Team Race Projections:
1st: Valentine really took care of business in the district tournament in what was a great Battle with second ranked Broken Bow. They set themselves up extremely well to repeat as state champions. Out of eight qualifiers they have seven projected to finish in the top four and all could potentially bring home a medal. The thing that really sets Valentine apart is their four projected state champions. That translates into serious state tournament points and will make them hard to catch if it comes to fruition.
2nd: Broken Bow has seven projected medalists as well and should be in a very tight race with David City for second place. Bonus points will be huge for the Indians as they look to bring home a trophy from their year’s state tournament. Broken Bow has ten qualifiers so if they can get some solid points from those that don’t medal than they can close the gap on Valentine.
3rd: David City has been a mainstay at the top of class C in recent years. The Scouts bring eight to Omaha and all have a realistic shot of medaling, with several in the state title conversation. If things go well for David City they will be in the mix on Saturday.
4th: Battle Creek brings nine to Omaha this year and five projected medalists. The margin between Broken Bow, David City and Battle Creek is very small so look for the Braves to make a push at a runner-up finish.
5th: Aquinas may have had the best team performance at the district tournament. They bring a class C high of 11 wrestlers to the state meet. They have the big points in Petree and Reimers and will need some big support from the rest of their lineup to boost their team finish.
6th: North Bend has three wrestlers predicted to finish in the top three. If Tigers’ other three qualifiers can score some quality points, then they could crack the top five.
7th: Central City likely has a goal of finishing in the top five and that is attainable. The Bison bring seven wrestlers to Omaha. They are right on the heels of North Bend and Aquinas with two projected finalists and four medalists.
8th: Ord has only two projected medalists out of their nine qualifiers. However most of their qualifiers should win matches and that will help boost their team score.
T-9th: Bridgeport is bringing seven to Omaha with three projected medalists. If they perform well they will crack the top ten.
T-9th: Crofton/Bloomfield has just four qualifiers, but they could realistically medal all four.
T-9th: Syracuse also brings just four qualifiers. However, with two projected state champs that will translate into big points.
Darkhorse Teams: Arlington and Logan View: They will look to keep up the momentum from districts and finish in the top ten.
Individual Weight Breakdown:
Kunz from Central City is the favorite to navigate the top half of the bracket. His road will not be easy as he has 40 match winner Schoepf from Centennial right out of the gate. His quarterfinal match will be against the winner of Hilliard from Kearney Catholic and Mueller from Logan View, who both have a chance at a medal. A ranked quarterfinal between Benavides from Bridgeport and Zitek appears likely, with the winner squaring off against Kunz in the semis.
Williams has been extremely impressive the second part of the season. His recent win against Kunz makes him the favorite to win the tournament. Like Kunz, he will face a tough road to the finals. His quarterfinal matchup against Albrecht could be a good one. Albrecht handed Gilmore from Arlington his only losses of the season. Zoucha from Malcolm gave up 5 in the first period to Kunz and dropped a 6-2 match in the district finals and will likely see Gilmore in the quarterfinals. The winner of Zoucha/Gilmore should see Williams in the semis.
1st: Chris Williams (Valentine)
2nd: Dyson Kunz (Central City)
3rd: Ryan Zoucha (Malcolm)
4th: Casey Benavides (Bridgeport)
5th: Hunter Gilmore (Arlington)
6th: Zach Zitek (Aquinas)
Mitch Albrecht (Raymond Central)
A monster semifinal match on the top side between Faulkenberry and Styskal appears likely. The two met earlier this season with Faulkenberry winning in OT. Both could face ranked wrestlers in the quarterfinals with Faulkenberry meeting up with Scott and Styskal against Paczosa. Since the top side of this bracket has four ranked wrestlers, one of them will not medal if they all make the quarterfinals. This leaves the door open for an unranked wrestler to medal.
