Grand Island school glad to fill in at Creighton invite
CREIGHTON — Whenever a wrestling tournament has to be rescheduled, it’s not unusual for the field to change because of scheduling commitments.
With traditional participants like Plainview and Winside unable to compete in the Creighton Invitational — rescheduled after a winter storm knocked out the first weekend of the winter sports season in the area — Creighton coach Zac Kliment found a replacement. He brought in Class B No. 2-ranked Grand Island Northwest to take part in Tuesday’s rescheduled event.
The Vikings were all too happy to make the three-hour trip as they claimed the team championship and took home 12 medals, five of them first-place efforts.
“We try to get into a lot of tournaments and we’re grateful to Coach Kliment to let us get into this tournament,” Northwest coach Brian Seybrandts said. “We were going to York and that got postponed and we were searching for a tournament. We asked three other schools and they wouldn’t let us in, but Coach Kliment said they had an opening so we figured, ‘What the heck, we’d make the trip up.’ ”
It turned out to be a good road trip for the Vikings, as they claimed individual titles with Grady Arends (106 pounds), Collin Quandt (126), Grady Griess (195), Cooper Kiser (220) and Marcos Martinez (285), all of whom are ranked in the Class B ratings at their respective classes.
Four of the five winners for the Vikings were state runners-up last season, and Sybrandts was happy to see those wrestlers perform well.
“Some of our kids are wrestling at a high level right now and we had a great team effort with 12 medalists,” he said.
The Vikings put seven wrestlers into the championship round, with two falling to rated wrestlers from Battle Creek, who claimed runner-up honors.
The Class C No. 4 Braves had an impressive final round, winning five of seven championship finals and finishing with a total of 10 medalists on the day.
Coach Cody Wintz was pleased.
“Top to bottom, we wrestled well,” he said. “We had some guys who didn’t medal but still scored some points for us, and the guys who punched their tickets to the finals really had a good final round. We won a lot of big matches and I was happy with that. Now we need to bring along a few more weight classes to try to score more points.”
Leading the effort for the Braves was senior 120-pounder and top-ranked Caydon McCracken. He became just the third wrestler in the history of the Creighton tournament to win four consecutive titles, doing so with a commanding 9-0 major decision over Adam Miller of Elkhorn Valley.
“I don’t remember who he’s wrestled here over the years, but he is a special kid,” Wintz said of McCracken. “He had a tough matchup against the Northwest kid in the semifinals and I thought that might be the finals match coming in, but he controlled that one and then controlled the finals match.”
Another dominating effort by a top-ranked Brave came from senior 152-pounder Ty Heimes, who controlled his finals match from the start and pinned Austin Cooley of Northwest at the 3:27 mark to take top honors at 152 pounds.
“All year long, he’s been wrestling lights out for us,” Wintz said. “He’s been pretty dominant and getting a lot of bonus points for us.”
Damien Kersten won a matchup of returning state medalists with a 7-1 win over Andrew Herley of Neligh-Oakdale in the 138-pound final for Battle Creek. The Braves also got first-place efforts from Owen Lade at 132 pounds and AJ Hawthorne at 182 pounds.
Returning state champion Joshua McFarland of Elkhorn Valley left little doubt who the wrestler to beat in Class D at 160 pounds is right now, dominating his weight bracket and finishing with a second-period pin over Austin Miller of Norfolk High reserves to claim top honors.
He and teammate Prestin Vondra (145) helped the Falcons to a fourth-place finish behind Neligh-Oakdale, who had a single champion in Cameron Wilkinson at 113 pounds. He had the fastest pin in the finals, needing 56 seconds to take care of Clearwater/Orchard’s Spencer Kester.
The host Bulldogs, who finished fifth in the 15-team tournament, also had an individual champion as Bryce Zimmerer earned a 5-1 decision over Noah Scott of Randolph to win the 170-pound title.
Northwest 279, Battle Creek 232.5, Neligh-Oakdale 209, Elkhorn Valley 175.5, Creighton 126, Clearwater/Orchard 116.5, Norfolk High reserves 82, Randolph 63, Crofton/Bloomfield 56, Osmond 47, Norfolk Reserves Team 2 18, Creighton JV 16, Niobrara/Verdigre 8, Laurel-Concord-Coleridge 7, Pender 6.
106: Grady Arends, Northwest, pinned Hunter Bennett, EV, 2:20. 113: Cameron Wilkinson, N-O, pinned Spencer Kester, C/O, :56. 120: Caydon McCracken, BC, maj. dec. Adam Miller, EV, 9-0. 126: Collin Quandt, Northwest, pinned Carter King, BC, 1:39. 132: Owen Lade, BC, pinned Dillon Mckinney, Northwest, 2:13. 138: Damien Kersten, BC, dec. Andrew Herley, N-O, 7-1. 145: Prestin Vondra, EV, dec. Alex Schmit, Randolph, 11-5.
152: Ty Heimes, BC, pinned Austin Cooley, Northwest, 3:27. 160: Joshua McFarland, EV, pinned Austin Miller, NR, 3:19. 170: Bryce Zimmerer, Creighton, dec. Noah Scott, Randolph, 5-1. 182: AJ Hawthorne, BC, pinned Brock Schaecher, EV, 1:02. 195: Grady Griess, Northwest, pinned Clay Thiele, C/O, 2:15. 220: Cooper Kiser, Northwest, dec. Austin Marx, BC, 3-1. 285: Marcos Martinez, Northwest, pinned Jake Jensen, NR, 1:31.
106: Cody Booth, N-O, pinned Griffin Claussen, N-O, :34. 113: Caden Frederiksen, Northwest, pinned Boston Reeves, BC, 2:54. 120: Grayson Fries, Northwest, dec. Brock Kester, N-O, 4-2. 126: Mason Bykerk, Osmond, maj. dec. Cory Armstrong, NR, 11-3. 132: William Poppe, C/B, pinned Dylan Ahlman, BC, 2:43. 138: Cody Hanvey, Creighton, dec. Hayden Freidt, Northwest, 7-2. 145: Kobe Thompson, BC, def. Owen Friesen, Northwest, match limit.
152: Brandon Bloomquist, Randolph, pinned Jose Luna, N-O, 1:51. 160: Jose Costilla, Northwest, def. Conor Dempsey, N-O, match limit. 170: Kaleb Pofahl, N-O, pinned Mitchell Peterson, EV, 1:57. 182: Jayden Arehart, N-O, pinned Codey Snider, C/O, 2:08. 195: Dawson Kaup, N-O, pinned Terance Burrell, Creighton, :52. 220: Colton Klabenes, N-O, pinned Jared Janssen, C/B, 1:31. 285: Christian Yaw, EV, pinned Dahlaas Zlomke, BC, 3:42.