The last decade has been filled with top notch elite talent in Nebraska. NFL stars Shaquil Barrett, Andy Janovich, and Harrison Phillips. Thomas Gilman made the USA Freestyle World Team and is competing for a spot in the 2020 Olympics. 17 wrestlers joined the 4 time champion plateau. There has been a huge increase in talent in the state with multiple World Team Members. In 2011, the high school weight classes changed. Nebraska introduced the State Dual Championships in 2013. Omaha Skutt saw their decade long run of state championships come to an end. We also saw the end to many legendary coaches careers.

The Stars

Shaquil Barrett was a two sport star at Boys Town. He was the 2010 Class B champion at 220 pounds. He went on to play football at Colorado State. He had an impressive career with the Rams, where he was Mountain West defensive player of the year in 2013 and was an honorable mention All American. He joined the Denver Broncos as an undrafted free agent. He spent most of his first year on the practice squad before making the 53 man roster. He earned a Super Bowl ring in 2015. After spending four seasons with the Broncos, Barrett signed a one year contract with Tampa Bay in 2019. Barrett lead the league in sacks this past season with 19.5.

Andy Janovich has put together an impressive career on the football field, but his best sport could have been wrestling. In his final three years of wrestling at Gretna, Janovich was 137-1. He won state titles as a junior and senior and his only loss came in the state finals his sophomore year. He set the school record for consecutive wins and takedowns along the way. On the football field, Janovich ran for 800 yards and averaged 16 tackles a game on defense. He chose to walk on at Nebraska. He earned his first start as a freshman at Nebraska and never looked back. Playing fullback, he did not see much time on the field other than special teams until his senior year with a new coaching staff. He had a great senior season and found himself on many draft boards. The Broncos selected Andy in the sixth round. Andy took his first NFL carry 28 yards for a touchdown in his debut. He was selected as a team captain in 2018. In 2019 he signed a new three year contract with the Broncos.

Harrison Phillips dominated his final three seasons wrestling for Millard West. He went 90-2 winning three state titles. He was the top football recruit in the state in 2014. He chose Stanford over the like of Nebraska, Kansas State, UCLA and others. After a redshirt season, Phillips found a spot on the interior defense line for the Cardinal. His junior season was his best. He lead the country for tackles be defensive lineman with 103. He was a first team Pac 12 member and decided to forgo his senior season. The Buffalo Bills selected Phillips in the third round of the 2018 draft. His first year he found him self in the first team rotation at defensive tackle. He was off to a hot start in 2019 before a season ending ACL injury.

Thomas Gilman will go down as one the greatest to ever wrestle in Nebraska. He was a four time State Champion for Omaha Skutt. He won the Cadet Freestyle Championship in 2010. In 2011 he won the Junior Freestyle Championship and was a Cadet Freestyle World Team member. Gilman went on to wrestle for Iowa in college. He was a three time All American. He finished runner up as a junior and third place as a senior. Gilman made the USA World Freestyle team in 2017 and 2018. He finished with a silver in 2017 and in fifth place in 2018. He now will focus on making the Olympic team in 2020.

Nathan Bazata was a three sport star for Howells. He finished his wrestling career as a four-time time medalist. He was fourth as a freshman and had runner-up finishes as a sophomore and junior before ending his career with a state title. In football, Bazata was a two time All-Nebraska selection as a defensive lineman. In Track, he was a two time placer in shotput, finishing third as a junior and fourth as a senior. Bazata chose play football in college attending Iowa. He was a three year starter for the Hawkeyes. Earning All Big Ten honorable mention as a junior and senior. In 2018 he was signed as an undrafted free agent to Tampa Bay.

Four Time Champions

17 wrestlers earned the feat of becoming four time champions this decade. Valentine’s Gage Krowlikowski has three titles and will be looking to earn his fourth this February.