State Champion McCracken headlines the bottom half of the bracket. He’ll hope to make it through to the finals to have another shot at Faulkenberry, who took the first match between the two 6-3. Ord’s Rowse has lost to Faulkenberry five of his seven losses this season and appears to be closing the gap. He could pose a tough semifinal matchup to McCracken. Rowse will have to get by district champ Hernandez-Jimenez from Logan View in the quarters.
1st: Casey Faulkenberry (Broken Bow)
2nd: Caydon McCracken (Battle Creek)
3rd: Seth Styskal (David City)
4th: Colton Rowse (Ord)
5th: Jacob Paczosa (St. Paul)
6th: Luis Hernandez-Jimenez (Logan View)
Noah Scott (Aquinas)
Another state champion headlines this weight in Gage Krolikowski. In the quarters he’ll have the winner of one of the better first round matchups between #6 Sandoval from Wakefield and Schernikau of Centennial. Carlson from Sutton looks like a good bet to make the semifinals out of the other quarter. He’ll have the winner of Zegers from Milford and Erickson of Superior. Carlson has a few convincing wins over Zegers this season.
Lade from Battle Creek hasn’t lost to a class C opponent this season and has wins over top challengers in the bottom half, Gaffney from Broken Bow and Schram from Tekamah-Herman. Gaffney and Schram are likely to meet in the quarterfinals with the winner getting another crack at Lade in the semis. Harris from David City impressed at districts and could have some upset potential.
1st: Gage Krolikowski (Valentine)
2nd: Owen Lade (Battle Creek)
3rd: Lee Carlson (Sutton)
4th: Spencer Gaffney (Broken Bow)
5th: Brandon Schram (Tekamah-Herman)
6th: Cesar Sandoval (Wakefield)
Clayton Harris (David City)
Due to bracket draws and a district upset, the top three wrestlers in the state are on the top side of the bracket. Battle Creek’s Damien Kersten has wins over both Styskal and Powers, who are likely to meet in the quarterfinals. Styskal won a close match against Powers at the Valentine Invite. Those two will be in a big quarterfinal matchup, not just individually, but from a team standpoint as well. Despite being ranked, Hinrichs is our darkhorse here because his draw means he’s going to have to pull off an upset in order to medal. His match with Carranza in the first round will be a great match as the two met once earlier with Hinrichs squeaking out a 7-6 win.
Koby Brandenburg from Central City avenged an earlier loss to Styskal and won the C1 district title. He has set himself up well for another run to the state finals this season. If #5 Wehrer wins his first-round match he’ll have wither Spike or DeVries in the quarters and he has wins over both during the season. So look for a Wehrer/Styskal quarterfinal. This weight is probably one of the toughest to predict as not much separates most of the competitors. Smydra has seen a lot of the top guys at this weight and is set up well to make a run at a medal.
1st: Damien Kersten (Battle Creek)
2nd: Koby Brandenburg (Central City)
3rd: Noah Styskal (David City)
4th: Patrick Powers (Broken Bow)
5th: Riley Wehrer (Wilber-Clatonia)
6th: Wyatt Smydra (Norfolk Catholic)
Joseph Hinrichs (Sutton)
Yawn from Pierce has remained undefeated this season and appears to be the top challenger to two-time champ Kelber, who is on the bottom side. Yawn will likely have to get through Gibbon’s Chase Smith in the quarterfinals. Copley from Milford is the favorite to make it to the semis against Yawn. He should face a tough quarterfinal match against the winner of Kaup from Logan View and Alvarado of Ord.
Kelber could meet up with Crofton/Bloomfield’s McFarland in the quarters. McFarland was a bit under the radar this season, but had a great district tournament and could make a run at a state medal. In the semifinals, Kelber will likely see the winner of a ranked quarterfinal matchup between David City’s Valentine and Miller from Arlington.
