By Dru Kastler | @KastlerDA
Top ten teams:
- Valentine: Thursday dual wins over #3 Broken Bow 34-29 and Gothenburg 50-29. 3rd at Schuyler Invite with 9 wrestlers.
- David City: Thursday dual win over #6 Aquinas 49-26 and D#4 East Butler 63-9. Friday dual win over Bennington 36-33. 1st at Cross County Invite by 64.5 over #7 Central City.
- Broken Bow: Lost to #1 Valentine 34-29 on Thursday and won over Gothenburg 52-24. 1st at UNK Midwest Duals on Friday with dual wins over B#8 Alliance and B#4 Northwest.
- Battle Creek: Thursday dual win over Wayne 41-29. 1st at home invitational by 11 points over D#6 Elkhorn Valley.
- North Bend: Thursday dual win over D#10 Oakland Craig 43-36. 2nd at Arlington Invite behind #10 Wilber-Clatonia.
- Aquinas: Lost Thursday dual to #2 David City and won over D#4 East Butler 60-18. Finished 4th at Schuyler Invite ½ a point behind #1 Valentine.
- Central City: Thursday dual win over Wood River 48-33. 2nd at Cross County Invite behind #2 David City.
- Gibbon: 3rd at home invite with just six wrestlers, 12 points behind 2nd place Wood River.
- Ord: 1st at Gibbon Invite over Wood River by 59 points.
- Wilber-Clatonia: 1st at Arlington Invite over #5 North Bend.
The state dual tournament this year should be great, with the top four teams having significant depth. Valentine didn’t send all of their wrestlers to Schuyler, but did manage a 3rd place finish. David City has top ranked Melvin Hernandez back into the lineup at 145 and seem ready to be the top challenger to Valentine in Omaha. Broken Bow is also right there with six ranked wrestlers and surging freshman 106 Trey Garey. Battle Creek hasn’t had their full lineup often this season, but have still finished at or near the top of almost every tournament they’ve competed in this year. The Ord Invite at the end of January will feature both Broken Bow and Battle Creek along with D#1 Burwell and #9 Ord.
North Bend is so tough from 138-195 and could realistically medal at almost all of those weights. Aquinas has their big four ranked wrestlers and several others that have notched enough quality wins to be considered medal threats in Omaha. Central City performed well at the Cross County Invite without standout freshman Dyson Kunz. They have a few under the radar wrestlers that may help propel them to a higher finish in Omaha. The key for Ord will be to navigate the tough C4 district this year. Wilber-Clatonia continues to perform well.
Weekend weight breakdown:
Of note is that #5 at 113 Ryan Zoucha from Malcolm is now down at 106, but didn’t compete in a Thursday dual. He will no doubt be a contender at this weight. The only ranked matchup throughout the season at this weight was between Zitek and Zeckser. Zeckser held off talented freshman Hunter Heath of Minden 6-0 at the Cross County Invite. Williams of Valentine defeated Broken Bow’s Trey Garey in a Thursday dual. Garey has split matches with Zitek this year. Benavides continues to dominate with all pins and one major decision this season. Arlington’s Gilmore has been similarly dominant with his closest matches being wins by major decision. Kunz did not compete at the Cross County Invite.
With Zoucha moving to 106 the last ranking spot opens up at this weight, which is defined by a clear-cut top three. McCracken is still undefeated and notched another win over D#2 Koby Ellis from Winside. Those two have battle many times and they’re usually close matches as they are both plenty familiar with one another. Faulkenberry defeated B#3 Quandt by fall at the UNK Duals. His OT win over Styskal has him firmly placed in the state title discussion. Styskal won the Cross County Invite which also had Paczosa entered. They did not meet however as Paczosa must have sustained an injury and didn’t compete in his last few matches. Rowse won the Gibbon Invite notching three falls. The race for the 6th spot at this weight is very wide open.
Lade suffered his first setback of the season at the hands of D#1 Stewart. Carlson has been on a tear all year and may wrestle Schram next week at the Louisville Invite. Schram’s only class C loss was by fall to Lade last weekend. Gaffney continues to impress as well, with only one in state loss coming to familiar foe Petska of Ord. The two have split this season. Petska has not competed since before Christmas. Have hear that Krolikowski will be wrestling 120 this season, although he has yet to compete at the weight. There are a number of others knocking at the door at this weight.
