OMAHA — Aquinas wrestler Kyle Petree got one of the stunning wins of the state wrestling tournament when he beat North Bend Central’s Zach Borer and his 106-2 career record in the semifinals.
That was really, really great, because Borner had crushed Petree twice this season and at least 10 times going back several years.
Then Petree came back and got the win he really, really wanted when he defeated Bryson Fisher of Chase Country 7-5 for the Class C 160-pound state championship on Saturday at CenturyLink Center Omaha, with the junior winning his first state championship.
“I’ve wanted to win since I was a little kid. I wanted to be a four-time state champion, but I’ll take one right now over anything,” Petree said.
Aquinas had two individual state champs, with Joseph Reimers winning his at 182 pounds about 20 minutes after Petree. That makes 33 individual state champs in program history. Aquinas finished eighth in the team race.
Petree said he had to try and move past his win in the semifinals, which was hard because of how excited everyone was around him.
“Oh, man, I had so many calls and people stopping me and telling me, 'Good job.' It just exploded,” Petree said.
Petree said he was more emotional after winning Saturday.
“I finally finished my dream right now, and I’ll come back strong next year,” he said.
There were some tense moments at the end of the match, as officials conferred for about two minutes to discuss if Fisher had tied the match at the end of the third period. They decided he had not.
“It was nerve-wracking, but I was here last year and knew what you had to do to keep your calm,” said Petree, who lost in the finals in 2016.
Petree finished the year with a 37-8 record, but got the state title.
“The bigger the tournament, the better he wrestles,” Aquinas coach Eric Pflum said.
Reimers defeated Cody Thomas of Wakefield 4-3 in the championship. Reimers is a sophomore wrestling in a veteran weight class, but already has a third- and first-place state finish.
“It can be tough,” said Reimers of his weight class. “I have good practice partners. I had (Matthew Kindler) last year, and he was a state champ. I had Petree this year, and he’s a state champ, so I’m keeping busy in the room.”
Just as Reimers was getting ready for his match, Petree won the state title.
“You feed off of that so much, and it gets you hyped up,” Reimers said. “You see that and you know that’s what you want to be. And then a couple of matches later you get that chance, and it’s pretty sweet.”