1st: Jordan Kelber (Valentine)
2nd: Cody Yawn (Pierce)
3rd: Josh Miller (Arlington)
4th: Sam Copley (Milford)
5th: Chase Smith (Gibbon)
6th: Jacson Valentine (David City)
Reece McFarland (Crofton/Bloomfield)
One of the most highly anticipated semifinals could occur between Waddington from Wood River and White from David City. Waddington will likely have Ramon from Valentine in the quarterfinals. Waddington won by major decision earlier this year. White pinned possible quarterfinal opponent Wardman in an earlier season meeting. Both Waddington and White certainly have their eyes on being the one to attempt knock off 3-time state champ Hughes in the state finals. Waddington split with Hughes during the season, while White was leading Hughes in the third period before losing by fall.
With the rest of the top four in the state on the top side of the bracket, Hughes is set up well to reach the finals. He will have the winner of Kluthe from Ord and Schleis from Shelby in the quarterfinals. Kluthe almost knocked off Ramon in the district finals while Schleis wrestled Waddington to a one-point match earlier this year. In the other quarter look for fourth place district finisher Grefe from Arlington to possibly make the quarterfinals and take on the winner of Rogers from Kearney Catholic and Hogue from Conestoga.
1st: Max Hughes (Syracuse)
2nd: Evan Waddington (Wood River)
3rd: Justin White (David City)
4th: Julian Ramon (Valentine)
5th: Dawson Hogue (Conestoga)
6th: Mason Schleis (Shelby-Rising City)
Garret Kluthe (Ord)
One of the few brackets in class C where the top two are set to meet in the semifinals. Both Hernandez and Heimes have separated themselves from the field and should provide an exciting semifinal matchup. Hernandez has rounded into form after missing most of the season and will face the winner of Mackley from Hershey and Mues from Arlington. Other tough first round matchup on this side will be Ulmer from Broken Bow and Verzani of Wakefield. Heimes has defeated both Ulmer and Verzani head to head though so he should be in good shape to square off against Hernandez.
Olson from Valentine benefits from having Heimes and Hernandez on the top side. He won’t have an easy road to the finals though as he’ll be tested right out of the gate against returning state medalist Morris from Superior. His quarterfinal match against the winner of Avery from Centennial and Tinker from Pierce should also be close. We’ll have one unranked state medalist in the other quarterfinal. District champ Ray from North Bend is wrestling well at the right time. He’s avenged a few losses form earlier in the season. He’ll have the winner of Montenegro from Madison and Albrecht from Raymond Central, which will be a great first round match as both have the potential to medal. Don’t be shocked if we see a surprise finalist from the bottom side of the bracket as several are very evenly matched.
1st: Melvin Hernandez (David City)
2nd: Chase Olson (Valentine)
3rd: Ty Heimes (Battle Creek)
4th: Cole Ulmer (Broken Bow)
5th: Jacob Ray (North Bend)
6th: Sebastian Montenegro (Madison)
Gavin Avery (Centennial)
Four of the six ranked wrestlers on the top side of the bracket and we’ll have a battle between the top two in the quarterfinals. Bates has won all of the close matches this season and should be slightly favored against Janssen that matchup. Janssen was knocked off by Stone from Sutton who is also on the top side. Stone will likely see Myers from Broken Bow in the quarterfinals. If all of the ranked guys win in the first round, then once again we’ll see a situation where one of them cannot medal. Don’t look for any of these guys to make excuses though, because they all believe they can win the whole thing as this is one of the closest and highly competitive weights in class C.
Warner from Louisville is really peaking at the right time. He won the C1 district which featured Stone and Janssen and has also beaten the #1 class D wrestler. In the semifinals he’s likely to have the winner of Tracy from Gibbon and Heller from Battle Creek. Vodicka of David City could pose some problems on this side of the bracket. If it’s Warner and Bates in the finals it would be a rematch from earlier this year when Bates won 3-2. Bates also beat Tracy this year 3-1 in OT so the potential Tracy/Warner semifinal should be a good one.
