Wrestlers prep for districts
     2015-02-12      By Terry Gaston    sports@geringcitizen.com
Photo by Jeff Timblin - Gering senior Quentin Timblin dominates Sidney’s Coby Haas on Friday at the Bulldog Dome. Timblin pinned Haas with 18 seconds to go. 
County and area wrestlers got in their final action last week before they head into district competition, all of which will take place in the Panhandle on Friday and Saturday.

As a team, the Gering wrestlers came out on the short end of a 61-18 dual loss to Sidney on Friday after the Bulldogs’ Senior Night ceremony at the Gering High School gymnasium.

All the Bulldogs’ team points, however, came as the result of three pin falls.
Freshman Aaron Tovar scored a pin over Sidney’s Devin Schilz in 32 seconds at 120 pounds to get Gering on the team scoreboard after the Red Raiders won the first six matches for a 34-0 lead.

Three matches later, freshman Kaetlyn Todd – who had been competing for much of the season at 145 pounds – dropped to 138 and scored a pin in 1:45 over Sidney’s Logan Sherman.

Three more matches afterward, and in the final on-mat action of the night, senior Quentin Timblin reversed Coby Haas halfway through the first period and then pinned Haas with 18 seconds left to finish the scoring for Gering.
The Bulldogs forfeited four weight classes in the dual and had senior returning state qualifier Marcelino Ramos and freshman standouts Julian Corona and Cody Ybarra out of action for various reasons.

Still, second-year Gering coach Jj Behrens proclaimed for districts, “We’re ready.”
“The biggest thing is we have to fix those two or three things,” he said of the difference in many defeats from becoming victories.

“You look at our young guys, and we have one-point, two-point matches going into the third period, and it comes down to getting off the bottom, so that’s probably going to be our biggest area of work these next four practices (this week).”
Of Todd’s victory, Behrens said, “She’s been working hard all season. She got her weight down last week to ’38. I think the biggest thing with her is she wishes she would have done that three weeks ago. She’s done a good job, she’s progressed over the season and she’s at a weight now where she can compete.”

Of Timblin, Behrens said, “Quentin’s been trying to decide all season at what weight he wants one for the team, going up to ’70 in some duals. I think we made the decision to stay at ’60 going into districts.”

And of Tovar, “He was pretty hungry this week,” Behrens said. “He missed out last week, and one of the things that has hampered these last couple weeks is we’re not doing the best job of controlling the things we have control over. So it was nice to see that he’s hungry to get back and get ready for districts.”

Bearcats fourth at GNAC

District B-4 action will be at the Nelson Center at Chadron State College and includes Scottsbluff, which has won the district team title the past two seasons and has six returnees from last year’s third-place Class B State Tournament team.
On Saturday, the Bearcats rode senior Keegan Hessler’s victory at 120 pounds to a fourth-place team finish in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament at Columbus.

The Bearcats netted 134.5 points, just ahead of Norfolk’s 127. Kearney won the title over Hastings, 220 points to 186.5, and Columbus took third with 181.
Hessler (34-6), a state champion in 2013 and runner-up as a junior, scored a 6-2 decision over Columbus junior Carter Woehlk in the 120-pound final.

Sophomore 138-pounder Salem Harsh (30-11), a 2014 state sixth-place finisher, finished second to North Platte Junior Dylan Peterson (37-5) by a 15-8 decision.
Junior 113-pounder and returning state qualifier George Hernandez (25-16) finished second Saturday at 106 to undefeated Hastings freshman Connor Laux (35-0).
Freshman Mario Ybarra (31-9) was the runner-up at 113 for the Bearcats, falling in overtime to Columbus junior Kobe Paczosa (27-3).

“It was good to see those guys place,” third-year Scottsbluff coach James Miller said of his finalists.
Three Scottsbluff wrestlers earned third-place finishes, including sophomore returning state qualifiers Robert Price at 126 and Ben Rodriguez at 132. Sophomore Kobe Paez also took third at 170 pounds.

Freshmen Elijah Blanco at 145 pounds and Genuro Gurrola at 285/heavyweight placed fifth, while senior Keenan Schmidt at 152 and freshman Kedryn Jackson at 220 came in sixth.

Senior Sabian Harsh, a two-time state medalist who finished sixth last season and fifth as a sophomore, did not compete in the GNAC tournament but will be in the district meet, Miller said.

