106 Champion – Casey Benavides, Bridgeport (Jr) 41-1

Casey Benavides

Bridgeport’s Casey Benavides was the NEwrestle preseason number one pick at this weight. He finished 5th in 2017 and 3rd last year. With the top two from 106 gone from last year, the stars seemed to be aligned for Benavides. He made it through the majority of the season unscathed and notched a win over a top Colorado wrestler along the way. In late January he suffered his first and only loss to class D qualifer Foster of Sutherland in a battle of unbeatens at the time. He reliniquished his number one ranking to then unbeaten Schluckebier from Milford. Benavides and Schluckebier squared off in the state semifinals in a 1 vs 2 matchup with Benavides striking first in the first period and he never gave up his lead en route to a 12-6 win. His pin in the finals over Wood River’s Dylan Ancheta earned him his first state title. It will be interesting to see if Benavides ends up at this weight again next year and be a career 106. Finals Celebration

113 Champion – Chris Williams, Valentine (So) 38-1

Chris Williams

Valentine’s Chris Williams is one of two sophomores on track for four state titles. Throughout the season he earned wins over multiple state champions and several other state medalists and qualifiers. He had one setback the entire season in a match he was leading 4-0 after the first period before getting pinned in the second to class B medalist Obermiller from Adams Central. At the state tournament he earned falls all the way to the finals. His finals match against unbeaten Zach Zitek from Aquinas was a good one. Williams led 4-2 heading into the 3rd period. Zitek chose neutral after getting rode out most of the second period and got the takedown to tie the match. Williams was able to escape and got a takedown with 56 second left in the match to help secure a 7-5 victory.

120 Champion – Caydon McCracken,  Battle Creek (Sr) 49-2

Caydon Mccracker

Caydon McCracken ended his decorated career for the Battle Creek Braves as a four-time finalist and a two-time state champion. He set numerous school records for the Braves including career wins (184), career pins (114), tournament titles (30), career team points (1216), and career two and three point near falls.  He had just two losses on the season, one to an out of state wrestler and the other to class B third place Kunz from Central City. At the state tournament McCracken survived a bit of a scare after briefly getting put on his back in the first round before winning 11-5 over Musser from Hershey. After winning in the quarterfinals by fall he had a big semifinal matchup over returning runner-up at this weight Spencer Gaffney from Broken Bow. After a scoreless first period McCracken got out in the second and got a takedown and the fall to advance to the finals. His finals match against second ranked Hunter Gilmore went into the tiebreaker rounds after no scoring in sudden victory. McCracken got an escape and a takedown in TB-1 to emerge as the 4-1 victor. Caydon is a 4.0 student and top of his class. His future plans include attending college to major in Engineering. Caydon after his semifinal win | Celebration

126 Champion – Daniel Escandon, Gibbon (Jr) 25-3

Daniel Escandon.jpg

Gibbon’s Daniel Escandon surprised many two years ago as a freshman when he notched some big wins during the season. By the end of the year he was considered a legitmate medal threat and came up just one match short at C120. As a sophomore he didn’t see the mat. This season he made his debut in late December. He went 4-1 that day, but again was out of the lineup for three weeks, putting his status for the rest of the season in doubt. Once back in the lineup however, he was in peak form. His only late season losses were to D third place Reimers from Palmer in OT and top ranked Carlson at districts by a 3-2 score. After escaping in the first round 5-3 over unranked Anderson from Ponca, Escandon beat fourth ranked Schrad. In the semifinals he won 12-6 over second ranked Faulkenberry. In the state finals he wrestled district opponent Brandon Schram from Tekamah-Herman. They wrestled the prior week in the third and fourth place match at districts. Escandon got the takedown and the fall in overtime to win his first state title and send Gibbon head coach Jim Andersen into retirement with a state champion. Danny after winning his state title

