Considered to be one of the toughest districts in the Cornhusker State, wrestling fans were not disappointed by Friday’s action at the Class D, District 1 wrestling tournament in Neligh.
“I don’t know how many top-10 teams and top-six individual wrestlers are here, but every weight you go to, there is not an easy one in the whole bunch,” stated Neligh-Oakdale coach Gary Davis. “I thought everyone wrestled well. A lot of the team really competed hard.”
Several area wrestlers find themselves one win away from sealing a spot at the state meet next week.
West Holt’s Cole Liable (138), Ben Slaymaker (160) and Jade Buss (285) picked up quarterfinal’s wins to advance to Saturday’s semis. Jaegher Ogden (132) and Jordan Moore (285) kept their seasons alive with wins in the consolation round, while Rylan Olson (126) and Martin Wentworth (152) were eliminated from the tournament.
“We got tomorrow to go yet and so far we are doing as good as we could hope for,” said West Holt coach Randy Schroeder. “I would have liked to get a couple more for the next day, but not everybody can make it.”
Seven N-O wrestlers will compete in the semifinals tomorrow morning. Colton Klabenes (220), Dawson Kaup (195), Jayden Arehart (170), Kaleb Pofahl (170), Andrew Herley (132), Brock Kester (113) and Cameron Wilkinson (113) each qualified for the semis. Conor Dempsey (160), Cade Wilkinson (145), Caleb Payne (138) and Cody Booth (106) fell in the championship bracket, but are still alive in the consolation bracket. Jose Luna (152), Isaias Juarez (126) and Griffin Claussen (120) each ended their seasons with a pair of losses.
Clearwater/Orchard seniors Codey Snider (182), Clay Thiele (195), Donaven Nolze (220) and Tommie Peed (285) each advanced to the semifinals. Anthony Ferris (106), Spencer Kester (113) Rafe Grebin (120), Eli Theile (126), Alex Arroyo (145), Houston Marino (152), Eli Macke (160) and Austin Pokorny (170) kept their seasons alive with wins in the consolation bracket, while James Kester (132) and Tyson Rix (138) bowed out of the tournament after suffering their second loss of the evening.
“Some of our guys that we thought were going to do well, sputtered a little bit,” commented OC coach Dan Roeber. “And some of our other guys stepped up and that’s what you have to do this time of the year. You have to leave it out there, whether you’re a senior or a freshman. This is districts and there’s no tomorrow. That’s been our motto all week. Go get it and have some fun. We’re going to enjoy and the train ride all week. Hopefully we get as many boys down to Omaha for next week as we can.”
The Elgin Public/Pope John wrestlers had an up and down day. To open the tournament, Norman Grothe (120), Luke Henn (132) and Cory Romej (145) each scored a pin to advance to the quarterfinals. All three Wolfpack grapplers fell in the quarters by pin, but all three bounced back in the consolation round to stay alive in the tournament.
“The theme this year has been to bounce back,” spoke EPPJ coach Trey Rossman. “Luke should have won his quarterfinal’s match, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles sometimes. But we’re coming back and we’re apart of the final eight.”
All but two Elkhorn Valley wrestlers are still in the hunt for a spot at the state tournament. Christian Yaw (285), Brock Schaecher (182) Josh McFarland (160), Mitchell Petersen (160) Prestin Vondra (145), Adam Miller (120) and Hunter Bennett (106) each qualified for the semis, while Caden Reikofski (220), Gavyn Clause (195) and Reed Bennett (126) will try to battle back in the consolation bracket. Hunter Klinetobe (132) and Michael Glynn (145) each concluded their seasons. Klinetobe went 2-2 Friday, while Glynn was 0-2.
“We did good and we’re right where we thought we would be,” remarked EV coach Joey Tegeler. “We’ll be ready to go tomorrow.”
All seven Niobrara/Verdigre wrestlers saw their seasons come to an end Friday. Toby Ives (132) and Hudson Drobny (145) each recorded the two lone wins for the Cougars, but dropped two matches later in the tournament. Trey Sucha (152), Evan Ruzicka (160), Gavin Chohon (170), Beau Hrbek (195) and Duta Thomas (285) each went 0-2.
In the team standings, the Cyclones are 2.5 points out of first, behind Weeping Water. The Warriors sit in fourth with 50 points, the Falcons are sixth with 45.5 points, EPPJ is tied with West Holt for 11th with 21 points and N/V sits in 19th with seven team points.
Wrestling resumes Saturday morning at 10 a.m.
“Anything can happen tomorrow,” Rossman concluded. “We saw a few upsets tonight and few seeded kids, that probably should still be in, but they’re out. This is districts and anything can happen.”