Team Race Projections:

1st: Valentine– The Badgers took care of business in the C4 district. They are bringing 9 qualifiers and all have at least a decent shot at bringing home a medal. Their three predicted champions give them the high end points they need and with their added depth they appear to have around a 30-point cushion without factoring in bonus points. They are looking for their third consecutive state championship.

2nd: Broken Bow – The back to back state dual champs qualified 8 to Omaha. Like Valentine, every qualifier on the team has a decent shot at finishing in the top six. The Indians will miss second ranked junior Patrick Powers who didn’t qualify due to injury. They’re going to need every last point they can get to keep pace with Valentine and also keep the next five teams or so behind them at bay as the difference between 2nd and 6th could be very slim.

3rd: David City – The Scouts are bringing 9 qualifiers to Omaha. You won’t see their name on the leaderboard right away as they fill 9 of the last 10 weights. Like most of the teams in toward the top they didn’t push through one of their ranked wrestlers in Harris who was just in a super tough weight. However, with three potential finalists in White, Styskal and Vodicka and a few other good opportunities for medals they should be able to make a push for the runner-up trophy.

4th: Aquinas – The Monarchs qualified a Class C high of 11 qualifiers, and that is without 6th ranked Scott who also went down with an injury at the district tournament. Their depth alone should push them up toward the top two. They have two projected finalists which will help them put up some high point totals. Reimers is a bonus point machine so that will add to their projected total.

5th: Battle Creek – The Braves are bringing 8 wrestlers from their home district to the state tournament.  Like David City and Valentine they have three potential finalists. They can certainly finish higher than fifth with good tournaments from Lade, Hawthorne and Marx who could all make a push toward a top three finish.

6th: Arlington – It’s hard to explain just how good it was for the Eagles to move their 170-220 each up one spot for districts. They went from outside the top six at 170 with Wilkins, to a probable medalist at 182. Warner up from 182 qualifies at 195 with a losing record. Gay up from 195 is probably even money on winning a state title at 220 and they pushed Duarte through at 285 when he was on the edge of qualifying at 220. 8 qualifiers in total for Arlington this year and a really good shot at a top five finish.

7th: Malcolm – The Clippers have a good opportunity to get three wrestlers into the top three which would get them a minimum of 49 points and likely more on top of that with bonus points. If Stewart can grab a medal at 160 that could push them closer to the top five.

8th: Milford – The Eagles qualified 6 in the lightest weight classes. All six can make a run at a medal. They have a few good chances at making the state finals in Schluckebier and Scdoris. However, both will need to bring their A game as they are on the tougher sides of the bracket. Scdoris will have a big quarterfinal matchup against McNulty who beat him earlier in the year.

9th: Logan View – The Raiders are probably the hardest team to position as they could make a run at the top five or be on the edge of the top ten based on what type of tournament they have. With 10 qualifiers and several medal caliber wrestlers, logic indicates they should be in the top ten pretty comfortably. They’ll need to pull a few upsets here and there to keep pace with some of the top teams’ top end firepower, but their depth has been there all season long so expect it to remain the same in Omaha. The previously mentioned McNulty and Scdoris match will be a big one to watch on Thursday.

10th: Wood River – Wood River brings 6 qualifiers after having a fantastic district tournament. The Eagles have four pretty good opportunities at a medal and Tinajero has really come on strong at 120 toward the end of the season. With a good tournament they could finish a few spots higher.

Other Contenders:

Pierce – The Bluejays could get some big top end points from Bolling and Fuchs. Their other four qualifiers need to score some points to push them into the top ten as they are right on the edge.

Ord – The Chanticleers were hit hard by injuries this year, losing medalists Rowse and Gabriel along with former qualifier Petska. However, there is still have a chance at a top ten finish. They bring five to Omaha and all could score points for them.

Sutton – The Mustangs led by top ranked Lee Carlson need to see some points from their other five qualifiers. Hinrichs is opposite of White so not only is he a darkhorse medalists but could make a state finals run which could propel them to a top ten finish.

