the top five.
Team scoring: Fremont Bergan 52.5, Plainview 52, Amherst 46.5, Elkhorn Valley 33, Central Valley 29, Thayer Central 26, Clearwater-Orchard 22, High Plains 22, Howells-Dodge 22, Neligh-Oakdale 21, Burwell 20, Mullen 19, Randolph 17, Weeping Water 17, Winside 17, North Central 16, Maxwell 15, Morrill 14, Sutherland 13, Arcadia-Loup City 11, Bayard 11, Overton 11, Pleasanton 11, Stapleton 11, Twin Loup 11, Friend 10, Brady 9, Elwood 9, Franklin 9, Fullerton 9, Shelton 9, Wisner-Pilger 9, Creighton 8.5, Palmer 8.5, Hitchcock County 8, Southwest 7, West Holt 7, Garden County 6, Medicine Valley 6, North Platte St. Patrick’s 6, Alma 4, Ansley-Litchfield 4, Axtell 4, Harvard 4, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge 4, Nebraska Christian 4, Tri County 4, Ainsworth 3, Anselmo-Merna 2, Dundy County-Stratton 2, Hay Springs 2, Sandhills/Thedford 2, Arapahoe 0, Clarkson-Leigh 0, Crawford 0.
106 pounds: Hunter Bennett, Elkhorn Valley, pinned Landon Klasna, NPSP, 4:18. Logan Russell, High Plains, pinned Ashton Sinn, Thayer Central, 2:26. Eli Lanham, Plainview, dec. Samuel Foster, Sutherland, 7-0. Jesse Sauceda, Shelton, dec. Dalton Hansen, Harvard, 5-1. 113: Teven Marshall, Mullen, dec. Brenner Mclaughlin, Thayer Central, 9-5. Cameron Wilkinson, Neligh-Oakdale, major dec. Cayden Ellis, Winside, 10-1. Scout Ashburn, Plainview, pinned Brock Kester, Neligh-Oakdale, 7:28. Caden Arps, Fremont Bergan, major dec. Nathaniel Murillo, Morrill, 15-3. 120: Jeremy Larson, Brady, dec. Cyrus Wells, Anselmo-Merna, 9-4. Shaye Wood, Central Valley, pinned Koby Ellis, Winside, 5:57. Isaiah Shields, Amherst, pinned Tyler Nagel, Morrill, 3:58. Zach Hamilton, Fremont Bergan, pinned Brenden Warman, DCS, 3:33. 126: Ruger Reimers, Palmer, dec. Coy Gideon, Burwell, 6-0. Nate Christensen, Plainview, major dec. Cal Janke, Fremont Bergan, 14-3. Quentyn Frank, Amherst, pinned Joel Priest, Hitchcock County, 1:54. Keegan Casey, Thayer Central, dec. Nolan Blevins, Weeping Water, 11-7. 132: Trigger Pokorny, Central Valley, pinned Dustin Klingsporn, Axtell, 5:44. Andrew Herley, Neligh-Oakdale, pinned Brady Gracey, Mullen, 1:14. Damian Stewart, Thayer Central, pinned Jared Shaw, North Central, 3:33. Tyler Pawloski, Pleasanton, pinned Clay Church, High Plains, 39-15, 1:19. 138: Cole Laible, West Holt, dec. Levi Lewis, North Central, 3-2. Joel Ostrom, Burwell, dec. Jade Lovitt, Mullen, 4-0. Connor Sonderup, Fullerton, dec. Art Escalante, Winside, 16-11. Enrique Martinez, Central Valley, pinned Brett Tryon, Southwest, 1:41. 145: Brett Riggs, Maxwell, pinned Alex Schmit, Randolph, 1:04. Will Gunning, Plainview, dec. Oren Pozehl, Ainsworth, 6-4. Samuel Florell, Amherst, dec. Kaden Guerrero, Southwest, 14-8. Jacob Johnson, Fremont Bergan, tech. fall Colton Holthus, Garden County, 17-2. 152: Austin Garcia, Morrill, major dec. Trace Ebert, North Central, 12-1. Colby Coons, Twin Loup, pinned Blake Racicky, Ansley-Litchfield, 3:43. Conner Schutz, Elwood, dec. Cole Stokebrand, Amherst, 2-1. William White, Sutherland, dec. Brandon Bloomquist, Randolph, 8-1. 160: Joshua Mcfarland, Elkhorn Valley, pinned Josh Cox, Mullen, 3:34. Dylan Soule, High Plains, major dec. Derek Gibson, Maxwell, 9-1. Seth Simants, Stapleton, pinned Alizae Mejia, Plainview, 2:14. James Polen, North Central, sudden victory Bryan Zutavern, Sandhills/Thedford, 8-7. 170: Jarin Potts, Amherst, dec. Jayden Arehart, Neligh-Oakdale, 4-2. Bryce Zimmerer, Creighton, tech. fall Talan Mcgill, North Platte St. Patrick’s, 15-0. Noah Scott, Randolph, pinned Dylan Davis-Mack, Medicine Valley, 5:20. Chase Haussermann, Franklin, pinned Sam Hollander, Amherst, 4:23. 182: Ethan Villwok, Fremont Bergan, medical forfeit Bryce Running Hawk, Hay Springs. Corey Dawe, Burwell, dec. Daylan Russell, Alma, 9-4. Edwen Baptista, Friend, major dec. Brock Schaecher, Elkhorn Valley, 17-6. Dylan Horejsi, Howells-Dodge, dec. Slater Mozena, Weeping Water, 7-4. 195: Collin Gale, Plainview, major dec. Brandon Siebolt, Tri County, 13-4. Karsen Hunter, Bayard, pinned Carter Jensen, Howells-Dodge, 0:31. Micheal Jensen, Winside, major dec. Justin Brock, Nebraska Christian, 20-8. Clay Thiele, Clearwater-Orchard, pinned Austin Wolfe, Medicine Valley, 5:13. 220: Carter Throener, Howells-Dodge, pinned Jaxon Taubenheim, Amherst, 1:01. Landon Beaver, Wisner-Pilger, dec. Clayton Hassett, Mullen, 8-6. Peyton Cone, Fremont Bergan, dec. Ethan Williams, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge, 8-7. Donaven Nolze, Clearwater-Orchard, pinned Remington Hodges, Hitchcock County, 5:21. 285: Marcus Cave, Weeping Water, pinned Gage Petersen, Hitchcock County, 2:15. Jakob Jerabek, Arcadia/Loup City, pinned Chris Sciortino, Garden County, 0:50. Christian Yaw, Elkhorn Valley, pinned Logan Kircher, Southwest, 28-10, 3:00. Kien Martin, Overton, pinned Cameron Nelson, Plainview, 3:47.
