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Scottsbluff’s Ybarra claims state title
February 26, 2016 Frank Marquez   

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Photos by Jane White/Special the Citizen Bearcat wrestler Mario Ybarra, at 126 pounds, exacts revenge on Chadron’s Joe Ritzen, who he had lost to in the district final, with a 3-2 decision, thus claiming the Class B state title.

Mario Ybarra, Scottsbluff wrestler in the 126 pound division, claimed the Class B state title Feb. 20 in Omaha with a 3-2 decision of Chadron’s Joe Ritzen.

Ybarra won the title after a quarterfinal win over Omaha Skutt Catholic’s Jeff Heinz by a 2-0 decision, then a 4-1 semifinal win over Riley Berg of West Point-Beemer.

“Mario had a really tough quarterfinal match and put together a great semifinal match,” said Scottsbluff head Coach James Miller. “In the final, he lost to Ritzen just the week before in the district final. It was cool to get a rematch with him.”

With Devontae Gutierrez’s second place finish at 113, the Bearcats team finished fourth in the state tournament.

Scottsbluff’s Ben Rodriguez, the Class B state champ at 132 last year, bounced back from a semifinal loss to win a consolation match, this year in the 138 pound division. He then won his third place match with a 5-1 decision over Layton Mullinix of Columbus Scotus.

Robert Price also suffered a semifinal loss at 126 pounds, came back with a consolation win, then defeated Tony Heng of Nebraska City 7-0 to take third place.

Miller said the team’s goal is to make it back to the state tournament in 2017 and post a better finish. “We had a great schedule this season and we wrestled really tough,” he said. “I’m really proud of the guys for how they finished and how hard they’ve worked all season. I takes a lot of time and effort every day.”

Gering qualified three wrestlers for the state tournament in Cody Ybarra at 170, Carmello Ozuna at 160 and Austin Garcia at 138. However, none placed.

“All of them wrestled well, even though they didn’t reach their goal to place,” said Gering wrestling Coach JJ Behrens. “It’s still a bright spot that all three of them have at least two more years with us to go for the medal.”

Gering graduates two seniors, so they have a very young team. Behrens said he’s optimistic about the future and the potential of the team to compete at the state level.

In Class C state championship wrestling action, Mitchell junior Abe Hernandez brought home the runner-up medal in the 170 pound division. He went up against undefeated David Gross of St. Paul for the state championship and held on for three periods before going down with an 8-4 decision.

Also for Mitchell, Drew Gilliland took third in the Class C 138 pound division with a fall over Nolan Helgoth of Aquinas Catholic.

In Class D action, Bayard senior Zaine Gallegos brought a 43-1 season record into the 285 pound division. He posted a 6-3 decision over Trey Keaschal of Pleasanton to win the state title.

Teammate Alex Araujo took second in the 113 pound division with a 4-0 decision over Trace Baasch of Amherst. Alex Wamboldt placed fourth in the 195 pound division, losing in a fall to Jesse Wells of Friend.

In Class D action, Bayard senior Zaine Gallegos, at 285 pounds, falls into his coaches embrace after posting a 6-3 decision over Trey Keaschal of Pleasanton to claim the state title.

Mitchell junior Abe Hernandez earns a second-place medal at 170 pounds after succumbing to the undefeated David Gross of St. Paul.
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