Team Race Preview and Prediction:

At the beginning the season, Skutt Catholic looked like the favorites to repeat as team champions. As the season wore on, the Skyhawks saw many of their high point scorers miss time and lose a few matches. Meanwhile, Hastings started to surge and took over the top spot. Teams like Blair, Sidney and Scottsbluff were able to prove they had the firepower to hang in the top 5. Northwest proved that they have depth to go with their firepower, and Lexington proved their depth as well. Skutt Catholic has a very tough schedule that prepares them for the post season, and they have a knack of peaking when it counts the most. Heading into state, only 13 projected points separates Skutt from Northwest, so any big upsets could make big shifts in the team scores. Racking up bonus point wins is another factor that will allow teams to close or widen the gap.

Predicted Team Champion: Skutt Catholic
Darkhorse Top 5 Team: Sidney
Top 5 Teams:
1. Skutt Catholic
2. Blair
3. Scottsbluff
4. Hastings
5. Northwest

Individual Preview and Predictions:

Top Half:
A lot of intrigue on this side of the bracket, with three ranked wrestlers landing on this half. Throw in Nate Rubino from Skutt, who was ranked before missing a month of the season, and this side of the bracket could provide some drama. The first-round match-up between Rubino and #6 Tristen Obermiller of Adams Central should determine who will advance to the semi-finals to likely face #3 Paul Ruff of Alliance or #2 Gabe Grice of Omaha Gross. Grice will look to continue his undefeated season and will have to get through this gauntlet.

Bottom Half:
#2 Paul Garcia of Scottsbluff looks to be in fine form and should face #4 Tanner York in the top quarterfinal. On the lower side Caden Svoboda had a great district tournament and is likely to face Jalen Maher from Auburn in the bottom quarterfinal.

Predicted Champion: Paul Garcia (Scottsbluff)
Darkhorse Medalist: Nate Rubino (Skutt Catholic)

Projected Top 6:
1. Paul Garcia (Scottsbluff)
2. Gabe Grice (Gross Catholic)
3. Paul Ruff (Alliance)
4. Tanner York (Beatrice)
5. Tristen Obermiller (Adams Central)
6. Caden Svoboda (Auburn)

Top Half:
On paper, this half of the bracket doesn’t seem to have as much firepower as the bottom half, but still plenty of quality wrestlers who can push for a state title. Jeremy Larson from Gothenburg has been on a tear lately winning his conference and district tournaments. The winner of #5 Collin Quandt from Northwest and Tyler Curtis of Fort Calhoun, will have their hands full with Larson in the quarterfinals. Drew Arnold of Beatrice looks to be on a collision course with #4 Caleb Lazure of Skutt for a chance to reach the semi-finals.

Bottom Half:
This side of the bracket is loaded with talent that should produce some great match-ups. #2 Bryce Brown of Hastings brings his undefeated record into the tournament and will likely face #6 Anthony Long of Plattsmouth in the quarters. In the lower half, #3 William Lomax of Boys Town and #1 Jackson Nielsen of Blair look to meet in the quarters in an intense match-up. You won’t want to miss the semi-finals on this half.

Predicted Champion: Jackson Nielsen (Blair)
Darkhorse Medalist: Anthony Long (Plattsmouth)

Projected Top 6:
1. Jackson Nielsen (Blair)
2. Caleb Lazure (Skutt Catholic)
3. Bryce Brown (Hastings)
4. William Lomax (Boys Town)
5. Drew Arnold (Beatrice)
6. Collin Quandt (Northwest)

Top Half:
This weight is one of the most wide open in all of Class B. On this half, the first-round match-up between Andy Rojas of Lexington and #3 Shawn Buchanan of Crete is certainly notable. Rojas spent some time in the rankings earlier in the season and battled his way through the B4 district with two overtime wins on his way to the title. #5 Grayson Fries of Northwest and #4 Chase Larsen of Plattsmouth look to be headed for a match-up in the quarterfinals. Larsen is back on the scene after missing some time, and a match-up with Fries will be an interesting contrast in styles.

Bottom Half:
Two very intriguing first round matches litter this side of the bracket. Jace Russman of Cozad will face Noah Talmadge of Ralston, with the winner likely facing #1 Blayne Kile. The other intriguing match is #2 Evan Steggs of Alliance versus Joey Orsi of Skutt. Orsi missed a considerable amount of time this season, but finished 3rd behind Larsen and Talmadge. Orsi was ranked for a portion of the year, so look for a great match there. The winner will likely take on #6 Hank Frost of Blair in the quarters.

