Team Race Preview and Predictions

Millard South has wrestled one of the best seasons in Class A history. They won the State Duals last weekend and will look to add individual championships this week. The Patriots qualified all 14 starters, led by district champions Caleb Coyle, Aiden Robertson, Conor Knopick, Tyler Antoniak, Antrell Taylor, Scott Robertson, and Isaac Trumble. The Patriots will be looking to bring home their 5th title in the last 6 years.

On the heels of the Patriots will be the Lincoln East Spartans. The Spartans qualified 12 wrestlers led by district champions Keith Smith, Brandon Baustert, Breckin Sperling, Maxx Mayfield, Grant Lyman, and Edward Lankas. Grand Island and Columbus each had eleven qualifiers apiece coming out of their districts. Kearney, Omaha Central and Omaha Burke will have very competitive teams again this year. Papillion-LaVista South has set themselves up well to make a top five team run with six wrestlers predicted to finish in the top four.

Rounding out the top 10, you could see teams like Papillion Lavista, North Platte, Omaha Bryan, Millard North, Norfolk and Bellevue East. On paper those look like the top teams, but as we all know, wrestling matches are won on the mat.

Top Ten Team Predictions
1. Millard South
2. Lincoln East
3. Omaha Central
4. Columbus
5. Papillion-LaVista South
6. Omaha Burke
7. Grand Island
8. Kearney
9. Papillion-LaVista
10. North Platte

Bellevue East
Millard North
Omaha Bryan



The Top Half
#1 Keith Smith has been as dominant as they come at 106. His speed and athleticism have been key to his dominance this season. #2 Julio Reyes has not lost a match since coming down from 113 pounds. The Omaha Burke transfer has wrestled tough all season but will be on the same side of the bracket as Smith for a big time semifinal match up. #6 Mohamud Abdi, #7 Dominic Martinez and #8 Logan Edwards are also all in the top half of the bracket. Abdi and Edwards will face off in a first round match, where the winner gets Reyes.

The Bottom Half
#5 Durden and DJ Bonam will be a great first round matchup between two talented freshman. A potential big quarterfinal match could be between #3 Adrian Bice and #4 Ein Obermiller. Bice defeated Obermiller at Norfolk Invite by fall so based on that result, we gave the advantage to Bice. The loser of the quarterfinals matches will end up on the top side, where they likely will get the loser of Smith and Reyes that will set up a huge consolation semifinal.

Projected Top 6
1. Keith Smith-Lincoln East (SO)
2. Adrian Bice-Columbus (FR)
3. Julio Reyes-Omaha Burke (SO)
4. Tyler Durden-Papillion LaVista South (FR)
5. Ein Obermiller-Grand Island (SO)
6. DJ Bonam-Omaha Central (FR)

Dark Horse: Bryce Jackson-Millard South (SO)



The Top Half
This is by far the most difficult bracket to predict. Potential quarterfinal matchup of #1 Archer Heelan vs #2 Juan Pedro is going to have a lot of fireworks. They have split matches this year so they potentially could have a rubber match for a spot in the semifinals. Another possibly big quarterfinal would be #4 Caleb Coyle vs #5 Solomon Allerheiligen. Coyle won the first match up and will need another big win for a match up in the semifinals against Heelan or Pedro. Allerheiligen will have a tough first round match up with #8 Blake Cerny. Heelan defeated Coyle at the Fracas. Coyle and Pedro have not wrestled.

The Bottom Half
#3 Brandon Baustert avoided a rematch with Heelan and Pedro, but he will still have a tough quarterfinal against cross town rival #7 Landan McLaughlin. If he gets by him he could see #6 Noor Salat. Salat has been solid wrestler this season and will put up a big fight against Baustert.

