by Colin Pfeiffer (@CP308)
Two weeks from now, teams from all over the state will make the journey to Howells for the class D District 1 tournament. Plainview comes into the district tournament needing to compete well and qualify as many guys as possible to set themselves up for a state title run. They need guys like Colin Gale (182) to qualify and maybe finish a spot higher than projected. If Gale can get to third or even put himself in the finals, that may put himself in a position at the state tournament to win a few matches and score points the Pirates may not have been counting on at the beginning of the year. They also need Nelson (285) to win the district and put himself in a spot to win matches to reach to podium in Omaha. That could be huge for the team race between the top 3 teams in D. The team in this district I am really interested in watching is Southwest. They have been competing well all year but I don’t know if they have a schedule that has really challenged them to this point like the district tournament will. If they can sneak a couple guys in that are sitting on the edge, it could help them finish as high as second in the district and put them in position to climb into the top ten in Omaha. Not only could getting some of those guys through help them in Omaha. but it could position them to extend their whole team’s season an extra week and qualify them for the State Dual Tournament.
Other teams looking to be in the title race and qualify for the state duals are Palmer, Creighton, Tri County, and Superior. All of these teams could put the pressure on Southwest for a run at second, but like Southwest they all need guys to compete well and finish higher than predicted.
I list both Garret Jensen and Nate Christensen on my contenders list, as there is a chance that they could participate. But from everything I have been told neither will compete. Without those two wrestlers this weight class really loses some depth at this district, which leaves the bottom two spots wide open. Cam Wilkinson is a clear favorite to win this district and set himself up nicely for the State Tournament.
Cam Wilkinson Neligh Oakdale 24-1
Cole Reedy Tri County 21-16
Hayden Kuck Palmer 6-14
Joel Costello Southwest 8-13
Garret Jensen Palmer 12-12
Nate Christensen Plainview 11-4
Connor Hazen is the obvious choice to win this district. I went with Placke of Palmer in second, as he owns a common opponent over Sobotka. Sobotka get the nod at third based on his strength of schedule.
Connor Hazen Creighton 18-1
Payton Placke Palmer 18-16
Jaden Sobotka Plainview 14-14
Zak Palmer North Central 18-10
Damon Crawford Scridner Snyder 12-8
Defending State Champion Dom Rickard gets the nod to win the weight and set himself up for a shot at a second state title. Erickson should finish in second, but after that the final two slots are really up for grabs. I chose Harvey and Zutavern based on strength of schedule and record.
Dom Rickard Plainview 25-3
Usama Erickson Superior 19-3
Cody Harvey Creighton 11-7
Bryan Zutavern Sandhills/Thedford 14-9
Justin Noel Scribner Snyder 10-8
Hazen and Guerrero sets up for an electric district final. All of Guerrero’s losses are at 132/138. I give Hazen the nod based on the fact he beat Guerrero in last years State Semifinals. But this is a new year, so anything can happen. I list no other contenders at this weight based on the fact that there appears to be one to other kids that will enter and both have significant losing records.
Zac Hazen Creighton 16-5
Kaden Guerrero Southwest 25-3
Ethan Paxton Tri County 19-15
Keaton Meyer Superior 10-7
1. Trent Steinkraus Plainview 27-2
2. Jacob Johnson Archbishop Bergan 20-7
3. Andrew Herley Neligh Oakdale 18-5
4. Jadyn Smeal Scibner Snyder 12-12
Ray Guzman Paler 20-17
Seth Gehle Superior 12-13
This weight features 3 ranked wrestlers and is the second toughest weight in the district. Steinkraus should win the weight, but the Johnson vs Herley semifinal match should provide some excitement to the early morning round. Smeal gets the nod at four based on record.
3x State Champion Christian Miller will continue his storm through the state of Nebraska and win the district. Chase Morris of Superior will look to knock him off and try to stay on track to medal at the state tournament. After the top two there is really about 6 wrestlers I could see falling into the final 2 slots. Simants and Gubbels are my picks based off experience and records.
1. Christian Miller Plainview 32-0
2. Chase Morris Superior 28-5
3. Sid Simants Stapleton 20-5
4. Paul Gubbels Osmand 16-7
Drew Wortman Creighton 21-11
Peter Spilker Tri County 25-11
Ryan Van Pelt Southwest 21-12
Josh McMillen Scribner-Snyder 19-13
This weight is loaded. 15 wrestlers, 11 winning records, and 7 with less than 8 losses. Cole Aschoff should win this weight. After that it’s anyone’s best guess. Any of the next 7 guys could finish second through fourth. I predict Zimmerer, Diedrich, and Wichman to pull through but I’m not exactly convinced that is how they will finish. It’s just my best guess. There will be a couple guys staying home from the state tournament out of this district that in a perfect world shouldn’t because they are good enough to go. What’s crazy, is this may not be the toughest district in the state at this weight class. The quarters, semis, heartbreak round, and medal matches will be worth the price of admission to this district alone.