Predicted Champion: Chase Larsen (Plattsmouth)
Darkhorse Medalist: Joey Orsi (Skutt Catholic)

Projected Top 6:
1. Chase Larsen (Plattsmouth)
2. Blayne Kile (Hastings)
3. Evan Steggs (Alliance)
4. Hank Frost (Blair)
5. Shawn Buchanan (Crete)
6. Grayson Fries (Northwest

Top Half:
#2 Trevor Kluck of Aurora will face Brady Fago of Lexington in the first round. Kluck is having an amazing freshman season and Fago finished 6th at state last year. The winner of this match will take on the winner of Chance Taylor of Plattsmouth and Cameron Muhs of Wayne. On the lower portion, Gage Perry of Columbus Lakeview and #4 Kaden Vowers of Sidney should match-up in the quarters.

Bottom Half:
Tons of firepower on this side of the bracket with four ranked wrestlers. #1 Walker Moore of Blair should advance to face either Gage Stokey of Ogallala or #5 Izaak Hunsley of Hastings in the quarterfinals. #6 Nate Rocheleau of Gering will face off against Broc Hall of Bennington in the first round, with the winner likely facing #3 Nicholas Stoltenberg of Skutt in the quarters. Should Moore and Stoltenberg advance to the semi-finals, that winner will carry tons of momentum into the 126 final.

Predicted Champion: Walker Moore (Blair)
Darkhorse Medalist: Nate Rocheleau (Gering)

Projected Top 6:
1. Walker Moore (Blair)
2. Trevor Kluck (Aurora)
3. Nicholas Stoltenberg (Skutt Catholic)
4. Kaden Vowers (Sidney)
5. Izaak Hunsley (Hastings)
6. Gage Perry (Columbus Lakeview)

Top Half:
The headline match in the first round on this half is #2 Mario Ybarra of Scottsbluff versus #3 Zach Orton of Blair. Both are coming off tough losses in their districts and are looking to rebound. The winner will likely face #4 Ben Garland of Beatrice. On the top portion, Blake Sears of Crete will face Malachi Hood of Adams Central and #5 Wyatt Hotz of Gothenburg will take on Austin Barnts of Fairbury.

Bottom Half:
#1 Trey Arellano of Sidney looks to continue his quest for a second straight state title on this side of the bracket. He will likely face #6 Mason Brumbaugh of Hastings in the quarterfinals. Joel Lemburg of Columbus Lakeview and Juan Vergara of Wayne should match-up on the lower side in the quarters. Vergara had a great district tournament as he dismantled Orton on his way to the title.

Predicted Champion: Trey Arellano (Sidney)
Darkhorse Medalist: Blake Sears (Crete)

Projected Top 6:
1. Trey Arellano (Sidney)
2. Mario Ybarra (Scottsbluff)
3. Zach Orton (Blair)
4. Ben Garland (Beatrice)
5. Wyatt Hotz (Gothenburg)
6. Joel Lemburg (Columbus Lakeview)

Top Half:
This is a top heavy bracket with four ranked wrestlers landing on this side. #1 Devon’Tae Gutierrez of Scottsbluff and #4 Devin DeLancey headed for a likely match-up in the quarterfinals. #6 Nolan Barry will take on #3 Ray Loftis of West Point in round one, with the winner facing either Noah Larson of Gothenburg or Harrison Gocke of York. Any one of these four wrestlers could advance to the semi-finals, it should be a treat to watch.

Bottom Half:
#2 Connor Laux of Hastings should advance to the semi-finals without too much trouble. #5 Brody Raines of Sidney takes on Zachary Nielsen of Plattsmouth and Miguel Roman of Schuyler will face off against Logan Slater of Fairbury in the first round. Raines and Slater should meet for a chance to challenge Laux in the semi-finals.

Predicted Champion: Devon’Tae Gutierrez (Scottsbluff)
Darkhorse Medalist: Ray Loftis (West Point)

Projected Top 6:
1. Devon’Tae Gutierrez (Scottsbluff)
2. Connor Laux (Hastings)
3. Devin DeLancey (Bennington)
4. Harrison Gocke (York)
5. Nolan Barry (Adams Central)
6. Brody Raines (Sidney)

Top Half:
#1 Scott Fulsos of York is the favorite to advance on this side of the bracket. In the semifinals, he will likely face the winner of #6 Zachary Hurlbert of Holdrege and #4 Evan Canoyer of Waverly. Fulsos is 52-0 on the season and is looking for that coveted first state title.

