Team Race Preview and Prediction:
All through the season it has felt like Burwell was a heavy favorite to win back-to-back state team titles. As we have inched closer to the state tournament, it feels like Elkhorn Valley has closed that gap week by week. After looking at the draws and some district results, it seems like maybe that gap has got even tighter and we are in for a heck of a team race. Elkhorn Valley has 6 projected medals and 2 predicted finalists. Burwell has 4 projected medals with 3 predicted finalists. This race may come down to the backside guys. It may not even come down to the backside medal guys, but who gets more guys close to medaling or sneak through a guy not projected to medal. This could get fun.
Predicted Team Champion: Burwell
Darkhorse Top 5 Team: Oakland Craig
Top 5 Teams:
- Elkhorn Valley
- Elm Creek
Individual Preview and Predictions:
Kester of Neligh Oakdale and defending champion Russell of High Plains appear to be on a collision course to meeting in the semi finals. Kester will have a tough quarterfinal match up against Sauceda of Shelton to get into the semis. Russell should be able to get past Kester to reach the finals again this year.
First day matches to watch at this weight come in the bottom half, highlighted by Lanham of Plainview and Arlt of Oakland Craig in the first round. Should Lanham get past Arlt he would match up with Mrsny of Pender in the quarterfinals, a match which was won by Lanham earlier this season. The other quarterfinal should be Nagel of Morrill and Bennett of Elkhorn Valley. Look for Mrsny to avenge the early season and reach the semis against Nagel and likely reach the finals to face Russell
Predicted Champion: Logan Russell (High Plains)
Darkhorse Meadalist: Hunter Bennett (Elkhorn Valley)
Projected top 6
- Logan Russell High Plains
- Kaiden Mrsny Pender
- Brock Kester Neligh Oakdale
- Jesse Sauceda Shelton
- Eli Lanham Plainview
- Tyler Nagel Morrill
There should be dynamite quarters and semis at this weight. Marshall of Mullen and Miller of Elkhorn Valley should be the first quarter match. While is is expected the Acton of Southern and Ellis of Winside project in the other quarter on the topside. Expect Marshall and Ellis to both reach the semis with Ellis making his way into the final.
Like the top half the quarters at on the bottom side should be just as good. Hamilton of Archbishop Bergan and Wilkinson of Neligh Oakdale look the being the top quarter and Phillipps of Burwell and Smith of Elm Creek projects to be the other quarter. Phillipps and Smith have both missed time late the season with injuries so health and conditioning could go along way in deciding that match up. Look for Smith and Wilkinson to reach the semis a match that was won by Smith earlier this season.
Predicted Champion: Koby Ellis (Winside)
Darkhorse Medalist : Preston Acton (Southern)/Zach Hamilton (Archbishop Bergan)
Projected Top 6
- Koby Ellis Winside
- Koby Smith Elm Creek
- Tate Phillipps Burwell
- Cameron Wilkinson Neligh Oakdale
- Teven Marshall Mullen
- Adam Miller Elkhorn Valley
The top side of 120 could be interesting. We have a 3-way head to head triangle here. Shields of Amherst beat Christensen of Plainview in early January. Christensen beat Reimers of Palmer before Christmas. Reimers beat Shields twice late in the season. Reimers and Shields cant look past first round matches though as they have tough matches Shields draws Wood of Central Valley who has been ranked most of the year and Reimers draws Palmer of North Central has been just outside of them all year long. This is a tough side to predict but Shields and Christensen are the favorites to reach the semis. Isaiah Shields of Amherst is going be the favorite to win that match and reach the finals. If this weight turns upside down on the topside don’t be surprised.
The favorite to win this weight sits in the bottom half in Stewart of Elkhorn Valley. Also on the bottom half sit two wildcards in Eggelston of South Loup and Murrillo of Morrill who recently made their ways to this weight. This will be Eggelston’s 3rd tournament at 120 after making the late season drop from 126 and will be Murrillo’s 2nd after he entered districts at 120 instead of 113 where he had been most of the year. Jones of Twin River and Murrillo of Morrill should be an electric first round match. To put a little more gravy on it, if that match isn’t good enough for us the matchup in the quarters with the winner of that match and Eggelston should be just as good. Look for Eggelston’s size to maybe become factor and hep him reach the semis against Stewart. Stewart is just to solid to not reach the finals here and become the eventual champion.