Cole Aschoff Plainview 33-1
Bryce Zimmerer Creighton 24-6
Max Diedrich Southwest 21-1
Spencer Wichman Palmer 35-6
Bryce Kopf Tri County 20-8
Trent Tietjen Superior 25-8
Seth Simants Stapleton 24-7
Ryan Molacek Howells-Dodge 20-15
This weight is loaded. 15 wrestlers and 11 winning records. 7 wrestlers with less than 8 losses. Cole Aschoff should win this weight. After that it’s everyone’s best guess. Any of the text 7 guys could finish in second-fourth. I predict Zimmerer, Diedrich, and Wichman to pull through but I’m not exactly convinced this is how they will finish. It’s just my best guess. There will be a couple guys staying home from the state tournament out of this district that in a perfect world shouldn’t because they are good enough to go. What’s crazy is this may not be the toughest district in the state at this weight class. The quarters, semis, heartbreak round, and medal matches will be worth the price of admission to this district alone.
I expect quite a few good matches at this weight in the quarters, semis, and heartbreak round. Miles Kulhanek should win this weight, as he already owns 2 head to head wins over Donscheski. He also has yet to lose to a Class D opponent this season. I expect a very competitive semi-final match between Donscheski and Ensz, but based on a few results I expect Donscheski to come out on top.
Miles Kulhanek Howells Dodge 38-3
Connor Donscheski Palmer 36-5
Colby Ensz Tri County 34-7
Brenden Jensen Superior 17-5
Clay Konopasek Niobrara Verdigre 15-7
Jayden Arehart Neligh-Oakdale 19-14
Alexander Dack Southwest 20-12
This weight will have a lot of entries but I don’t foresee anyone qualifying but the four guys I list. Donscheski should win the district pretty easy. I put Wortman in second, as Coufal hasn’t competed since High Plains. McConville could finish higher, but strength of schedule puts the 2 other guys ahead of him.
Chandler Donscheski Palmer 35-3
Brady Wortman Creighton 21-8
Tanner Coufal Howells Dodge 13-6
Wyatt McConville Southwest 19-12
As Reimers works his way back from an injury and gets back in the groove, I fully expect him to improve. Collier will be his biggest test in the district but should be able to come out on top. Stacken owns a head to head win over Horejsi. Bolling and Horejsi and Bolling split early season matches 5-3 in favor of Horejsi and 8-3 in favor of Bolling.
Hunter Reimers Palmer 14-3
Colby Collier Sandhills/Thedford 13-0
Levi Stacken Creighton 21-7
Dominic Bolling Clearwater/Orchard 14-8
Dylan Horejsi Howells-Dodge 22-12
John Sullivan Superior 17-5
Smith is the one guy at this weight who has experience from state tournament last year and had the success this season to propel him to the top. Downey has turned in a great year and should finish in second. After that and of the next guys I list could qualifiy. Morris has had a good year but has showed some week spots. I don’t know which guy Howells Dodge enters but either could quailify. The other guy that could sneak in is Samuelson from palmer. I fully expect Palmer to enter him in the district tournament at 182 baring no injuries at 160 or 170 over the next two weeks. The one thing I question about Samuelson is if he will be big enough to handle true 182 pounders as he has wrestled matches at both 160 and 170 this season.
Copper Smith Tri County 32-10
Cody Downey Southwest 24-4
Lane Morris Superior 20-9
Colin Gale Plainview
Clay Thiele Clearwater/Orchard 22-10
Chad Samuelson Palmer 18-10
Marcus Love Howells Dodge 19-14
Carter Throener Howells Dodge 18-20
This weight isn’t very deep at all. I know Likens should win this district handily. After that its up for grabs Dietrich doesn’t have a ton of matches but the ones he does have he wins. Palmer is the next guy in line. Whoever Howells Dodge doesn’t enter at 182 I expect to wrestle 195 and qualify. After these guys there isn’t much else that I can foresee being in the mix to qualify.
Travis Likens Tri County 34-7
Zach Dietrich Luarel Concord Coleridge 11-3
Ty Palmer North Central 13-8
Marcus Love Howells-Dodge 19-14/Carter Throener 18-20
VanEngen has put together a nice season and should win the district as he tries to position himself for a state medal. He also holds an 8-3 win over Holt. Holt has a common opponent Starr. Barnts’ record is a little deceiving. He is 22-20 but Tri County wrestles a heavy dual schedule so he has 8 wins by forfeit. With Barnts record being deceiving it leads me to believe that Peed and William both have a chance at qualifying.
Gabe VanEngen Freeman 25-6
Darik Holt Superior 27-6
Anthony Starr Southwest 22-11
Chase Barnts Tri County 22-20
Ethan William Laurel Concord Coleridge 15-11
Tommie Peed Clearwater/Orchard 11-10
There is little to no depth at this weight. I pick Nelson as my district champion because he seems to have come on lately after a slow start to the year. I don’t know what to quite make of Kircher yet. He has the tools to be a state medalist but has a couple losses that make you scratch your head. After the top two, the rest of this weight is wide open. Whoever wins the Kirchner vs Nelson match, should position himself well for a state medal in Omaha.
Cameron Nelson Plainview 14-14
Logan Kircher Southwest 24-8
Zach Hoffman Clearwater/Orchard 8-9
Kyle Pickhinke Howells Dodge 12-24
Colton Beebe Freeman 8-16
Brady Vrooman Creighton 4-13