1st: Cooper Bates (Wilber-Clatonia)
2nd: Spencer Warner (Louisville)
3rd: Jacob Tracy (Gibbon)
4th: Joel Myers (Broken Bow)
5th: Jaden Janssen (Crofton/Bloomfield)
6th: Blake Heller (Battle Creek)
Chandler Stone (Sutton)
Petree is opposite of Long and Borer, but that doesn’t mean he’ll have an easy road to the finals. He will have the winner of Wilkins from Arlington and Becker from Southern Valley. Becker could pose some style challenges for Petree. The top quarter of the bracket should be very competitive. Jones from Louisville really set himself up well to capture a state medal by winning his district. He has two wins over first round opponent Thompson from Wilber-Clatonia, but one of those was a one-point match so it could be a close match. The other first round match between Duda and Moore should also be a good matchup with the winner facing Jones with semifinal berth on the line. Look for Petree to make it out of this side in his quest to repeat as state champ.
Long and Borer are heavy favorites to make the semifinals in what is one of the highest profile semifinal matches this year. Borer has a win over possible quarterfinal opponent Schneiderheinz by tech fall this season. Schneiderheinz does have a good chance of coming back for a medal regardless of the result of that quarterfinal matchup. Long could see Zoucha from Malcolm in the quarters. Zoucha has split with Jones and will factor into the medal conversation after making a smart move from 152 to 160 for districts.
1st: Kyle Petree (Aquinas)
2nd: Zachary Borer (North Bend)
3rd: Caleb Long (Valentine)
4th: Dylan Jones (Louisville)
5th: Chase Becker (Southern Valley)
6th: Tucker Schneiderheinz (Central City)
Dylan Zoucha (Malcolm)
State champ Stephen from Valentine has a win by fall over potential quarterfinal opponent Hansen from Tekamah-Herman this season. Hansen will have a tough first round match against Flack from Malcolm. Hull from Logan View has a convincing win over his likely quarterfinal opponent Pomajzl of Wilber-Clatonia. Pomajzl has put together a great season this year and shouldn’t be overlooked. Stephen has had some tough tests this season but look for him to get it done and make the finals.
Hines is making the most of his senior season and has just one loss this season. He’s the favorite to come out of the bottom side as he has wins or common opponent over most of the wrestlers on his side including possible quarterfinal foe Coufal from Aquinas and Moles from Crofton/Bloomfield, who he could see in the semis. Moles should be tested in the first round against Koch from Arlington.
1st: Donald Stephen (Valentine)
2nd: Joel Hines (North Bend)
3rd: Brady Hull (Logan View)
4th: Quinten Moles (Crofton/Bloomfield)
5th: Max Hansen (Tekamah-Herman)
6th: Michael Coufal (Aquinas)
Bradley Pomajzl (Wilber-Clatonia)
Reimers has been almost unstoppable this season. He has wins over most of the rest of the top guys at this weight and should be dominant on his way to a second state title. He will likely have Coalson from Bridgeport in the quarterfinals. Coalson has been sitting just outside of the rankings this season and looks like a good candidate to medal. Deinert from Malcolm has two close wins over Fairbanks from Bishop Neumann, and the two could potentially match up in the quarterfinals. Fairbanks will face a good test from McGinley of Valentine in the first round.
The big potential matchup on the bottom will come in the quarterfinals with Poppe from Crofton/Bloomfield and Mueller of North Bend. Mueller does have a tough first round match against Lech of Ord. Poppe beat Mueller 8-3 earlier in the year, but Mueller has been wrestling really well lately. C4 district champ Feldner from Kearney Catholic set himself up well for a run to the semifinals. Hawthorne of Battle Creek is a likely quarterfinal match for Feldner.