132 Champion – Gage Krolikowski, Valentine (Jr) 41-0

Gage Krolikowski

Gage Krolikowski ended a dominating season with his third state title as a junior. He will be the the only Nebraskan next year wrestling for their fourth state title. He had several impressive wins this year, including avenging his only high school loss to South Dakota standout Turnquist from Winner. He didn’t meet up against class B champion Hotz, but he did finish ahead of him on two separate occasions during the regular season. At the state tournament this year he picked up three pins before winning a 7-1 finals match against Milford’s Jeaven Scdoris. His three pins this year bring his total state tournament pins up to ten for his three years. If he picks up four next year he could set the state record for pins at the state tournament. Gage plans on wrestling in college, so we’ll all have to stay tuned to see where he decides to attend. Post finals interview | Celebration

138 Champion – Damien Kersten, Battle Creek (Sr) 39-2

Damien Kersten

Damien Kersten moved to Battle Creek from Bloomfield before his sophomore year. After finishing 5th and 2nd the past two seasons at C126, Kersten jumped two weights and ended his high school career as a state champion. He wrestled quite a bit over the offseason prior to this year and had some very impressive wins. He missed some time in January for an undisclosed injury at the time and we now know that he was wrestling the second part of the season with a torn meniscus. Injury and all, he won the rubber match in the district finals over rival McNeill from Oakland-Craig after the two had split close matches earlier in the season. He earned a fall, technical fall and a major decision to reach the finals against now four-time finalist Evan Waddington from Wood River, who was also battling injury. Kersten collected three takedowns, including one as the match concluded to win 7-1 to be come a state champion. Damien intends to wrestling in college. He is looking at Chadron or Colby CC.  Interview | Celebration

145 Champion – Justin White, David City (Sr) 50-1

Justin White

Justin White began his career for David City bumping up two weights to help benefit his team and came up just short of qualifying at the 138lb class. As a sophomore he was down at 126 and finished in third place, with his lone loss in the state tournament coming at the hands of eventual three time state champion Kelber of Valentine. His junior year he finished 3rd at 138, with his lone loss coming to Waddington from Wood River. This year he would not be denied. He had just one loss on the season to an out of state wrestler. In the state tournament semifinals White grabbed a first period takedown to win 2-1 over a very tough Miller from Arlington. In the finals he bested familiar foe and second ranked Chase Olson from Valentine 5-1 in the finals in their third meeting of the season. Justin set the David City career record for pins with 123. He intends to continue wrestling at Concordia or Morningside. Post finals Interivew

152 Champion – Noah Styskal, David City (Sr) 49-1

Noah Styskal

Noah Styskal followed up teammate White with with a state title of his own. As a sophomore he finished 5th at 120 and his junior season he was 4th at 126. He put in well over 40 matches in the offseason wrestling in tournaments such as Disney Duals and attended practices at MWC in Omaha. Noah was a takedown machine for the Scouts this year as he obliterated the single season school record of 195, ending the year with 299 takedowns. He had just one early season setback this year to a class A opponent. His road to his first state finals match included a 16-6 quarterfinal win over 5th place Koch and a fall in the semifinals over 6th place Bentley. In the finals he picked up five takedowns en route to a 14-7 win over Broken Bow’s Cole Ulmer. Styskal intends to continue wrestling for Nerbaska Wesleyan, Concordia, or Morningside. Finals Celebration

160 Champion – Caleb Long, Valentine (Sr) 37-0

Caleb Long

Caleb Long went 0-2 at state as a freshman. The next season he moved up three weight classes and captured what would be his first of three state titles. As a junior he moved up one more weight to 160 and won what was considered perhaps the toughest weight in class C in 2018. That weight featured three state champions. This year he completed an undefeated season with a dominant state tournament. He ended his career as a Valentine Badger with a 15-6 major decision win over David City’s Dylan Vodicka. Caleb is an honor roll student, carrying a 3.95 GPA. He is signed on to wrestle at Iowa State next year. Post finals interview | Celebration