High Plains senior capping impressive three-year run
Logan Russell of High Plains has been a Class D fixture at state at 106 pounds.
Now Russell, the only senior in this year’s bracket, is halfway to a third straight gold medal.
Russell pinned freshmen Ethan Kipp of Twin Loup and Ashton Sinn of Thayer Central on Thursday to advance to the semifinal, where he’ll face Elkhorn Valley sophomore Hunter Bennett.
Russell didn’t medal at state as a freshman, finishing that tournament 2-2. But the past three seasons, he’s amassed a 142-2 overall record — with both losses coming his sophomore year. He pinned Morrill’s Tyler Nagel in the first period in last year’s final.
He appeared to be on track to face another unbeaten — Samuel Foster of Sutherland entered with a 48-0 record — in this year’s final, but Foster dropped a 7-0 decision to Plainview’s Eli Lanham in the quarterfinals.
Class D rule causes double take
Did you do a double take when looking at the Class D pages in the tournament program Thursday?
That was no misprint.
Neligh-Oakdale really did have a pair of qualifiers at two weight classes — 113 and 170 — in the first year of a new rule for Class D only.
The Warriors were one of five teams with more than one entrant in a weight class — Amherst, Tri County, Southwest and Elkhorn Valley were the others — but the only one of that group to do it twice.
Only one of the two at each class were awarded team points, with the school making the declaration before the meet.
Meet Director Ron Higdon of the Nebraska School Activities Association said the new rule helped fill, but seldom overflowed, the standard 16-wrestler brackets in districts of 20 or 21 teams.
Burke’s family affair
Omaha Burke had four sets of brothers start the tournament. They were Jakason and James Burks, Deson and DeAngelo Stapleton, Blaine and Dillyn Miller and Jeromy and Trey Nielsen.
From Hawaii to Kearney to semis
Kearney’s Hunter Nagatani is a bit unorthodox.
Nagatani (37-10), who moved to Kearney from Hawaii last summer, is one of four Bearcats who advanced to Friday’s Class A semifinal.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Nagatani said of wrestling with Kearney. “They have a lot more competition down here.”
Nagatani made quick work of Elkhorn South’s Daniel Walters by jumping to a 6-0 advantage in the first period.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the match was the third period, as Nagatani scored 12 points on his way to a technical fall.
“He just has an element of funkiness to him,” Kearney coach Ty Swarm said. “You don’t really see us wrestle the style he does. He does a lot of unorthodox things that make kids really frustrated when they wrestle him because he’s hard to predict. … He’s very dangerous.”
Nagatani will wrestle Emilio Haynes from Omaha Central in the semifinal. Haynes won their only meeting this season.
Burwell’s Joel Ostrom earned some revenge in his 138-pound Class D quarterfinal. The top-ranked Longhorn lost to Mullen’s Jade Lovitt in last year’s 132-pound quarterfinal.
This year, Ostrom took care of business during a 4-0 win over Lovitt.
Ostrom, who improved to 30-0 this season, said a lot of family members got him excited knowing that there might be a possible showdown with Lovitt in the quarters.
“I got a lot of texts from I don’t know how many family members telling me good luck and I got my rematch in the quarters this year,” Ostrom said. “Seeing that kind of support from my family really gave me that boost of confidence.”
Freshmen shine in spotlight
Competing on the biggest stage of their careers, Plainview’s Scout Ashburn and Will Gunning shined.
Ashburn and Gunning — both freshmen — were two of five Pirates who won quarterfinal matches.
Both wins were hard fought, including Ashburn’s pin of Neligh-Oakdale’s Brock Kester in an overtime match that lasted 7:28.
“My coach tells us to give it our all and work hard every day in practice,” Ashburn said. “I knew going into overtime that we’ve worked the past couple weeks knowing some of these matches toward the end would be tough ones. Our conditioning really helped.”
Ashburn held a 6-4 lead late in regulation. Kester got a takedown with 18 seconds left to tie the score and force overtime.
Both wrestlers were still deadlocked heading into the second overtime session, but Ashburn produced a reversal with 14 seconds left. He recorded a pin 12 seconds later.
State hall will add 13
The Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association will induct five wrestlers, three coaches, three contributors and two officials into its hall of fame in early June.
Those selected were wrestlers Matt Vacanti from Papillion-La Vista, Brett Hunter from Rushville, Jay Sherer of Columbus, Jeremy Eckley of Sidney and Brett Allgood of Bennington, coaches Robert West of Elm Creek, Bruce Bricker of Holdrege and Tony Brown of Norfolk, contributors Fred Spale of West Point Central Catholic, Jeff Paige of Grand Island Northwest and Daryl Boots of West Point and officials Ron Smith of Kearney and Rick Pride of Gretna.