2010 Ronald Coleman-Omaha North

2012 Eric Coufal-Howells, Thomas Gilman-Omaha Skutt, Andrew Riedy-Grand Island

2014 Brett Velasquez-Bennington, Jacob Sebade-Pender, Will Schany-Blair, JaVaughn Perkins-Omaha North, Colton Adams-Scottsbluff

2015 Doyle Trout-Centennial

2016 Isaac Deloa-Millard South

2017 Korbin Meink-Omaha Skutt, Christian Miller-Plainview

2018 Derek Robb-Sidney, Cameron Riggs-North Platte St. Pats/Maxwell

2019 James Burks-Omaha Burke, Tyler Pawloski-Pleasanton

World Team Members

This decade saw a talent shift in wrestling. Many wrestlers took the next step and qualified for world teams.

Thomas Gilman-Gilman full of accomplishments, already was also a 2011 Cadet Freestyle world team member.

Phillip Moomey-The Kearney graduate was a 2018 Cadet Greco World Team member. Moomey was a three time state champion and Fargo Greco Champion. He wrestles for Cornell.

James Burks– A Burke graduate, he was a 2018 Cadet Greco World Team Member. He was a four time state champion and two time Fargo All American. He won the 2019 Fargo Junior Greco Championship. Burks wrestles for Northern State University.

Jakason Burks-A senior at Omaha Burke, was a 2018 Cadet Greco World Team Member. He is going for his third state title this season. Burks is a five time Fargo All American. He was a Cadet Freestyle National Champion in 2018 and runner up in Junior Freestyle in 2019.

Conor Knopick-He is in his junior season at Millard South. He was a 2019 Cadet Greco World Team Member.

Antrell Taylor-The Millard South Sophomore was a U15 Freestyle World Team Member. He finished runner up at Worlds.

Tyler Antoniak-Another Millard South Sophomore, he was a U15 Greco World Team Member. He went on the win the World title.

Joel Adams-A Millard South Freshman, he was a U15 Greco World Team Member. He finished in third at worlds.

Kael Lauridsen-A freshman at Bennington, he was a U15 Freestyle World Team Member and finished third at the worlds championships

Nebraska Welcomes the State Duals

After years of talking about it, the NSAA board approved the addition of State Duals beginning in 2013. Omaha Burke, Omaha Skutt, Madison, and Amherst won the inaugural duals. Amherst lead the way with five Dual Titles in Class D. Millard South and Omaha Skutt lead their classes with each winning four dual titles. David City leads Class C with three titles.

2013 A-Omaha Burke, B-Omaha Skutt, C-Madison, D-Amherst

2014 A-Grand Island, B-Omaha Skutt, C-David City, D-Amherst

2015 A-Millard South, B-Omaha Skutt, C-David City, D-Amherst

2016 A-Millard South, B-Plattsmouth, C-David City, D-Amherst

2017 A-Millard South, B-Gretna, C-Valentine, D-Amherst

2018 A-Kearney, B-Omaha Skutt, C-Broken Bow, D-Burwell

2019 A-Millard South, B-Blair, C-Broken Bow, D-Plainview

A decade long run comes to an end

After winning every state wrestling team title from 1998 through 2010, Omaha Skutt finally saw their run come to an end. In 2011 Skutt entered the state tournament as the favorite on paper. Class B newcomer Central City had other ideas. The Bison had only won one other wrestling title back in 2009. Central City qualified 12 wrestlers to Skutt’s 10. Central City held a narrow seven point lead after day one. By the time Fridays afternoons first two rounds of consolations were over, the Bison had widened their lead to 19. Heading into the Friday nigh semifinals. Skutt had five wrestlers alive, Central City had six. Skutt would go on to advance three of their wrestlers, while Central City had two. Central City still held on to a 16 point lead. By the time third place matches ended Saturday morning, Central City had locked up the state title. they had a 25 point lead heading into the finals matches. In the 140 pound finals match, Jake Anderson put the icing on the cake with a 7-3 decision over Skutt’s Zane Sackett. Central City would go on to win state with a final totatl of 149 points to the 130 from Omaha Skutt. Central City would go on to drop back down to Class C where they won a Class C title in 2013. Omaha Skutt went on to win the next seven until Grand Island Northwest ended that run last sesason.

