OMAHA - They're the guys who run laps in the gym in the dark. The guys who open the weight room and are the last to leave the wrestling room.
Those things and state wrestling championships are what set Lincoln High's Chase White and Northeast's Logan Molina apart from the pack.
The two juniors, best friends and cousins, took the final step to the top of the podium Saturday. White beat Tyler Harris of Millard South 9-3 in the Class A 140-pound championship at Qwest Center Omaha, and Molina beat Christopher Tyler of Omaha North 5-2 for the 160-pound crown.
"This started a year ago right here when Chase got pinned in the finals and finished second," said Lincoln High coach Andy Genrich. "He dedicated himself to wrestling like nobody I've seen before and he made this happen. He never rested. Heck, the day after last year's championship match, he was in the weight room lifting and later running."
White told his older brother Jordan, a former medalist for the Links, before his title match Saturday, "The next time you see me, I'll be a champion."
"I was locked in a room, feeling really sorry for myself after last year," Chase said. "And it was then I decided to do something about it. My brother, my parents, my coaches all helped me make it happen the way I wanted."
White did his part, too.
He worked with newcomers to the Lincoln High team. Genrich said White would help everybody on the team, from heavyweight Travis Roepke to 88-pound Evan Sackett.
"He's a team leader, a role model, a good student, what else?" Genrich said.
White even joined the Lincoln High tennis team in the fall, and playing the game for the first time, won some doubles matches.
"I think he was sneaking out of tennis practice to lift more weights," Genrich said with a smile.
White pinned his first three opponents in the state meet in less than five minutes total. He controlled Harris throughout the championship match.
"I got so freaked out by losing here last year, I was going to do everything as perfect as I could this time around," White said.
Molina had a more recent incentive to his championship run.
He lost to Tyler in a controversial double-overtime match in the district tournament a week ago, ending his win streak at 37 matches.
"That taught me so much," Molina said. "My coaches, Dwain Borchers and some other guys, helped me get ready to change everything from the last time we (he and Tyler) met on the mat."
Molina struggled to score on a single-leg lift takedown against Tyler a week ago, but had no such trouble Saturday. Molina also scored on a double-leg takedown at the edge of the mat, something also denied a week ago.
"We were trying to give Logan all the answers he'd need for this time against Tyler," Borchers said. "Logan works so hard and concentrates so hard, he soaked up the coaching like a sponge and made it all work."
Molina made wrestling his focus a year ago, just like his best friend White.
"I was a three-sport athlete and gave up football and baseball to concentrate on wrestling because I wanted a state championship and I want to wrestle in college," Molina said. "This sport gets into your head and you work because you believe."