Bottom Half:
On this side, there is plenty of intrigue to go around. #5 KC Higer of Sidney will likely face the winner of Carson Johansen of Crete and Caleb Ackles of Adams Central. In the lower portion, #3 Stone Mendez of Skutt will face the winner of #2 Jorgen Johnson of Alliance and Jordan Moyer of Nebraska City. The Johnson/Moyer match is very intriguing. Johnson is rumored to have sustained an injury at districts and Moyer just came back from an injury in January but rolled thru his district.

Predicted Champion: Scott Fulsos (York)
Darkhorse Medalist: Jacob Lemmon (Chadron)

Projected Top 6:
1. Scott Fulsos (York)
2. Stone Mendez (Skutt Catholic)
3. Jorgen Johnson (Alliance)
4. KC Higer (Sidney)
5. Evan Canoyer (Waverly)
6. Zachary Hurlbert (Holdrege)

Top Half:
On this half of the bracket. #1 Derek Robb of Sidney looks to join the elite group of four-time state champions. Along the way, he will likely face #6 Zeth Gerkensmeyer of Columbus Lakeview in the quarters and #4 Kaleb Canoyer of Waverly in the semi-finals. Should the Robb/Canoyer match come to fruition, it will be a very intriguing match-up. Canoyer is one of the most put together wrestlers in all of Nebraska and has a style of wrestling that Robb likely hasn’t seen. Like his brother Evan at 145, Kaleb should get the chance to derail an undefeated senior’s quest for a state title.

Bottom Half:
This half should produce a #5 Matt Harvey of Norris versus #2 Dalton Quandt of Northwest match in the quarters. #3 Tomas Margritz of Lexington should square off against Carson Core of Seward in the other quarterfinal. All four wrestlers are very capable of advancing to the finals.

Predicted Champion: Derek Robb (Sidney)
Darkhorse Medalist: Josh Nuckolls (Wahoo)

Projected Top 6:
1. Derek Robb (Sidney)
2. Dalton Quandt (Northwest)
3. Kaleb Canoyer (Waverly)
4. Tomas Margritz (Lexington)
5. Matt Harvey (Norris)
6. Zeth Gerkensmeyer (Columbus Lakeview)

Top Half:
Probably one the most loaded bracket half in the entire Class B tourney. It features four ranked wrestlers along with Alex Van Dyke of Skutt who seems to be hitting his stride at the right time. VanDyke should face #6 Zane Bennett of Wahoo in the quarters. Bennett has not wrestled much this season but has plenty of firepower. On the lower portion, the first-round match-up between #5 Jayden Wooten of Plattsmouth and #3 Logan MacDonald of Bennington should be interesting. The winner should face #2 Pierro Garcia of Lexington in the quarters. The semi-final on this side should be a barn burner.

Bottom Half:
#4 Cauy Shaw of O’Neill will have an interesting quarterfinal match between either Garrett Cornwell of Boone Central of Josh Schmutz of Elkhorn. Cornwell took down Shaw a week ago, and Schmutz had a nice run in his district tournament. #1 Rhett Trail looks to be the favorite to advance to the semis on the lower side of this half of the bracket.

Predicted Champion: Rhett Trail (Nebraska City)
Darkhorse Medalist: Alex Van Dyke (Skutt Catholic)

Projected Top 6:
1. Rhett Trail (Nebraska City)
2. Logan MacDonald (Bennington)
3. Pierro Garcia (Lexington)
4. Cauy Shaw (O’Neill)
5. Zane Bennett (Wahoo)
6. Garrett Cornwell (Boone Central Newman Grove)

Top Half:
#1 Damen Pape of Hastings lands on this half and looks to keep his undefeated record alive on his way to a state title. He will likely have to go through #6 Ace York of Fairbury in the quarters and the winner of #4 Tucker Hancock of Wahoo and #5 Riley Kopf of Lexington in the semi-finals.

Bottom Half:
On this half, #3 Dalton Lewis should reach the quarters and face either Garret Savick of Cozad or Blake Westerby of Northwest. In the lower portion, Clark Riesen of Chadron has had a solid season and will face Cedric Relford of Elkhorn in the first round. The winner will likely face #2 Billy Higgins of Skutt. A Higgins/Lewis semi-final doesn’t seem out of the question.

Predicted Champion: Billy Higgins (Skutt Catholic)
Darkhorse Medalist: Clark Riesen (Chadron)

Projected Top 6:
1. Billy Higgins (Skutt Catholic)
2. Damen Pape (Hastings)
3. Dalton Lewis (Blair)
4. Riley Kopf (Lexington)
5. Tucker Hancock (Wahoo)
6. Blake Westerby (Northwest)

Top Half:
#3 Eli Jansen of Skutt and #1 Gavin Eason or Norris look to be destined for a match-up in the quarterfinals. Eason took a medical forfeit in the district finals, so his status is somewhat up in the air. #6 Alex Byington of Elkhorn should be the other semi-finalist on this half.