Amherst Dominates the Decade

Amherst has long been a power house in Class D. Heading into the decade they were on a string of runner up finishes. After winning a title 2006, Amherst finished runner up in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The start of the new decade meant a new start for the Broncos. Amherst went on to win the next seven state championships the string came to an end in 2017 when they finished runner up to Burwell. They also won the first five dual titles. From 2010 to 2017 the Broncos had 14 state champions. 2019 was the first time in the decade Amherst did not have a state champion. They had at least one in 14 of the last 15 years. 2014 was the best year for them as they won the state title with 241 points. runner up, Plainview had 94. They followed that up with in 2015 with 201 points to Friend’s 95.5.

A goodbye to some of the best

We saw the retirement of some of the winningest and most influential coaches in our state’s history.

Doug Denson built a program at Millard South that won’t be duplicated by many. Denson became the Millard South coach in 1995, after stints at Fremont Bergan, Palmer, Omaha St. Joseph, and Boys Town. At Palmer, he was Class D coach of the year in 1987. By the time he retired in 2017, he put together 7 state team titles, five runner up finishes, three dual titles, and had 31 individual champions, including four timer, Isaac Deloa. He had two strings of titles from 2005-2008 and from 2015-2017. His two Sons, Aaron and Morgan head had multiple titles for the Patriots. Outside of coaching, Denson and his wife have mentored and fostered many children and he continues to work with the Millard South youth program. He was named 2017 Omaha World Herold Coach of the Year.

Mike Schadwinkel had a remarkable 11 year run for Grand Island from 2003-2014. He left the Grand Island position to become the wrestling coach at Hastings College. Schadwinkel’s Grand Island teams were tough and gritty. His best team was in 2009, Finishing with 12 placers and a Class A scoring record of 252.5 points. That team started a run of five straight titles. it was the first time in fifty years that a school won five straight. The Islanders also won the dual title in 2014. Schadwinkel had 22 individual champions including four timer Andrew Reidy. He also was a huge part of putting the Flatwater Fracas together. At Hastings College, Schadwinkel lead the Broncos to third place finish in the conference in 2017 before stepping away from wrestling. He recently released a book called “Purple Reign” that talks about the Grand Island run.

Brad Hildebrandt rarely lost in his 22 years at Omaha Skutt. He was the inaugural coach when the school opened its doors in 1993. It took a few years for the program to get on its feet, but when it did, it never relented. Hildebrandt lead Skutt to their first state title in 1998. Between 1998 and Hildebrandts retirement in 2015, Skutt won every team and dual title except one in 2011. 17 team titles and 3 state dual titles. He had 63 individual champs, and saw four wrestlers became four time champs. Twice in his career he had 7 individual champs in a single season. His 2008 team set the all class scoring record with 256 points. Two of his wrestlers, Todd Meneely and Thomas Gilman were Junior National Freestyle Champions. He was the 2005 Omaha World Herald Coach of the Year and the 2009 Wrestling USA National Coach of the Year. Hildebrandt now is a Decathlon coach at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

Tyler Herman had about as dominant of a stretch as a head coach as you could have. The only year he didn’t finish in the top two was his first season. He won 8 state titles in his 12 years at Amherst. His teams also had three runner-up finishes. His teams won 4 state dual titles in that time. His 2014 team set the Class D state points record with 241. They also set records for 12 placers in a state tournament, an all class record of 371 pins in a season, and 26 pins at a state tournament. He had 20 individual champs in his time with the Broncos and 64 other State Medalist.

Norm Manstedt lead Clarks and High Plains Community wrestling program for 50 years. One of the first things he did when he took over in 1969 was get the Clarks invite started. When Clarks combined with Polk-Hordville they became High Plains Community. In Manstedt’s run at HPC he has coached 34 state champions and won the state title in 1972. The little 6 team tournament he originally started, has now grown to over 40 teams, moved to Central College in Columbus, and last year was renamed the Norm Manstedt Invite.

The Birth of NEWrestle

NEwrestle came alive this decade to shed a light on every level of wrestling across Nebraska, from youth to college. We hope to bring as much knowledge and enjoyment to the sport as it brings to all of us. We strive to be the best and do it free of cost, by continuously giving our best effort in rankings, interviews, content, and access.

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