Oakland-Craig – The Knights will need to maximize their points from McNeill and Hale as both have tough roads to finish as high as they were ranked when the team was ranked 10th. Good tournaments from their other three qualifiers could still get them close to the top ten.

Boone Central – The Cardinals look like they have the opportunities to win matches with all five of their qualifiers. If they can get another medalist or two to compliment Merten at 220 then they should be close to a top ten finish.

Individual Weight Breakdown:


Top Half:
The top part of the bracket should be interesting to watch play out. #4 Bolling from Pierce is in the top quarter while #5 Battershaw of Valentine and #6 Ancheta from Wood River in the other. None of them have met up this year. If Bolling gets by Edwards in the first round he will have a tough quarterfinal against the winner of Schoepf from Centennial and Boone Central’s Dozler. Ancheta has pinned his first round opponent Busse. The first round matchup between Battershaw and dark horse Vandenberg should be a good one. Vandenberg lost 3-2 to Ancheta earlier in the year and has been ranked most of the season.

Bottom Half:
The top two wrestlers at this weight are in the bottom part of the bracket in #1 Schluckebier and #2 Benavides. If Benavides wins first round over Goebel he’ll likely have a tough battle against Reyes who has been ranked as high as #3 this season. Schluckebier could see Gibbon’s Escandon in the quarterfinals. Barring any upsets we should be in for a fantastic semifinal matchup between unbeaten Schluckebier and one loss Benavides.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Konner Schluckebier (Milford)
2nd: Brock Bolling (Pierce)
3rd: Casey Benavides (Bridgeport)
4th: Dylan Ancheta (Wood River)
5th: Jarrett Battershaw (Valentine)
6th: Julio Reyes (Johnson County)

Darkhorse: Hunter Vandenberg (Aquinas)


Top Half:
Top ranked Chris Williams will be the heavy favorite to advance to the finals from the top side of the bracket. Two medal contenders in Schmitt from Wilber-Clatonia and Bridgmon of Syracuse will battle in the first round. Thompson from Wood River should have a good test in the first round against Vondra of Milford, but looks to be the favorite to emerge out of the quarter. Vondra and Thompson both lost to Bridgmon in OT. The winner of that one will have the winner of Oakland-Craig’s Arlt and Bruns of Hershey. Arlt bumped up from 106 for districts and it paid off in a district title.

Bottom Half:
Again the bottom half is a little clearer. Look for Mueller from Logan View and unbeaten Zitek to make the semifinals. Zitek beat Mueller 6-0 in their only meeting this year. The consolations of this bracket could get interesting if Cluff and dark horse Hilmer lose in the quarters there won’t be any easy ones coming back through after they cross bracket to the top side. Hilmer beat Cluff at the district tournament. He’ll likely have to go through Schmitt and either Cluff or Vondra on the backside to medal.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Chris Williams (Valentine)
2nd: Zach Zitek (Aquinas)
3rd: Dru Mueller (Logan View)
4th: Carson Thompson (Wood River)
5th: Spencer Bridgmon (Syracuse)
6th: Conner Schmitt (Wilber-Clatonia)

Darkhorse: Jacob Hilmer (Loomis-Bertrand)


Top Half:
McCracken will be looking for his fourth state finals appearance. Returning runner-up from this weight Gaffney is on this side as well. McCracken beat Gaffney 3-0 a few weeks ago in what is likely going to be the semifinal matchup as they are the only ranked wrestlers on this side. McCracken also has a few wins over possible finals opponent Zoucha. An interesting first round matchup here with Schmit and Tinajero. Schmit has the great record but Tinajero knocked off the fourth ranked wrestler to qualify and also has a win over medal contender Boyce so don’t count him out. This weight also lost the sixth ranked wrestler due to injury so the weight has opened up a bit for others to push for a medal.