Miller added that he was glad to have the chance to see district teams Lexington and McCook at the GNAC meet. Lexington finished in sixth place with 107 points and McCook was eighth with 41.

“We got a better idea of what Lexington and McCook have,” Miller said. “It was kind of nice to see them right before districts and see what they’re lineups look like and what they’re going to do as far as team points.”
In preparing for districts this week, Miller said, “We’re just going to work on cleaning up the little things and emphasizing the things that we’re doing well, and hopefully the guys will be ready on Friday and Saturday.

“Between us and Lexington, we were both picked in the fall. If we can get a couple extra guys through, that would be a huge help for us. It will be a tough tournament to win between them and us, and there are a couple others who have studs on their teams (including Cozad). It should be a close team race.
“We just need to put ourselves in good situations to score points and keep ourselves out of trouble by just being conscious of what is going on in the match,” Miller said of time and score awareness.

Class C and D district teams to stay close to home

For small-school teams in the Panhandle, long travel is usually the norm during the season and especially come district competition time.
This year, however, all three district meets in which county-area teams are included will be near their homes, while the easternmost teams will get the taste of hundreds of miles of travel and living on the road for the weekend.

In District C-4 action, Mitchell is the host school and the Tigers have a strong returnee in junior Drew Gilliliand, who at state last year finished fourth at 113 pounds and was fifth at 106 as a freshman.

Also looking to earn a return trip to state for Mitchell is junior Brayden Wiedeman, who placed fifth as a freshman but did not medal last year. Also, senior Garrett Sterkel will seek to earn his second trip to state.

Bayard senior Tristan Hunter looks to earn another trip to state after a strong season in which he had lost just twice entering last week’s Southeast Duals in Yoder, Wyo. Hunter earned a fourth-place finish at state last year in his same class, at 220 pounds.

Junior heavyweight Zaine Gallegos, who entered the Southeast Duals undefeated on the season, will look to earn a second trip to state for Bayard. Both Gallegos and Hunter were runners-up at districts last year.

In District D-4 at Hemingford, Morrill senior Matthew Hessler looks to advance back to Omaha, where last year he earned a fourth-place medal at 285 pounds.
Hessler and junior Garrett Zwiebel were both district champs last year, but Zwiebel did not place at state. Also seeking a return trip to state for the Lions is junior Justus Peterson.

Come west, district wrestlers

As for the teams that will travel the farthest westward for districts this weekend, Holdrege has the longest trip. The Dusters’ one-way trek to Chadron for the B-4 meet is 324 miles.
Other schools joining Holdrege on long trips to Chadron include Broken Bow, Cozad, Gothenburg, Lexington and McCook.
Joining those teams, along with Gering and Scottsbluff, are closer schools Alliance, Chadron, Ogallala and Sidney.

The C-4 district in Mitchell has eight teams that will travel at least 270 miles.
Ravenna, in northeast Buffalo County, has the district’s longest trek to Mitchell at 312 miles. Southern Valley, in Furnas County near Oxford, is right behind with a 304-mile journey.

Other such long-distance travelers to Mitchell include those from Minden (300 miles), Arcadia-Loup City (298), Sargent/Burwell (292), Ainsworth (284), Kearney Catholic (282) and Loomis/Bertrand (272).
Other schools joining that octet and host Mitchell are Bayard, Bridgeport, Chase County, Gordon-Rushville, Hershey, Kimball and Valentine.

Travel to the D-4 meet in Hemingford is not as spread out, which says how many of the state’s smallest schools lie west of U.S. Highway 83. The easternmost school in the district is Medicine Valley in Curtis, which will travel 232 miles to Hemingford.
The long-distance honor from southwest Nebraska is Hitchcock County, which will travel 244 miles from Trenton for district action.

Next door, in the southwest corner, is Dundy County-Stratton, which is 223 miles from Hemingford. And Maxwell has a 206-mile trip from east of North Platte – from where St. Patrick’s will travel 193 miles.

With relatively shorter trips and joining Hemingford, Hitchcock County Medicine Valley and Dundy County-Stratton are Banner County, Minatare, Morrill, Crawford, Creek Valley, Garden County, Hay Springs, Hyannis, McPherson County, Mullen, Perkins County, Sioux County and Sutherland.

Welcome to the west to all wrestlers, and may the best make their way across Nebraska next week for the state tournaments at CenturyLink Center.

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