Area wrestling teams were well represented at the the very tough Neligh-Oakdale Invitational Saturday.
West Holt’s Cole Liable (138) was recognized for his 100th career win on his way to a third-place finish.
St. Mary’s Cole Rosenkrans took fourth at 220 pounds.
Three Elkhorn Valley wrestlers won individual titles to help lead the Falcons to a third-place team finish.
“We had it in our minds that we really had to get something going today after what happened at the conference meet (on Thursday),” commented EV senior Brock Schaecher. “We had that mindset and yesterday we had a meeting about coming here and dominating.”
Clearwater/Orchard placed fourth, Neligh-Oakdale was fifth, Creighton took 11th, Elgin Public/Pope John finished 18th, West Holt was 17th, O’Neill St. Mary’s placed 20th and Niobrara/Verdigre fished 22nd.
After EV’s Hunter Bennett (106) and Adam Miller (120) fell in their championship contests, Prestin Vondra captured the 145-pound individual crown with a 7-3 decision over Amherst’s Samuel Florell.
Falcon senior Josh McFarland, bumped up a weight class to wrestle at 170, which included four wrestlers ranked in the top six in the state.
“I just went into each match with the same mindset,” McFarland noted. “This is a good kid and I have to wrestle smart and to my best ability to win.”
After recording pins in his first three matches to advance to the finals, McFarland squared off against No.1 ranked Noah Scott out of Randolph.
McFarland scored an early takedown in the first period, then reversed Scott twice to win the 170-pound title, 6-3.
McFarland’s perfect 4-0 record at 170 earned him the Steve Jessen Memorial Most Valuable Wrestler Award.
“Wrestler of the meet is something I have wanted to get since my freshman year,” McFarland spoke. “I’m really glad I finally got one. I felt good, I wrestled good and I came out on top.”
Schaecher wrapped up EV’s championships with a 6-5 decision over Clearwater/Orchard’s Codey Snider. Late in the third period and trailing 5-1, Schaecher reversed Snider to cut the deficit to two and with under 20 seconds remaining in the match, the senior Falcon locked up a cradle and scored three-back points to complete the comeback.
“It was last minute and I had to figure out something to do,” Schaecher recalled. “I saw an opening for it (the cradle) and I had to use it.”
The individual title wrapped up a memorable week for Schaecher, who picked up his 100th career victory at the Niobrara Valley Conference tournament on Thursday.
“Since it’s my senior year I wanted to wrestle my heart out,” Schaecher continued. “It’s something I’ve done since I was little and my dreams are finally coming true.”
Neligh-Oakdale senior Cameron Wilkinson had an illustrious day, celebrating his 150th career win and pinning his way to the 113-pound championship.
“It played out just the way we were hoping,” Wilkinson said. “It feels good for all the hard work I put in to get the 150th. I just have to keep rolling with it. I love wrestling here and feels good to sleep in my own bed."
OC senior Tommie Peed won the 285-pound crown with a 5-2 decision over Elkhorn Valley senior Christian Yaw.
Peed nearly fell in his opening match to start the day. Tied at 2-2 late in the third, Peed scored the decisive takedown and held on for a 4-2 victory over West Holt’s Jordan Moore.
“That first match was rough,” Peed remarked. “I couldn’t get anything going and I couldn’t get the momentum in my favor. I came back, and bounced back in the next match and won. Then my last match against Christian Yaw was hard fought and I won 5-2.”
OC’s Snider and Clay Thiele (195) placed second, Donaven Nolze (220) finished third, Rafe Grebin (120) and Tyler Bellar (170) took fifth and Anthony Ferris (106) was sixth.
Elgin Public/Pope John’s Luke Henn (132) and Cory Romeo (145) each captured sixth-place honors.
For EV, Mitchell Petersen (160) placed third.
N-O senior Andrew Herley celebrated his 150th career win and took runner-up honors at 132. Jayden Arehart (182) finished third, Dawson Kaup (195) and Colton Klabenes (220) placed fifth, while Brock Kester (120) and Kaleb Pofahl (170) were sixth. Pofahl also captured his 100th career victory during Saturday’s invite.
Sam Vortherms (145), Bode Wortman (152) and Brenden Waldow (160) placed fifth for Creighton. Terance Burrell (182) and Brody Vrooman (285) were sixth for the Bulldogs.
Trey Sucha (152) and Toby Ives (126) each recorded a win for the Cougars.
St. Mary’s returns to the mats Feb. 1 at the Clearwater/Orchard Invite.
OC hosts Niobrara/Verdigre and North Central Tuesday at Orchard.
Creighton and West Holt wrestle at the Plainview Invitational Saturday.
Elkhorn Valley competes at the Boone Central Invitational Saturday.
EPPJ and N-O travel to the Central Valley Invitational Friday.