Projected Top 6
1. Brandon Baustert-Lincoln East (SO)
2. Juan Pedro-Grand Island (JR)
3. Archer Heelan-Kearney (SO)
4. Caleb Coyle-Millard South (JR)
5. Landan McLaughlin-Lincoln Southwest (SO)
6. Noor Salat-Omaha Bryan (SR)

Dark Horse: Blake Cerny-Columbus (SO)



The Top Half
#1 Garrett Grice will start off in the top half as he looks to keep his hopes alive to become a four time state champion. He could have a potential quarterfinal match up against #5 Wyatt May. The other quarter final match up could be #6 Clay Cerny vs #8 Hunter Nagatani. They have split matches this year, 2-2 with Cerny winning the most recent match up.

The Bottom Half
This side of the bracket is loaded. The first big match will be #4 Nathan Rubino vs #7 Jordan Bobier. Rubino is 2-0 in that matchup with two major decisions. A Rubino win there would match him with #3 Joel Adams. Adams won the first match in overtime so it should be another great quarterfinal match up. #2 Emilio Haynes will be in the bottom half of the bracket and be looking for a semifinal match up against Rubino or Adams. Haynes’ lone loss this season is to Class B #1 Drew Arnold.

Projected Top 6
1. Garrett Grice-Bellevue East (SO)
2. Emilio Haynes-Omaha Central (SR)
3. Joel Adams-Millard South (FR)
4. Nathan Rubino-Omaha Burke (JR)
5. Clay Cerny-Columbus (SR)
6. Wyatt May-Millard West (SR)

Dark Horse: Devon Mahone-Omaha North (SR)



The Top Half
Everyone at 126 got a sigh of relief when Jakason burks declared he was going 132. #8 Weston Godfrey will have a huge first round match with freshman Sammy Rubino. The winner of that match could have a big quarterfinal match up with #4 Rylie Steel. #3 Jaylan Ruffin will have a big first round match with senior Nathan Hartman who spent most of the year at 113 but really seemed to find his feet at districts in his new weight. If Ruffin gets by Hartman, he could have a quarterfinal match up with freshman Aiden Robertson.

The Bottom Half
#2 Blake Cushing got a rough first draw against #5 Ryan Turner. Turner had not lost in Nebraska until districts. Cushing will be riding a lot of momentum into this tournament after a district finals win over Ruffin. One of the more fun first round matches will be a battle of talented freshmen Grant Moraski vs Cole Toline. The winner of that match gets Cushing in the quarterfinals. The other quarterfinal projection is Pla Plot Soe who has been in and out of the rankings all year against #6 Ian Rudner. If Rudner gets by Soe, he and Cushing could square off in a big semifinal battle.

Projected Top 6
1. Blake Cushing-Grand Island (JR)
2. Jaylan Ruffin-North Platte (JR)
3. Rylie Steele-Kearney (SR)
4. Ryan Turner-Omaha Central (JR)
5. Nathan Hartman-Millard West (SR)
6. Ian Rudner-Papillion LaVista (JR)

Dark Horse: Pla Plot Soe-Lincoln High (SR)



The Top Half
This weight class will be one of the most talented weight classes in years, probably since the 2016 A113 bracket. World Team Members Jakason Burks and Conor Knopick highlight the bracket. They are joined by defending State Champions Gabe Grice (A106) and Darian Diaz (B126) The top half of the bracket will feature Burks and #3 Daniel DeRosier who is a two time 4th place finisher. DeRosier faces #7 Aaron Dittmer in the first round and if he can get by him, he will have #6 Nic Swift before a matchup with Burks.

The Bottom Half
Grice will have a tough first match with John Enzolera. If he gets by him, he’ll get Diaz. Diaz enters the tournament with one loss, a narrow 4-2 loss to Burks. Grice vs Diaz will be a fascinating matchup of two decorated wrestlers, with Diaz certainly having a distinct size advantage. The other quarterfinal projects to be #1 Knopick against #8 DJ Schuman. Knopick pinned Schuman earlier in the year so we think it will be Knopick vs Diaz in the semifinal. You’ll need to grab your popcorn because it will be one of the must-see matches of the year.