1st: Joseph Reimers (Aquinas)
2nd: Ethan Poppe (Crofton/Bloomfield)
3rd: Dalton Mueller (North Bend)
4th: Haydn Deinert (Malcolm)
5th: Matthew Feldner (Kearney Catholic)
6th: Logan Coalson (Bridgeport)
Luke Fairbanks (Bishop Neumann)
Ord’s Ethan Gabriel has set atop the rankings all season. His road to a repeat finals appearance won’t be an easy one as he could meet up with Fuchs of Pierce in the quarterfinals. Fuchs suffered just his second setback of the season in the district finals. In the other quarter district champ Marx will face returning medalist McGahan in the first round. If McGahan is at full strength this should be a great match. Kee from Gibbon will also face a tough test against Kramer of Louisville, who has notched some good wins in recent weeks. Very tough to predict who emerges to make the semifinals from the top quarter.
The bottom side isn’t any easier than the top. Gay from Arlington knocked off Kee in the district finals, but if he makes the quarters he’ll have to get past Gappa from Kearney Catholic, who pinned him in their only meeting this season. Gappa will have a tough first round match against St. Paul’s Kocian. Those two have also met this season with Gappa winning 10-4. Vasquez from Bridgeport dropped a 1 vs 2 battle to Gabriel in the district finals and has a tough matchup against Cast from Centennial in the first round. Vasquez will likely have Schluckebier from Lincoln Christian in the quarterfinals in a very high-profile matchup.
1st: Ethan Gabriel (Ord)
2nd: Marce Vasquez (Bridgeport)
3rd: Logan Schluckebier (Lincoln Christian)
4th: Ryder Fuchs (Pierce)
5th: Jacob Gappa (Kearney Catholic)
6th: Wyatt Kee (Gibbon)
Austin Marx (Battle Creek)
Hinojosa from Chase County is a big favorite to capture a state title after finishing in second last season. He’ll have the winner of Bailey from Johnson County and Williams from Laurel-Concord in the quarterfinals. Buresh from Aquinas and Sanchez from Wakefield should be a great first round matchup with the winner likely taking on Eilers from David City. Eilers has a win over Buresh by fall this season and could be seeing Hinojosa in the semis.
Broken Bow’s Treyvon Brooks has put together a great season. He’s very dangerous and has a great chance at making the finals. He’ll have Giles from Conestoga in a tough first round matchup. Second round he’ll have the winner of Guerrero and Simmons. Brooks and Simmons were in a close match earlier this season before Brooks got the third period fall. Carlson from Central City didn’t wrestle in the district finals, but if healthy should have a good chance of seeing Brooks in the semifinals. Carlson and Bauers from Centennial will be a great quarterfinal matchup. The bottom has four ranked wrestlers so as we’ve seen in a few other weights, if all four make the quarters then one of them will not get a medal.
1st: Aaron Hinojosa (Chase County)
2nd: Treyvon Brooks (Broken Bow)
3rd: Matthew Eilers (David City)
4th: Noah Carlson (Central City)
5th: Austin Simmons (Centura)
6th: Anthony Buresh (Aquinas)
Kalten Bauers (Centennial)
The top is going to be a fun one to watch with four wrestlers that are state finals contenders. Quarterfinal matchups between Moses of Fillmore Central and Zagurski from Winnebago, as well as Shumaker of Louisville and Jerabek from Arcadia/Loup City will not disappoint. That would result in another scenario where one of these medal caliber wrestlers doesn’t make it into the top six.
Lefferdink will be heavily favored to come out of the bottom side and repeat as state champion. He’ll have the winner of Louder from Hershey and Thompson of Battle Creek in the quarterfinals. Rempe from South Central has just one loss on the season and a semifinal matchup with Lefferdink is likely. A good first round match between Drake from Broken Bow and Goracke from Johnson County will put the winner in good shape to medal.
1st: Caleb Lefferdink (Syracuse)
2nd: Jakob Jerabek (Arcadia/Loup City)
3rd: Hunter Rempe (SCNU#5)
4th: Derrel Zagurski (Winnebago)
5th: Riley Moses (Fillmore Central)
6th: Drew Drake (Broken Bow)
Nathan Louder (Hershey)