Bottom Half:
Not a lot of household names on this half, other than #2 Prestin Melroy of Holdrege and #4 Jeb South of Northwest. These two should match-up in the quarterfinals. The winner of that match may represent this half in the state finals. Seth Firmanik of Fairbury had a nice district and could throw a wrench into things.

Predicted Champion: Gavin Eason (Norris)
Darkhorse Medalist: Broc Lavelle (Seward)

Projected Top 6:
1. Gavin Eason (Norris)
2. Prestin Melroy (Holdrege)
3. Eli Jansen (Skutt Catholic)
4. Jeb South (Northwest)
5. Alex Byington (Elkhorn)
6. Seth Firmanik (Fairbury)

Top Half:
The big question on this side, is can #2 Grady Griess continue his dominating sophomore campaign and reach a potential final match-up with Kolterman? Griess will face the winner of Ben Altman of Skutt and Zach Reikofski of Fairbury in the quarters. Should he advance, he would likely face the winner of #3 Devin Pfeifer of Plattsmouth and #5 Cody Ybarra of Gering. Griess has already defeated Pfeifer but has not faced Ybarra.

Bottom Half:
#1 Sam Kolterman should advance to the semi-finals and likely set up a showdown with either #6 Noah Gugelman of Gothenburg or #4 Wren Allen of Columbus Scotus. Kolterman hasn’t been slowed down this year posting a perfect 43-0 record thus far.

Predicted Champion: Sam Kolterman (Wahoo)
Darkhorse Medalist: Zach Reikofski (Fairbury)

Projected Top 6:
1. Sam Kolterman (Wahoo)
2. Grady Griess (Northwest)
3. Wren Allen (Columbus Scotus)
4. Devin Pfeifer (Plattsmouth)
5. Cody Ybarra (Gering)
6. Noah Gugelman (Gothenburg)

Top Half:
#2 Bronson Titus took down #1 Taylor in the district finals last weekend in dominating fashion. However, his path to the gold is filled with plenty of potential road blocks. Erik Pike from Ashland-Greenwood is his likely quarterfinal opponent. Pike lost in OT to #4 Maganda at districts, and could give Titus fits. In the lower portion, #5 Cooper Kiser of Northwest faces Hunter Jorgensen of Wayne in the first round and Ryan Christensen of Ogallala faces Jon Merten of Boone Central. Merten should advance to the quarters, but the Kiser versus Jorgensen match could go either way.

Bottom Half:
In this half, #1 Kaleb Taylor of McCook and #3 Jack Sutton of Wahoo should meet up in the quarters, with the winner likely facing #4 Jesus Maganda of Schuyler in the semi-finals. All three are more than capable of not only winning this half, but the gold as well.

Predicted Champion: Bronson Titus (Holdrege)
Darkhorse Medalist: Hunter Jorgensen (Wayne)

Projected Top 6:
1. Bronson Titus (Holdrege)
2. Kaleb Taylor (McCook)
3. Jack Sutton (Wahoo)
4. Jesus Maganda (Schuyler)
5. Cooper Kiser (Northwest)
6. Erik Pike (Ashland-Greenwood)

Top Half:
#5 Zachary Wioskowski of Adams Central and #4 Garrett Nelson of Scottsbluff look like they are on a collision course to meet in the semi-finals. However, don’t discount Robert Liles of Auburn as someone who can shake up this half of the bracket. Liles lost in the district finals, but is very capable to advance deep into the state tournament.

Bottom Half:
There is tons of intrigue in this half of the bracket. The first round match up between Nathan Lauder of Alliance and #6 Marcos Martinez of Northwest shouldn’t disappoint. The winner will likely face Mike Leatherdale of Wayne. Leatherdale bumped up from 220 late in the season and has been on a tear ever since. On the lower portion, the likely match-up between #2 Jade Wurth of Lexington and #1 Noah Stafursky of York should be a great quarterfinal match with both wrestlers just having two losses on the season.

Predicted Champion: Noah Stafursky (York)
Darkhorse Medalist: Marcos Martinez (Northwest)

Projected Top 6:
1. Noah Stafursky (York)
2. Garrett Nelson (Scottsbluff)
3. Jade Wurth (Lexington)
4. Mike Leatherdale (Wayne)
5. Zach Wioskowski (Adams Central)
6. Nathan Lauder (Alliance)

By Ross Bartachek (@rossbchek)

Lead Editor of IA Wrestle

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