Predicted Champion: Dillon Stewart (Elkhorn Valley)
Darkhorse Medalist: Nathan Murrillo (Morrill)/Zak Palmer (North Central)
Projected Top 6
- Dillon Stewart Elkhorn Valley
- Isaiah Shields Amherst
- Tayten Eggelston South Loup
- Nate Christensen Plainview
- Ruger Reimers Palmer
- Jaxson Jones Twin River
The matchup most fans should want to see on this side is Ibach of Central Valley and Nelson of Crawford. Ibach will have to get through Casey of Thayer Central in the quarters. Nelson will have to get through Guerrero of Southwest to reach the semis. That semis match if is happens should be great but look for Nelson to sneak through to the finals.
2x Champ Pawloski of Pleasanton looks to capture his 3rd state title standing in his way to reach the finals looks to be Gracey of Mullen in the quarters and Araujo of Bayard in the semis. Araujo will have to get past Gideon of Burwell of reach the semis.
Predicted Champion: Tyler Pawloski (Pleasanton)
Darkhorse Medalist: Coy Gideon (Burwell)
Projected Top 6
- Tyler Pawloski Pleasanton
- Trevor Nelson Crawford
- Alex Araujo Bayard
- Josh Ibach Central Valley
- Kaden Guerrero Southwest
- Brady Gracey Mullen
Ostrom of Burwell and Swenson of Oakland Craig are on a collision course to the semis. Ostrom likely draws Loviitt of Mullen in the quarters while Swenson draws the dangerous match up of Smith in the quarters. If Ostrom both reach the semis the winner of that match should be the eventual champion. Ostrom looks to be the favorite in that match but it truly feels like a coin flip.
Mckibbin of Bayard and Herley of Neligh Oakdale look to be the semifinalist here. Mckibbin will likely draw Steinkraus of Plainview in the quarters while Herley likely gets Martinez of Central Valley. Mckibbin has been solid all year and should win that match up.
Predicticted Champion: Joel Ostrom (Burwell)
Darkhorse Medalist: Jade Lovitt (Mullen)
Projected Top 6
- Joel Ostrom Burwell
- Mitchell Mckibbin Bayard
- Dylan Swenson Oakland Craig
- Andrew Herley Neligh Oakdale
- Trent Steinkraus Plainview
- Ian Smith Maxwell
3x Undefeated State Champ Cameron Riggs of Maxwell looks to capture his 4th state title. He will draw the winner of the highlighted first round match in Spatz of East Butler and Johnson of Archbishop Bergan. Then they likely semifinals match with be with McNeill of Oakland Craig. Ultimately Riggs should reach his 4th final.
Stewart of Elkhorn Valley should reach the semi finals here pretty easily. He will likely draw Schmit of Randolph in the quarters. Maybe the first round match to watch in the whole class will happen on this bottom side where Simants pulled off an upset in the district finals but draws a tough match with Wortman of Creighton right out of the gates Thursday morning. If Wortman can get past Simants he will get Racicky in the quarters before facing Stewart in the finals. This may be the final to watch in Class D to see if Stewart can wreck history.
Predicted Champion: Cameron Riggs (Maxwell)
Darkhorse Medalist: Blake Racicky (Ansley Litchfield)
Projected Top 6
- Cameron Riggs Maxwell
- Darren Stewart Elkhorn Valley
- Jefferson McNeill Oakland Craig
- Derek Wortman Creighton
- Seth Simants Stapleton
- Jacob Johnson Archbishop Bergan
The top half belongs to Mcfarland of Elkhorn Valley. Standing in his path to the finals is White of Sitherland in the quarters and Bloomquist of Randolph in the semis. Bloomquist will likely need to beat Polen of North Central in the quarters to get there.
Let Fast forward to the quarters as quickly as possibly here. They are going to be dynamite. The bad news, one of the quarterfinals losers isn’t going to medal at the state tournament but definitely a worthy of earning a state medal. The top quarter should give us Riggs of Maxwell and Coons of Twin Loup, which was a one-point match earlier this year that Coons won. The bottom quarter should give us Florell of Amherst and Bohac of East Butler. Look for Coons Florell round 3 in the semi finals. Coons has been wrestling extremely well late in the season which gives him the edge to reach the finals.