Bottom Half:
We have two favorites to make the semifinals on the bottom side as well in Zoucha and Gilmore. The two haven’t met this year, but Gilmore has beaten a wrestler that Zoucha has lost to. Zoucha should have a tough first round match against Boyce and the quarterfinal against Hansen should be equally as tough. Keep an eye on Tobin Olson. He made the finals in the tough C4 district and has really improved throughout his freshman season.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Caydon McCracken (Battle Creek)
2nd: Hunter Gilmore (Arlington)
3rd: Ryan Zoucha (Malcolm)
4th: Spencer Gaffney (Broken Bow)
5th: Zak Hansen (Stanton)
6th: Wyatt Schmitt (HTRS)

Darkhorse: Tobin Olson (Valentine)


Top Half:
The C2 district at 126 was one of the toughest in recent memory for class C. One ranked wrestler didn’t make the trip. Credit to those guys for duking it out. The winner of that district and top ranked Lee Carlson is positioned well in his quarter. The other quarter has the 4th place finisher from C2 Brandon Schram who could very well make the semifinals, although his road won’t be easy. If he gets by Schernikau int he opening round, he’ll have a very tough Zegers from Milford who’s been in the rankings this year also.

Bottom Half:
The bottom half is stacked. The possible quarterfinal matchups between Faulkenberry and Valencia as well as Escandon and Schrad means that one of those four will not be bringing home a medal. Sophomore 100 match winner Faulkenberry beat Valencia by fall at the state duals. The potential Schrad/Escandon quarterfinal should be a good one. Escandon dropped a 1-point match to #1 Carlson while Schrad dropped a 5-3 match at the state duals to #2 Faulkenberry. Hard to put a ranked wrestler in the ‘darkhorse’ spot, but sometimes the bracket draws will do that. Valencia could just as easily finish third as opposed to not finding the stand. He’s beaten both Schram and Zegers.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Lee Carlson (Sutton)
2nd: Casey Faulkenberry (Broken Bow)
3rd: Cameron Schrad (Aquinas)
4th: Daniel Escandon (Gibbon)
5th: Brandon Schram (Tekamah-Herman)
6th: Ethan Zegers (Milford)

Darkhorse: Martin Valencia (Logan View)


Top Half:
Top ranked Gage Krolikowski is the favorite at this weight as he continues his quest for four state titles. He does have a fairly tough road, squaring off 43-6 Carlson in round one and potentially have two time medalist Lade in the quarterfinals. Jacson Valentine looks like he is set up well to make the semifinal after having a great district tournament. We’re without second ranked wrestler who didn’t make it out districts due to injury so the door has really opened for some others to make a run.

Bottom Half:
Here we go again on the bottom half of the bracket. After Krolikowski this weight has really been about the most unpredictable of any in class C this year, so expect the unexpected. After reaching as high as second, Cameron Graham dropped from the rankings after a few losses. He rebounded with a district title over #4 Lade. He has beaten potential quarterfinal opponent Feldner by major decision. In the other quarterfinal we’re likely to see Scdoris and McNulty. McNulty beat Scdoris 7-4 about a month ago so logic would dictate we’ll see a McNulty and Graham semifinal. What complicates things is that since both of their losses both Feldner and Scodris have really been on hot streaks. Scdoris hasn’t been beaten and has a win by major decision over Graham. Roll the dice on this weight, especially the bottom part of the bracket where there are four or more wrestlers that if they got hot can make the state finals.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Gage Krolikowski (Valentine)
2nd: Jeaven Scdoris (Milford)
3rd: Cameron Graham (Cross County)
4th: Christopher Feldner (Kearney Catholic)
5th: Owen Lade (Battle Creek)
6th: Jacson Valentine (David City)

Darkhorse: Hunter McNulty (Logan View)


Top Half:
Top ranked Waddington sits on the top side of the bracket. He’ll be gunning for his fourth state finals appearance and second state title. He will have a ranked quarterfinal matchup against Copley. Copley has beaten first round opponent Reed by fall. In the other quarter we have a huge first round matchup between McNeill and Mues in the first round. McNeill beat Mues 8-2 earlier this year. Look for the winner of that one to see Valentine’s McGinley in the quarters. McNeill has a 5-3 win over McGinley so if things go as they did earlier this year we’ll likely see Waddington and McNeill in the semifinals.