Kersten is the de facto #1 at this weight after defeating Styskal last week. Styskal won by fall over Brandenburg at the Cross County Invite. Powers fell to Krolikowski in dual action, but had a great 9-4 win over B#2 Kluck at the UNK Duals. His 1-point loss to Styskal proves he should be right in the thick of the state title conversation. Wehrer has had some wild matches this season and has knocked several good wrestlers in the process. His 13-11 win over Brown earlier in the year cemented his status as a potential state medalist. He won the Arlington Invite with a 10-6 over returning SQ Scdoris of Milford. Brown dropped a 1-point match to D#5 Casey in the finals of his home invite. Sutton freshman Joe Hinrichs has the one loss to Casey 5-2 earlier this year. Two other potential medalists at this weight in Smydra from Norfolk Catholic and Carranza from Cross County had two close matches over the weekend, with Smydra winning both.
The big matchup at this weight over the weekend was between #6 Josh Miller and #3 Sam Copley. Miller won the match 5-1 to continue his impressive freshman season. Kelber cruised through the Schuyler Invite while Yawn did the same at the Battle Creek Invite. Gibbon’s Chase Smith survived a tough test from Ord’s Miguel Alvarado. Valentine finished 2nd at the Cross County Invite.
In a ranked matchup at his home invite, #2 Max Hughes won by fall over #6 Hogue in the finals. Top ranked Waddington won 9-0 over Rogers from Kearney Catholic. Rogers knocked off Wardman last week. Ramon didn’t compete this week. Broken Bow’s Cooper Brass went undefeated at the UNK duals. Tekamah’s Matt Hawkins knocked off Mason Schleis from Shelby-Rising City at the Schuyler Invite. Schleis defeated Hogue the previous week. Wardman finished 2nd at the Arlington Invite losing to D#4 Johnson in the finals.
Melvin Hernandez made his season debut on Thursday and won the Cross County Invite on Saturday. His 15-10 finals win over Central City’s Jared Gallion must have been entertaining. Gallion has really been coming on strong evidenced by his 7-2 win over D#2 over Florell in the semifinals at Cross County and last week’s win over #6 Mackley. #4 Olson knocked off #3 Ulmer in the UTB rideout in their dual, which will change the rankings, but is bigger from a district seeding perspective. #5 Weiss from Chase County defeated Mackley in OT at his home invite. C4 145 is about as tough as it gets. The Arlington Invite featured four rankings contenders with Raymond Central’s Easton Albrecht avenging an earlier loss to North Bend’s Ray in the semi’s and knocking off Max Hohn from Bishop Neumann in the finals. Hohn defeated Mues of Arlington in the other semifinal.
Top ranked Bates won 3-0 over contender Nolan Miller from Logan View to caprture the Arlington Invite title. #2 Joel Myers lost to B#2 Quandt at the UNK Duals, but has yet to lose to a class C opponent. #3 Tracy, #4 Warner and #5 Stone all won tournaments over the weekend. Benson had to injury default to sixth at the Schuyler Invite. Now that Hernandez is at 145, freshman teammate Vodicka is up at 152 where he won the Cross County Invite in OT over D#5 Soule. North Bend has had both Strauss and Mullally in the lineup throughout the season. This weekend it was Strauss who competed in Arlington and finished in 3rd with a semifinal loss to previously mentioned Miller from Logan View.
Borer had three first period falls to win the Arlington Invite including a fall over potential district final opponent Wilkins from Arlington. The big potential matchup at this weight between Long and Petree didn’t happen at Schuyler as Long was knocked off by B#3 Garcia from Lexington in the semifinals. Petree then lost to Garcia in OT in the finals. Schneiderheinz was knocked off in the Cross County finals by Baasch from Amherst who is on a tear at 160. #5 Janssen didn’t compete at the Battle Creek Invite. Haskell finished fourth at Schuyler and was pinned by Long in the 3rd/4th place matchup. Chase Becker from Southern Valley continues to impress, avenging an early season loss to Cornwell from Boone Central in the finals of the Gibbon Invite.