Predicted Champion: Joshua Mcfarland (Elkhorn Valley)
Darkhorse Medalist: James Polen (North Central)
Projected Top 6
- Joshua Mcfarland Elkhorn Valley
- Colby Coons Twin Loup
- Sam Florell Amherst
- Brett Riggs Maxwell
- William White Sutherland
- Brandon Bloomquist Randolph
Donscheski of Palmer and Garcia of Morrill look to be on a Collision Course to the semis. Donscheski likely draws Smith of West Holt in the quarters while Garcia Likely gets Mckeon of Elm Creek. Donscheski and Garcia should be one of the better semi finals matches Friday night but look for Donscheski to reach the finals.
Schutz of Elwood has been one of the best Freshmen in Class D this season and will look to reach the semis and gets his first state medal. He will likely draw Soule of High Plains in the quarters. Jensen of Burwell looks to also reach the semis but will need to beat likely opponent Standiford of Hitchcock County in the quarters. Jensen will look to keep his undefeated season in tact by beating Schutz in the semis.
Predicted Champion: Connor Donscheski (Palmer)
Darkhorse Medalist: Dylan Soule (High Plains)
Projected Top 6
- Connor Donscheski Palmer
- Bode Jensen Burwell
- Austin Garcia Morrill
- Conner Schutz Elwood
- Wyatt Standiford Hitchcock County
- Austin Smith West Holt
Kulhanek of Howells dodge will look to reach his 2nd straight final. He will likely draw Oliver of Pender in the quartes and Wichmann of Palmer in the semis. Wichmann will likely need to beat Mcgill of North Platte St. Pats in the quarters. Look for Kulhanek to edge out Wichmann in a close match in the semi finals.
A first round match between Baasch of Amherst and Dawe of Burwell will highlight the bottom side of this bracket. If Baasch can escape that first round match victorious look for him to reach the state finals at this weight. Baasch’s road to the finals doesn’t get any easier in the quarters where he likely draws Hunter of Bayard. Look for Ratkovec East Butler and Schroeder of Twin river to wrestle in the other quarter with Ratkovec being the likely winner. Baasch and Ratkovec should be a good semi but it feels like a match Baasch should be favored in.
Predicted Champion: Miles Kulhanek (Howells-Dodge)
Darkhorse Medalist: Jayden Schroeder (Twin River)
Projected to 6
- Miles Kulhanek Howells Dodge
- Trace Baasch Amherst
- Spencer Wichmann Palmer
- Colten Ratkovec East Butler
- Brady Oliver Pender
- Karsen Hunter Bayard
Atkeson of St. Mary’s suffered his first loss of the season in the district final but shoud be able to reach the semi finals. Atkeson likely draws Schaecher of Elkhorn Valley in the quarters and Howell of Morrill in the semis. Howell will need to beat likely opponent McCurdy of Alma in the quarters. Atkeson and Howell will be a very interesting semi final but look for Atkeson to win and reach the finals.
The huge question on the bottom half of the bracket sits in the health of 2x Champ Walker of Elm Creek. The very talented Walker of Elm Creek injury defaulted 2 matches at the district tournament and draws Baptista of Friend 1st round. If healthy and ready to wrestle Walker is good enough to win this weight at the state tournament and become a 3x Champ. Pending he is healthy and wins opening round Walker would likely draw Markvicka of High Plains in the quarters before clashing with Duffy of Kenesaw in the semi finals. Dufy would likely need to beat Villwok of Archbishop Bergan in the quarters. With the status of Walker in doubt and the result of a match earlier this season with Duffy, Duffy looks like he will make the state finals.
Predicted Champion: Stephen Duffy (Kenesaw)
Darkhorse Medalist: Wyatt Mader (Crawford)
Projected Top 6
- Stephen Duffy Kenesaw
- Jared Atkeson St. Mary’s
- Devon Walker Elm Creek
- Will Howell Morrill
- Brock Schaecher Elkhorn Valley
- Ethan Villwok Archbishop Bergan
Dawe of Burwell has a tough quarters match with Heese of Pender. Should Dawe get past Heese he would likely see Pearson of Cambridge in the semis. Pearson would likely face Running Hawk of Hay Spring in the quarters. Dawe does have a common opponent win over Pearson this season so he would be the favorite to reach the state finals. That match could go either way though as it is a bit of a toss up.