Bottom Half:
Kersten and McNeill had split matches in the regular season. Kersten won the rubber match in the district finals and set himself up for his second state finals run. Pretty interesting first round matchups here with Perez and Jones as well as Widener and Kaup. Perez and Widener have mostly stayed out west this year so not a lot of common ground between them. Kaup did beat McGinley who beat Widener at districts so look for him to advance to wrestler Kersten. If Jones emerges over Perez then that matchup against Smydra we’ll be their third meeting and they’ve split the first two. Smydra beat ranked Mues and Copley to capture the district title.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Evan Waddington (Wood River)
2nd: Damien Kersten (Battle Creek)
3rd: Jefferson McNeill (Oakland-Craig)
4th: Wyatt Smydra (Norfolk Catholic)
5th: Sam Copley (Milford)
6th: Talon Mues (Arlington)

Darkhorse: Morgan McGinley (Valentine)


Top Half:
This is an extremely deep weight. On the top side we have #2 Olson who won in OT over #6 Kluthe in the district finals. If he gets by Williams in the first round he should have a tough test against Schleis who is very tough to score on. The other quarter isn’t any easier with #4 Hohn having a tough battle in the first round against Anderson. Hinrichs made a late drop from 152 to 145 and had an OT loss to Anderson. If he gets by Drahota then Hinrichs will have the winner of Hohn and Anderson in what should be a very close match.

Bottom Half:
The bottom half isn’t any easier here with top ranked White, #3 Miller and #6 Kluthe. Kluthe will have a tough first round match against Korth. If he emerges there then a battle with fellow sophomore Miller is likely for a spot against White in the semifinals. Rogers and another sophomore Sterup should be a good first round match with the winner seeing White in the quarters. Kluthe has narrow wins against both of those two and may see one of them again to capture a medal.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Justin White (David City)
2nd: Chase Olson (Valentine)
3rd: Josh Miller (Arlington)
4th: Max Hohn (Bishop Neumann)
5th: Mason Schleis (Shelby-Rising City)
6th: Garret Kluthe (Ord)

Darkhorse: Joseph Hinrichs (Sutton)


Top Half:
Just about every first round match at this weight should be a good one. #2 Heimes is on the top seed and will be the favorite to advance out of this side of the bracket but there are plenty of tough challengers. There’s a great first round matchup on tap between Ulmer and Smith. If Lindsley advances over Moldenhauer that potential quarterfinal against Ulmer will be a good one. Heimes and Ulmer didn’t meet up at the Ord Invite has Ulmer was out of the lineup.

Bottom Half:
Top ranked Styskal and #3 Koch will meet in the quarterfinal a huge matchup. Styskal beat Heimes 4-3 in January and Heimes has two wins in OT over Koch. On the bottom quarter there’s a big first round matchup between Verzani and Battershaw. The winner of that match will likely see district champ Bentley. Battershaw and Bentley are both medal contenders.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Noah Styskal (David City)
2nd: Ty Heimes (Battle Creek)
3rd: Ethan Koch (Hartington Cedar)
4th: Isaac Verzani (Wakefield-Allen)
5th: Cole Ulmer (Broken Bow)
6th: Grant Lindsley (Shelby-Rising City)

Darkhorse: Kile Bentley (Centura)


Top Half:
Vodicka beat #2 Hull to win the district title and really looks to be in solid shape to make the state finals after drawing away from #1 Long. If he gets past Maline in round one he’ll have the winner of Halverson and Hinrichs. Halverson was one match from placing last year at 152. The top quarter has a big first round match between Jones and Borgmann. The winner of that one will be favored in the quarterfinals against either Tinker or Meyer. Random fact here that the top half of the bracket has all sophomore and junior wrestlers and no seniors, while the bottom half is only seniors.