Projected top 6
1. Jakason Burks-Omaha Burke (SR)
2. Conor Knopick-Millard South (JR)
3. Darian Diaz-North Platte (JR)
4. Daniel DeRosier-Bellevue East (JR)
5. Gabe Grice-Omaha Central (JR)
6. Nic Swift-Lincoln East (JR)

Dark Horse: John Enzolera-Papillion LaVista South (SR)



The Top Half
The top two wrestlers in the state ended up in the top half of the bracket. #2 Brayden Smith returns to the state tournament where he was a 2017 state champion and spent last season behind Phillip Moomey. Smith has two losses this season, one to #1 Tyler Antoniak and another wrestling up a weight against Scott Robertson. Smith projects to the semifinals where he will match up against the aforementioned Antoniak. Tyler has been on a tear this year going 48-0 with 42 bonus point wins. His closest in-state match this year was against Smith where he won 3-0. #8 Jaden Overman also is in the top half of the bracket but gets Smith first round. He could make a lot of noise in the consolations.

The Bottom Half
This side of the bracket is wide open. #4 Cody Niemiec is the most seasoned wrestler on this half with three state medals in his pocket already. He could have a tough matchup against the winner of #3 Peyton Meink vs #5 Stone Sindelar. Meink has a victory over Sindelar earlier this season. If Niemic gets through the quarterfinals he will potentially have #6 Brody Arrants from Grand Island. This year could finally be the year one of the tough Niemiec brothers finally gets to the finals.

Projected Top 6
1. Tyler Antoniak-Millard South (SO)
2. Cody Niemiec-Papillion LaVista (SR)
3. Brayden Smith-Kearney (SR)
4. Stone Sindelar-Papillion LaVista South (SR)
5. Peyton Meink-Millard North (SR)
6. Brody Arrants-Grand Island (JR)

Dark Horse: Christopher Kueny-Omaha Central (JR)



The Top Half
The Quarterfinals in the top half will likely be tough Norfolk freshman, Jacob Licking and Tyler Salpas. Salpas is a returning state qualifier. The two wrestlers clashed at the Norfolk Invite with Salpas winning by a 7-4 decision. The other quarterfinal could feature #3 Alex Irizarry vs #2 Breckin Sperling. Sperling won the first matchup 5-4. This should be another fun matchup between the two wrestlers.

The Bottom Half
If rankings hold, the quarterfinals will feature a ranked matchup of #6 Ray Hubbard vs #8 Nick Groth, and #1 Antrell Taylor vs #4 Gage Ferguson. Taylor owns a victory over Ferguson this season, while Hubbard owns a win by fall over Groth. Taylor and Hubbard will be a scramble fest that should feature lots of points.

Projected top 6
1. Antrell Taylor-Millard south (SO)
2. Breckin Sperling-Lincoln East (SR)
3. Alex Irizarry-Papillion LaVista South (SR)
4. Gage Ferguson-Kearney (JR)
5. Ray Hubbard-Omaha Central (JR)
6. Tyler Salpas-Grand Island (SO)

Dark Horse: Coleton Haggin-Papillion LaVista (FR)



The Top Half
There will be lots of talent in the top half of the bracket. Utah transfer #3 Scott Robertson will likely get the winner of Chase Kammerer and #5 Josh Licking in the quarterfinals. Robertson is undersized, but makes up for it with his mechanics and technique. Ayden Welch and #2 Deon Davis will be a great first round match to keep an eye on. The winner of that match will likely see #8 Blaine Miller. Davis has wins over Miller and Welch this year, and will be looking for a matchup with #3 Robertson or a rematch from districts against Licking. Licking won the district match 7-6.

The Bottom Half
Returning state runner-up, and Class A #1 Cole Price will look to return to the finals coming out of the bottom of the bracket. He will be challenged right out of the gate against #6 Jackson Okereke. If he gets by him, he will likely see #7 Dalton Flibotte. #4 Gauge McBride will get a tough first round matchup with Rylee Iburg. If he can get by him, it could be a McBride vs Price semifinal. They have not wrestled this year, so it would be a big first time match-up.