The top two at 170 will remain in the place after this weekend. Top ranked Stephen won the Schuyler Invite with an 8-3 win over B#5 Kopf from Lexington and second ranked Hines kept his unbeaten record intact with a 3-0 win over familiar opponent Hull. After these two this becomes one of the most complicated weights in class C. Coufal suffered a loss to unranked Max Hansen of Tekamah-Herman at Schuyler. Unranked Hull has beaten Hansen, but has lost to Borgmann of Stanton who finished fourth at Battle Creek. The champion at Battle Creek was 5th ranked Moles but they didn’t meet up. Wilber-Clatonia’s Pomajzl had only one loss on the season to A#4 Everson before getting beaten by Hull 13-1. Koch from Arlington has a win over Hansen but has been beaten by Pomajzl, Borgmann, Hull and Ulrich of Ord. He competed at 182 at his home invite. The bottom line is that there are so many solid wrestlers at this weight that nearly everyone who qualifies for state at this weight is a medal contender.
Reimers won the Schuyler finals over B#1 Eason to continue his perfect season. The line behind him starts with #2 Poppe who won the Battle Creek Invite this past weekend. #3 Mueller survived a tough 8-7 battle from #4 Mueller in the finals of the Arlington Invite, much different than the 16-6 match won by Mueller earlier this year. Malcolm didn’t wrestle this weekend so Deinert was idle. #4 Deinert does have earlier season win against Fairbanks 7-4. Deinert also has two early season wins over Feldner from Kearney Catholic. Sixth ranked Lech from Ord has split with Feldner this year. Also in the west district with Lech and Feldner is Coalson from Bridgeport who has only been beaten by D#1 Wood.
#1 Gabriel won the Gibbon Invite over #2 Kee 8-1. This weight has quickly become one of, if not the toughest weight in class C with the addition of McGahan from Hershey who was ranked 2nd at 220. #4 Vasquez won over McGahan in the finals of the Chase County Invite 7-3. McGahan owns a win over #6 Kocian at 220 earlier this year before both moved down a weight. Kocian lost to Kee in OT tiebreak. Perhaps 3rd ranked Ryder Fuchs has realized that 220 behind Hinojosa has become a relatively thin weight as he tested the waters at 220 over the past weekend, winning convincingly over D#6 Escalante from Winside and pinning Sanchez from Wakefield who is on the verge of being ranked. Escalante has wrestled 195 as well where he pinned 5th ranked Schluckebier. Schluckebier outside of that one loss has only had one match go the distance, against Ray of North Bend whom he beat 7-4. Ray has also tested the waters at 220 as has Carlson. Gappa from Kearney Catholic has also burst onto the seen lately with some big wins including one over Carlson. Ray also has a win by fall over Arlington’s Gay this last weekend, who wrestled Gabriel to a 7-5 match earlier this season. Very interested to see who decides to stay at 195 come districts.
Chase County’s Hinojosa a returning state finalist from this weight and a heavy favorite for a state title. With McGahan’s departure to 195, Brooks from Broken Bow will be the likely #2 based on his win over Eilers earlier this year. Brooks defeated B#5 Kiser at the UNK Duals on Friday. Eilers won the Cross County Invite by fall over #6 Carlson. Three ranked wrestlers at this weight have competed at 195 at some point this year so if they all end up there it paves the way for several others to be in medal contention. Centennial’s Kalten Bauers lost 10-6 to D#2 Andrews from Cambridge over the weekend and should be in the mix at 220 regardless of who bumps up.
Lefferdink and Welsh haven’t been challenged this season. They’ll likely meet in the district finals which would set up a possible rematch at state the next week. Sounds like Cantu from Norfolk Catholic will not see the mat this season which would bump Jerabek into the 3rd spot at this weight. Jerabek is unlikely to see many of the other wrestlers that are ranked at this weight until the state tournament. Rempe knocked off Moses shortly after our last rankings came out. Those two have been back and forth for the last two seasons. Winnebago’s Derrell Zagurski has just one loss on the year (by fall to Welsh) and has two good wins over Louisville’s Noah Shumaker, making him a possible candidate to enter the rankings. With Cantu not wrestling perhaps Norfolk Catholic’s Silva will remain at 285. He competed in a Thursday dual, but didn’t wrestle at the Cross County Invite.