Bottom Half:
Iowa State wrestling signee Long will be going for his third state title this year. He should have tough quarterfinal matchup against Hull. When the two teams dualed each other in the state duals Hull bumped up and had a nice win over Long’s teammate McGinley. Hull will have Eacker from St. Paul in the first round who’s really been wrestling well as of late. Another big first round matchup at this weight with Stewart and Dozler. The loser of that match might actually have the better road back to a medal if the winner comes up short against Ray in the quarterfinals. Ray beat Dozler 5-2 earlier this season. There are so many medal contenders at this weight that places 3-6 could look about 10 different ways by the time the dust settles.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Caleb Long (Valentine)
2nd: Dylan Vodicka (David City)
3rd: Brady Hull (Logan View)
4th: Jacob Ray (North Bend)
5th: Issiah Borgmann (Stanton)
6th: Adam Stewart (Malcolm)

Darkhorse: Ethan Dozler (Boone Central)


Top Half:
On the top side #3 Blake Moore is away from the top two wrestlers at this weight. He does have a tough road however as he will have 42 match winner Smith out of the gate. If he gets that one then he’ll have the winner over Chapa and Rasmussen, a matchup that went into OT earlier this season. Duda from Broken Bow had been ranked third before Moore came back after missing the first part of the season. The determining factor there was Moore’s win over Duda last year at the state tournament. Duda should see the winner of Knott and Brandt in the quarterfinals. Knott and Brandt met twice in December with Knott winning both by two points. Look for a Moore/Duda semifinal. Both lost by similar scores to #2 Zoucha.

Bottom Half:
Borer has been dominant his year. His road will start with Metzler who bumped up two weights for districts and qualified. #6 Peterson and Stone could be a good one in the first round both carry a 41-4 record. Stone bumped up from 160 for districts. The other quarter has #5 McGinley and #2 Zoucha. Zoucha has beaten should be the slight favorite in that one. Looks like a ranked wrestler from this side will not medal.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Zach Borer (North Bend)
2nd: Blake Moore (Tekamah-Herman)
3rd: Dylan Zoucha (Malcolm)
4th: Lathan Duda (Broken Bow)
5th: Lane McGinley (Valentine)
6th: Brady Knott (Louisville)

Darkhorse: Alex Chapa (Ravenna)


Top Half:
We could potentially see a #2 vs #3 matchup between Ulrich and Fairbanks in the semifinal with the winner squaring off against Reimers in the finals. Wilkins from Arlington bumped up to 182 for districts in what could be a great move as he has a great chance at grabbing a medal. He’ll likely match up against Ulrich in the quarterfinals. Fairbanks should get a good test in the first round from Hargett who beat the fifth ranked wrestler to qualify. If he wins that one he’ll have the winner of tough freshman Booth and Schwaninger.

Bottom Half:
Thing get really interesting on the bottom part of the bracket. Single season takedown record holder Reimers is the heavy favorite to advance through to the finals and capture his third state title. The top quarter has Allen from David City who is favored in round one over Marrero. He’ll have the winner of Sprinkle and Hoesing. Hoesing nearly knocked off Fairbanks in the district finals and is really trending up. Sprinkle had a great district tournament is set up nicely as well. The winner of that one will be involved in a ‘coin flip’ type quarterfinal against Allen. On the bottom part Brooks and Hawthorne could be a good one in the first round. The winner will take on Reimers in the quarters.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Joseph Reimers (Aquinas)
2nd: Jesse Ulrich (Ord)
3rd: Treyvon Brooks (Broken Bow)
4th: Luke Fairbanks (Bishop Neumann)
5th: Kobe Wilkins (Arlington)
6th: Eric Hoesing (Hartington Cedar)

Darkhorse: Drew Sprinkle (Cambridge)


Top Half:
Undefeated Beau Wood sits on the top side and really looks like a heavy favorite to make the finals. In the quarters he could see Spitz from South Central who only has five losses on the season. The top quarter should be fun as there are no ranked wrestlers and three of the four in that quad all have teams that should be in the team title race. District champ Escamilla has fourth place finished Duda in the first round. Duda beat Escamilla by fall in December. Both of those two have lost to Schultz from Aquinas who will be the likely quarterfinal opponent for the winner. Wood hasn’t logged a ton of mat time this season but had a great 4-2 win against Feldner in the district finals.