We should get the likely semi finals match of #1 vs #2 in the semis in Wood of Perkins County and Duffy of Kenesaw. Wood would likely need to beat Klientobe of Elkhorn Valley in the quarters to reach the semis. Duffy will most likely draw Haussermann of Franklin in the quarters. The semi final match between Wood and Duffy may be 1A on the list of possible Friday night match ups to see. We will give Wood the slight edge to beat Duffy and be the eventual champ.
Predicted Champion: Beau Wood (Perkins County)
Darkhorse Medalist: Chase Haussermann (Franklin)/ Bryce Running Hawk (Hay Springs)
Projected Top 6
- Beau Wood Perkins County
- Ryan Dawe Burwell
- Daniel Duffy Kenesaw
- Matt Pearson Cambridge
- Layne Heese Pender
- Shawn Klientobe Elkhorn Valley
This is that weight that feels to be the most wide-open heading into the state tournament. It seems like there’s about 5 or 6 guys capable of winning this weight
A 1st round match up on Thursday between Rezac of East Butler and Rahn of GACC highlights the topside of this bracket. The winner of that match should see Smith of Tri County in the semis. Smith looks to be wrestling really well this year and is likely the favorite to reach the semis. Downey appears to be the possibly match up for Smith in the Semis. Downey will likely need to beat Kvanvig of Mullen in the quarters.
Preston Walker comes into the state tournament at a perfect 43-0. Draws a tough 1st tough round match with Dillon of Palmyra. Should he get past that match the likely quartes match is Stacken of Creighton where he would once again be a favorite. Racicky of Ansley/Litchfield will look to meet Walker in the semis but will likely need to beat Bogard of Amherst in the quarters first. Walker owns 2 victories over Racicky this season and would be the favorite to reach the finals.
Predicted Champion: Preston Walker (Elm Creek)
Darkhorse Medalist: Riley Dillon (Palmyra)
Projected Top 6
- Preston Walker Elm Creek
- Cooper Smith Tri County
- Seth Racicky Ansley/Litchfield
- Cody Downey Southwest
- Jaden Rahn GACC
- Brandon Rezac East Butler
Schuyler Brown of Overton looks to be the favorite on the top half to reach the finals. He will likely see Barnts of Tri County in the quarters and possibly Jung of Palmyra in the semis. Jung would need to pull a mini upset and beat district champion Hassett of Mullen in the 1st round before meeting up with Thompson of Pender in the quarters.
Andrews of Cambridge seems to be the favorite on the bottom side and likely meet Brown in the finals. Andrews would need to get past Starr in the quarters which is always a scary match at the state tournament win it seems like they have wrestled a million times this season. Andrews hold a healthy advantage in head to head wins over Starr this season but this is always a scary match up at the state tournament. Andrews will likely see Rosenkrans of St. Mary’s in the semis. Rosenkrans would need to beat likely opponent Escalante in the quarters.
Predicted Champion: Schuyler Brown (Overton)
Darkhorse Medalist: John Hill (Morrill) /Jon Escalante (Winside)
Projected Top 6
- Schuyler Brown Overton
- Seth Andrews Cambridge
- Anthony Starr Southwest
- Cole Rosenkrans St. Mary’s
- Jaden Jung Palmyra
- Jesse Thompson Pender
Schultz of Cambridge and Payne of Hemingford appear to be on a crash course to the semis. Schults will likely see Cave of Weeping Water in the quarters. Payne will likely need to beat Buss in the quarters. Payne hold a common opponent win over Schultz which make Payne the favorite to reach the finals.
The Friday night semi final match here should be a rematch of last years state finals match between Hughes of Burwell and Skaggs of Axtell. Skaggs will likely need to beat Hale of Oakland Craig in the quarters to get to the semis. Hughes will likely need to beat Ehart of Dundy County Stratton in the quarters to reach the semis. Defending Champ Hughes is the favorite to reach the finals and win another state title.
Predicted Champion: Thomas Hughes (Burwell)
Darkhorse Medalist: Marcus Cave (Weeping Water)
Projected Top 6
- Thomas Hughes Burwell
- Cade Payne Hemingford
- Aj Skaggs Axtell
- Dakota Ehart Dundy County Stratton
- Tyler Schultz Cambridge
- Jade Buss West Holt