Projected Top 6
1st Cole Price-Papillion LaVista (JR)
2nd Josh Licking-Norfolk (JR)
3rd Deon Davis-Omaha Central (JR)
4th Scott Robertson-Millard South (JR)
5th Gauge McBride-Kearney (SR)
6th Dalton Flibotte-Bellevue East (SR)

Dark Horse: Blaine Miller-Omaha Burke (JR)



The Top Half
Maxx Mayfield starts his quest towards a 3rd state title through the top half of the bracket. Joining him will be #3 Deson Stapleton and #8 Brayden Splater, who could meet in a quarterfinal. Stapleton won 21-10 in their dual two weeks ago. Stapleton and Mayfield have not wrestled this season.

The Bottom Half
#2 Caleb Connor got a tough first round draw against #5 Tommy Wentz, who won their only meeting of the year back in December. The winner of that match will get #6 Brogan Zegers. Another tough first round matchup will be #7 Guillermo Espinoza and Kolby Lukasiewicz. Espinoza is 2-0 in the series this season, with a pin in the first match and an overtime 6-4 victory the last time. The winner of that match will get #4 Ethan Valencia. Valencia and Connor met up at the Metro tournament with Connor winning by fall.

Projected Top 6
1. Maxx Mayfield-Lincoln East (SR)
2. Ethan Valencia-Millard West (SR)
3. Deson Stapleton-Omaha Burke (JR)
4. Caleb Connor-Papillion LaVista South (SR)
5. Tommy Wentz-Fremont (JR)
6. Guillermo Espinoza-Millard North (JR)

Dark Horse: Ethan Carstens-Lincoln Southwest (SR)



The Top Half
#1 Grant Lyman, #3 Justin Davis, #4 Jack McDonnell, and #8 Austin Miller will all be competing in the top half. The most exciting quarterfinal would be Lyman vs Davis. They have not wrestled this season and it would be a clash of two powerful athletes. A Lyman win would match him up with McDonnell. Jack put everyone on notice with his match against James Burks last year at state. This would be a first time matchup between the two if it is to happen. There will definitely be some fireworks.

The Bottom Half
#2 Blayze Standley has wins against all three wrestlers in his pod, and will look to head to semifinals. #5 Jack Larchick will have a tough first round match up with Chase Pokett. Larchick is 2-0 with two major decisions in that match up. The other first round match up is #7 Connor Rinn vs Trace Marco. If Larchick gets through his first round match, it will be a first time matchup against either wrestler. Larchick and Standley have wrestled this season, with Standley winning by fall.

Projected Top 6
1. Grant Lyman-Lincoln East (SR)
2. Blayze Standley-Columbus (JR)
3. Jack McDonnell-Bellevue West (JR)
4. Justin Davis-Omaha Central (SR)
5. Jack Larchick-Gretna (SR)
6. John Friendt-Lincoln Southeast

Dark Horse: Austin Miller-Norfolk (SO)



The Top Half
#1 Gavyn Brauer is 32-8 on the season. All of his wins are by pin, and he can pin anyone at any time. His first round match up will be against #5 Henry Thomsen. He would have a tough potential matchup with Cole Haberman or Carson Maas in the quarterfinals. Those two will be a terrific first round match up. Another first round that will be a lot of fun will be freshman Tyler Stewart against #8 Edward Lankas. The winner of that match will likely see #7 Ian Byington. Byington beat Lankas 3-1 in overtime in their first match up. If Byington and Brauer collide in the semis, it will be a matchup of two well-built titans.

The Bottom Half
#2 Anthony DeAnda will look to return to the state finals, and to get there he may have to go through last year’s semifinal opponent TJ Huber. Before the semifinals though, DeAnda will have a tough quarterfinal against #6 Sheldon Isom. #4 Cade Schendt will be looking to get a semifinal matchup with DeAnda. His likely quarterfinal matchup is against last year’s state runner up Huber. If he can get by those two opponents, he will be in the semifinals.