Bottom Half:
The bottom half here is loaded with four ranked wrestlers. As we’ve seen several times already if those four all advance to the quarterfinals then one will be without a medal. In the quarters top ranked Fuchs will square off against #6 Fisher and #3 Feldner will have a huge match against #2 Deinert. Feldner beat Deinert at the state tournament last year, but it was Deinert this year who took Fuchs to OT. Make sure to circle this part of the bracket to watch it play out.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Ryder Fuchs (Pierce)
2nd: Beau Wood (Perkins County)
3rd: Haydn Deinert (Malcolm)
4th: Matthew Feldner (Kearney Catholic)
5th: Nolan Schultz (Aquinas)
6th: Colton Duda (Broken Bow)

Darkhorse: Evan Fisher (Chase County)


Top Half:
Merten has been atop the rankings since early in the season. His road to the finals will have the winner of #2 Simmons and Scheer in the quarterfinals. Simmons was knocked off at districts by Remington Gay who moved up from 195. In the other quarter we have returning state finalist from D285 Cade Payne. Payne has only one loss this season to an out of state wrestlers. He’s notched multiple wins over D#2 Hassett. He had to make a comeback in the district semifinals last week and he just hasn’t seen many of the other guys outside of his district. He’ll have the winner of Marx and Naiberk in the quarterfinals. One of our four ranked wrestlers from the top side will not medal if they all advance.

Bottom Half:
It appears as if Remington Gay’s weight jump could pay off in a major way. He beat possible quarterfinal opponent Bailey earlier in the year. He will have a pretty good test first round with Johnson from Madison who finished fourth out of a very tough district. In the other quarter sits #5 Bauers who positioned himself well by reversing an earlier season loss to Marx in the district finals. He’ll have 30 match winner Kuehler in the first round and will see the winner of freshman Anderson from Broken Bow and Moore from David City in the quarters.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Jon Merten (Boone Central)
2nd: Remington Gay (Arlington)
3rd: Austin Simmons (Centura)
4th: Josh Bailey (Johnson County)
5th: Kalten Bauers (Centennial)
6th: Cade Payne (Hemingford)

Darkhorse: Austin Marx (Battle Creek)


Top Half:
On the top side our two ranked wrestlers Gilpin and Hoevet could meet in the quarterfinals. Gilpin will have returning D285 qualifier Totten and Hoevet will have Schramm from Aquinas who he beat earlier in the season. Gilpin beat #2 Hale in the district finals. Schramm has given Gilpin one of his four losses early in the season. In the other quarter Emilio Perez from Bridgeport will have Duarte who bumped from 220. Ingwersen has beaten first round opponent Padrnos 6-1 so look for him to advance to wrestle Perez in the quarters. This top half should be fun to watch play out because we all know how unpredictable 285 can be. Gilpin has the momentum right now so look for him to make it out of the top half.

Bottom Half:
Seniors Drake and Ohrman have underclassmen in the first round. If they get past those upset attempts that should be a good quarterfinal matchup. In the other quarter we’ll likely see #1 Moses against #2 Hale. In what has become a common them this year we could potentially see a ranked wrestler miss the medal stand as there are four on the bottom side.

Projected Medalists:
1st: Riley Moses (Fillmore Central)
2nd: Prosper Gilpin (Winnebago)
3rd: Drew Drake (Broken Bow)
4th: Justyn Hale (Oakland-Craig)
5th: Emilio Perez (Perkins County)
6th: CJ Hoevet (Ord)

Darkhorse: Jake Ingwersen (David City)

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