Bearcats earn District B-4 team title, have 5 gold medalists
     2014-02-20      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Ken Kurtz/Spectrum Photo - Gering junior Marcelino Ramos led the Bulldogs in district action, earning his first trip to state with a third-place finish. Ramos scored a 10-7 decision over Joe Ritzen of Chadron to win the consolation side of the 113-pound class. Pictured, Ramos maneuvers to get the upper hand over Cheyenne Central opponent Nigel Lopez this season. 
Scottsbluff emerged from the District B-4 Wrestling Championships on Saturday at Cozad as the team champion for the second straight year and will have nine state qualifiers competing at the state tournament today (Thursday) through Saturday in Omaha.

The Bearcats had five champions, two runners-up, one consolation champ and one fourth-place qualifier in amassing 196 team points, well ahead of Lexington’s 157-point, second-place total.

“This weekend was a great thing for us,” Scottsbluff coach James Miller said. “The guys really rallied around each other and showed a lot of team support. We were going in personally thinking we were going to be the underdogs behind Lexington. We told them that we could do it, but it was going to take the entire team.”

Gering qualified four wrestlers, including two state returnees, and was 11th in the team standings with 48 points.

Miller said teamwork was a major factor in the Bearcats scoring their successes.

“Once we got to the semifinals we started gaining some steam, it seemed like the guys really bought into it, fed off each other and were able to be successful,” he said.

Senior Colton Adams, looking to become the state’s 20th four-time state champion, pinned his way through the 145-pound district bracket. Adams dropped Sidney’s Michael Muggli midway through the second round to clinch the district title.

Junior Keegan Hessler, the state champ at 113 last year, won the district title at 126 pounds Saturday to earn a shot at his second state title. Hessler scored an 18-8 major decision over Jacob Hoffman of Cozad in their championship match.

Senior Andrew Aratani will be riding a district title into the 285-pound/heavyweight state bracket. Aratani will be making his third appearance at state for the Bearcats, finishing sixth as a sophomore and fifth as a junior.

Junior Sabian Harsh, a third-place state finisher last year, won the district 160-pound title with a 6-0 decision over Willy Cogdill of Chadron.

Freshman Robert Price won the 113-pound title, one of four freshmen who earned state berths for the Bearcats. Price clinched the district crown with a 7-5 sudden victory over Lexington’s Mike Nyugen.

Freshman Salem Harsh finished second at 120 to Alliance’s Devin Ushio on a 10-4 decision. Classmate Ben Rodriguez made the finals of the 132-pound class but lost by pin to top-ranked Brian Messersmith of Cozad.

Finishing in fourth at 106 was freshman George Hernandez, who had seen limited varsity action but rose onto the district roster when junior Juan Delacruz suffered a season-ending injury.

And senior Cameron Presher finished third at 182 with an 11-6 decision over Matthew Skinner of Ogallala in their consolation final.

Scottsbluff finished second in the Class B team race to Omaha Skutt Catholic last season, and Miller said even getting to second will take a lot of hard work for whomever finishes as the runner-up.

“Realistically we know we’re going to end up with a couple of our guys on the back side, and hopefully they can keep their chins up, wrestle tough and get some more points on the back,” he said. “There are a few teams in there that have 10 or more qualifiers, so we have our work cut out for us.”

With the district victory comes a berth for Scottsbluff in the second annual State Dual Championships on March 1 in Kearney. The Bearcats Continued from page B1

finished in fifth of the Class B bracket in the inaugural dual tourney last year.

“That was something we’re pretty excited about,” Miller said. “The guys were pretty stoked about that.”

For Gering, junior Marcelino Ramos earned his first trip to state by leading the four Bulldog state qualifiers with a third-place finish. Ramos scored a 10-7 decision over Joe Ritzen of Chadron to win the consolation side of the 113-pound class.

Junior Baily Hort earned a fourth-place finish at 132 pounds in earning his second straight trip to state. Hort and DJ Weare of Alliance went into overtime of their consolation final, with Weare coming out on top 6-4 in the sudden victory.

Bulldog seniors Damian Hort and Elijah Timblin also settled for fourth-place district finishes in earning state tournament berths.

Timblin, a state qualifier as a junior, lost the 160-pound consolation final to Brian Sunblade of Holdrege. Damian Hort made state at 138 pounds after dropping a 2-0 decision to Walker Johnson of Alliance in their consolation finale.

First-year Gering head coach Jj Behrens was pleased with the way the Bulldogs who qualified for state performed in gaining their berths.

“We had a decent day on Saturday. In the consolation and semifinal rounds we wrestled really well. A lot of them were rematches from earlier in the week or Friday or earlier in the season. Out of the three we were able to avenge one of them (by Ramos),” Behrens said.

Behrens said two of Gering’s first-round state match-ups feature season rematches.

“Two of the four draws are against guys we’ve seen already and we had close matches with them,” he said. “Whether you’re the one seed or the four seed at the state tournament, you’ve got to go there with your ‘A’ game. I’ve seen fourth seeds become state champs, so you just have to go there with a good attitude.”

In Class C’s District 4 meet at Hershey, Bayard and Mitchell qualified three individuals each for state.

For Bayard, which finished sixth in the team standings with 79 points, senior Tanner Willey won the 195-pound class with a 6-4 decision over Jake Fulton of Valentine.

The Tigers had two runners-up in junior Tristan Hunter at 220 and sophomore Zaine Gallegos at 285/heavyweight. Both Hunter and Gallegos suffered pins in their respective championship matches.

For Mitchell, which finished ninth with 65 points, sophomore Drew Gilliland won the 113-pound title with a second-period pin of Gordon-Rushville’s Garrett Shadbolt. Gilliland returns to state after he placed fifth at 106 as a freshman.

Another Mitchell state returnee is sophomore Braydon Wiedeman, who needed a fourth-place district finish to qualify at 170 pounds. Wiedeman was the Class C fifth-place finisher at 182 last year.

Garrett Sterkel earned the Tigers’ other state berth by finishing fourth at 195 pounds.

Sargent/Burwell edged Valentine for the C-4 team championship, 204 team points to 202. Kearney Catholic was a distant third at 101.

In District D-4 action at North Platte, Morrill earned three state berths and finished eighth in the team race with 63 points.

Lions sophomore Garrett Zwiebel and junior Matthew Hessler earned return trips to Omaha by winning their respective district classes.

Zwiebel won the 152-pound title with a second-period pin of Garden County’s Terrel Vineyard, and Hessler won the 285 crown with a 5-3 decision over Justin Cosler of Stapleton-McPherson County.
Justus Peterson earned a state berth at 106 pounds with his fourth-place finish.

The D-4 team race went to host North Platte-St. Patrick’s with 136 points, followed by Sutherland’s 125 points. Hay Springs took fourth with 104 points. Minatare finished in 14th and Banner County in 17th without any individuals making state.



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