Projected top 6
1. Gavyn Brauer-North Platte (JR)
2. Cade Schendt-Papillion LaVista South (SR)
3. Anthony DeAnda-Columbus (SR)
4. Ian Byington-Millard South (SR)
5. Sheldon Isom-Lincoln North Star (SR)
6. Cole Haberman-Omaha Westside (S0)

Dark Horse: TJ Huber-Gretna (SR)



The Top Half
#1 Tony Pray will lead a very talented group in the top half of the bracket. #4 Alek Abels drew #7 Zach Belmudez in the first round, and winner of that match will most likely see Pray. #6 Jackson Arend and #8 Alex Hunt could meet in the other quarterfinal. They have split matches this year, with Arend winning the most recent match at UNK Midwest Duals.

The Bottom Half
Defending state champion #2 Kasten Grape will be on a collision course to get back to the state championship where he will hopefully see Pray. Pray defeated Grape at the Norm Manstedt Invite. To get there, Grape will have to get through #5 Chris Wortman in the quarterfinals, and possibly #3 Jon Keller in the semifinals. Grape won by fall over Wortman at the Norfolk Invite

Projected Top 6
1. Tony Pray-Creighton Prep (JR)
2. Kasten Grape-Columubs (SR)
3. Jon Keller-Millard North (SR)
4. Jackson Arend-Gretna (JR)
5. Chris Wortman-Millard South (SR)
6. Alek Abels-Papillion LaVista (SR)

Dark Horse: Laikon Ames-Norfolk (SR)



The Top Half
Everyone at 220 heaved a sigh of relief when Isaac Trumble bumped up to 285 at districts last week. #4 Mikey Vasquez, #8 Brayden Heffner, #7 Alex Rodriguez, #6 Garret Moser and #3 Tyler Robinson will all be in the top half. Robinson has only lost to #1 Jaylon Walker and Class B #1 Grady Griess as far as Nebraska wrestlers go. He will likely get a semfinals match with Mikey Vasquez. It will be a close matchup that will be fun to watch.

The Bottom Half
#2 Jaylon Walker is the only wrester to be close with Trumble this year and has been wrestling tough all year. He will have a tough first opponent in Eli Nitzel who was in the rankings for part of this season. If Walker gets by him, he will have #5 Ryan Zatechka from Omaha Westside. Walker has beat Zatechka and will likely be on his way to semifinals where he could end up with Connor Hoy. Hoy is the beneficiary of Trumble’s move as he got to come down to a weight he is more comfortable at after spending the season at 285. Hoy will be tough and battle-tested, so it should be a great match if he makes semifinals.

Projected Top 6
1. Jaylon Walker-Omaha Bryan (SR)
2. Tyler Robinson-Papillion LaVista South (SR)
3. Connor Hoy-Millard South (JR)
4. Mikey Vasquez-Omaha South (SR)
5. Garret Moser-Fremont (JR)
6. Ryan Zatechka-Omaha Westside (SO)

Dark Horse: Eli Nitzel-Lincoln Southwest (SR)



The Top Half
Isaac Trumble will go for his second state title this weekend, and looks to cap an undefeated senior season where he has earned 3 wins against Top 10 nationally ranked wrestlers. Trumble should make the semifinals where he could see a couple of different guys. In the first round, #3 Jayden Schrader and #4 Nolan Olafson face off. They have not wrestled each other this season, so there might be a feeling out portion in the match. The winner of that match could see Ge’Auvieon Creighton, who has not wrestled much this year but has been tough when he has.

The Bottom Half
#1 Cade Haberman and #2 Jacob Frezell-McClinton were given a tough draw, as they should collide in the quarterfinals. Haberman owns an overtime win over Jacob at Metro’s. This will be a tight contest again. #5 Zephaniah Sivels and #6 Jacob Ngeleka will possibly be the other quarterfinal. Sivels beeat Ngeleka at the Norfolk Invite, and looks to do so again.

Projected Top 6
1. Isaac Trumble-Millard South (SR)
2. Cade Haberman-Omaha Westside (JR)
3. Jacob Frezell-McClinton-Omaha Central (SR)
4. Zephaniah Sivels-Millard North (JR)
5. Jayden Schrader-Lincoln Northeast (SR)
6. Preston Welch-Bellevue East (JR)

Dark Horse: Ge’Auvieon Creighton-Lincoln East (SO)

One thought on “2020 Class A State Tournament Preview and Predictions”

Leave a Reply