170 Champion, Zach Borer, North Bend (Sr)  49-0

Zach Borer

Zach Borer burst onto the scene as a freshman capturing the class C state title at 160 lbs. His only loss a freshman was a 5-4 setback to the class B champ that same year. After finishing in 3rd as a sophomore Zach’s only loss was in the state semifinals to eventual champion Petree from Aquinas. His junior year Borer lost to fellow state champs Long and Petree to finish 5th. This year there was no stopping him from getting back to the top of the podium. His closest match of the season was a 6-1 win up a weight over B182 runner-up Frenzen. He was unscored on during this year’s state tournament. He had two pins before winning 11-0 in the semifinals and 15-0 in the state finals. Currently Zach does not have plans to wrestle in college. His high school career record was 206-5 with 158 pins. Post finals interview | Celebration

182 Champion, Joseph Reimers, Aquinas (Sr) 46-0

Joseph Reimers

Joseph Reimers hit the gas pedal on his feet this year, breaking the all class takedown record en route to his third state title. He ended the year with 475 takedowns, beating the previous record of 451 set by Chase White. Reimers finished third as a freshman at 170 before collecting his three state titles at 182lbs. He only had two matches go the distance this season, one of which was his 14-2 state finals win over second ranked Luke Fairbanks from Bishop Neumann. Reimers will be wrestling at the University of Nebraska- Kearney next year. Post finals interview

195 Champion, Beau Wood, Perkins County (Sr) 21-0

Beau Wood

Beau Wood was a state qualifier as a freshman at D170. His dedication to his cardio and weight room are attributed to his increase in success after his freshman season. He lost in the semifinals and finished third back to back years at D182. His senior year he had to battle through back issues and illness which kept him out for a good chuck of the season, but he managed to get healthy at the right time of the year. His run to a state title started at the C4 district tournament which produced three of the six state medalists. Wood was on the opposite side of the bracket from the other top four finishers at the weight and picked up three pins on his way to the finals. In the finals match against Malcolm’s Haydn Deinert he secured a huge first period takedown with 18 seconds left to take a 2-0 lead into the second period. Wood added an escape, penalty point and a takedown in the third period to win the match 6-2 and end his career as a state champion. Beau plans to attend UNL in the fall and double major in psychology and either physiology or exercise science.

220 Champion, Remington Gay, Arlington (Jr) 44-2

Remington Gay

Arlington’s Remington Gay wrestled nearly the whole season at 195. He made the jump to 220 for districts and it paid off in a huge way. After qualifying his first two seasons he ended the year at the top of the podium with his 6-2 finals win over Jon Merten from Boone Central. Extra lifting before and after school is credited as one of the reasons for Remington making the jump from state qualifier to state champion. He pinned his first three opponents at the state tournament. In the finals against Merten he gave up the first takedown before getting an escape and a takedown of his own to take the lead into the second period. Remington is very tough on top and it showed in the second period against Merten, riding him out the whole period. After scoring an escape and another takedown in the third period, Remington Gay captured his first state title. Semifinals Interview | Finals Celebration

285 Champion, Riley Moses, Fillmore Central (Sr) 44-2

Riley Moses

Riley Moses went wire to wire as the top ranked 285 in class C this year. He was a state qualifier as a sophomore and finished in 3rd place as a junior. As has been the theme with many of the state champs in class C, Moses got plenty of offseason mat time in. He was a member of the Disney Dual team over the summer and also wrestled AAU State and Midwest Classic. His only losses this year were to the Class B 2nd and 3rd place wrestlers. His road to a state tiel was not an easy one. After his first round win by fall he won in the tiebreaker rounds over eventual third place finisher Hale. In the semifinals he won 3-0 over fourth place finisher Drake. In the finals against Winnebago’s Prosper Gilpin, Moses used a quick reversal in the second period to take a 2-0 lead and rode Gilpin out the rest of the period. Moses won the match 2-1 to capture the state title. He ends his career with 175 wins and 132 pins. He will be walking on to UNL to play football for the Huskers next year. Semifinals interview

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