State Wrestling Championships, 2.18.17

Aquinas' Joseph Reimers (right) reacts after defeating Wakefield’s Cody Thomas in the Class C 182-pound final last February during the state wrestling championships at CenturyLink Center Omaha.

FRANCIS GARDLER, JOURNAL STAR FILE PHOTO

Class A

Schedule

Thursday: First round and quarterfinals, 4 p.m.; Friday: Consolation rounds, 12:30 p.m.; semifinals, 5 p.m.; Saturday: Consolation semifinals and finals, 8:30 a.m.; finals, 2 p.m.

By the numbers

44: Returning medalists.

7: Defending state champions.

2004: The last time a Lincoln team won a team state title (Lincoln East).

The team race

District champions: Kearney (12 state qualifiers), Gretna (10), Columbus (12), Lincoln East (14).

District runners-up: Grand Island (10), Lincoln Southeast (10), Omaha Burke (9), Millard West (8).

How it may play out in Omaha: The race appears to be between two teams in Kearney and Lincoln East, who are ranked Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, in the NSWCA team rankings. The Spartans were the only team in Class A to qualify all 14 wrestlers for state.

Wrestlers to watch

Maxx Mayfield, Lincoln East (120), so.: Was a state runner-up last year as a freshman and has rolled this year.

Phillip Moomey, Kearney (126), jr.: He's a heavy favorite to repeat as state champ.

Chance Fry, Lincoln East (138), jr.: Ranked No. 1 in his weight class and has yet to lose; won a state title wrestling for Lincoln Southeast in 2017.

DaShawn Dixon, Lincoln East (145), sr.: Ranked No. 1 in his weight class, won a state title wrestling for Hastings in 2016.

Ronniel Wells, Omaha North (145), sr.: Is the defending state champion.

James Burks, Omaha Burks (160), jr.: He was a headache for defenses in football, and now the junior is going for state title No. 3. Bumped up from 145 pounds.

Braiden Ruffin, North Platte (170), sr.: He's already won state titles at 170 pounds.

Isaiah Alford, Lincoln High (170), jr.: Finished sixth last year but is unbeaten this year; defeated Ruffin early in season.

Matthew Montgomery, Norfolk (220), sr.: Is 47-0 this season.

Lee Herrington, Kearney (285), sr.: The Super-State offensive lineman is a defending state champion.

Class B

Schedule

Thursday: First round and quarterfinals, 9:30 a.m.; Friday: Consolation rounds, 9:30 a.m.; semifinals, 5 p.m.; Saturday: Consolation semifinals and finals, 8:30 a.m.; finals, 2 p.m.

By the numbers

63: Returning medalists.

5: Defending state champions.

9: Unbeaten wrestlers in Class B.

The team race

District champions: Omaha Skutt (9 state qualifiers), Hastings (7), Blair (10), Sidney (8).

District runners-up: Plattsmouth (10), Northwest (8), Wahoo (8), Lexington (7).

How it may play out in Omaha: Omaha Skutt is aiming for a mind-boggling 25th state championship, and the SkyHawks are healthy entering the state meet. Hastings, Wahoo and Sidney seek to unseat Skutt. Hastings has defeated Skutt and Class A's Gretna in duals this year.

Wrestlers to watch

Caleb Lazure, Omaha Skutt (113), so.: He won a state title at 106 pounds a year ago.

Walker Moore, Blair (120), sr.: Looking to take the next step after runner-up finishes the past two seasons.

Trey Arellano, Sidney (132), jr.: Teammate Derek Robb is going for four state titles and will get the attention, but Arellano is having another dominating season.

Connor Laux, Hastings (138), sr.: He'll try to become a three-time state champion; also a standout baseball player.

Scott Fulsos, York (145), sr.: After a runner-up finish in 2017, Fulsos has taken it to another level; is 52-0 this season.

Derek Robb, Sidney (152), sr.: He's seeking state title No. 4, and his third at 152; is 57-0 this season.

Billy Higgins, Omaha Skutt (170), sr.: Won a state title at 160 last year; he'll likely need to get past Hastings' Damen Pape (49-0) to win another.

Gavin Eason, Norris (182), sr.: He's the school's all-time wins leader.

Sam Kolterman, Wahoo (195), jr.: After finishing second at 182 a year ago, Kolterman is dominating a weight class up.

Noah Stafursky, York (285), jr.: He's a force in the trenches in football; he's carried that over to the wrestling mat and is a favorite to win at heavyweight.

Class C

Schedule

Thursday: First round and quarterfinals, 9:30 a.m.; Friday: Consolation rounds, 9:30 a.m.; semifinals, 5 p.m.; Saturday: Consolation semifinals and finals, 8:30 a.m.; finals, 2 p.m.

By the numbers

42: Returning medalists.

10: Defending state champions.

19: The town of David City has 19 state qualifiers (11 from Aquinas, eight from David City), and three defending state champions.

The team race

District champions: David City (8 state qualifiers), Aquinas (11), Arlington (8), Valentine (8).

District runners-up: Central City (7), Battle Creek (9), Logan View (9), Broken Bow (9).

How it may play out in Omaha: Defending champion Valentine and David City have been steady powers in Class C the past four seasons. Both teams will take aim at the team title. Broken Bow is expected to challenge for team gold, too.

Wrestlers to watch

Caydon McCracken, Battle Creek (113), jr.: Moved up to 113 after a first-place finish at 106 last year; could see Broken Bow freshman standout Casey Faulkenberry.

Gage Krolikowski, Valentine (120), so.: He made a splash as a freshman last year, winning a state title at 113.

Jordan Kelber, Valentine (132), sr.: He won state titles as a freshman and junior.

Max Hughes, Syracuse (138), sr.: One of three wrestlers going for four state titles. Hughes won at 106 as a freshman, 113 as a sophomore and 132 as a junior.

Evan Waddington, Wood River (138), jr.: Could be on a collision course with Hughes. They have faced each other twice this year, splitting.

Melvin Hernandez, David City (145), sr.: Aiming to become the second three-time state champion to come out of David City High School.

Cooper Bates, Wilber-Clatonia (152), sr.: He's 42-0 this season.

Caleb Long, Valentine (160), jr.: Won a state title at 152 last year.

Kyle Petree, Aquinas (160), sr.: Finished second at 152 as a sophomore before winning a state crown at 160 last year.

Joseph Reimers, Aquinas (182), jr.: Defending state champion has dominated this year; 37-0 this year.

Caleb Lefferdink, Syracuse (285), sr.: Is 38-0 and going for two straight heavyweight titles.

Class D

Schedule

Thursday: First round and quarterfinals, 4 p.m.; Friday: Consolation rounds, 12:30 p.m.; semifinals, 5 p.m.; Saturday: Consolation semifinals and finals, 8:30 a.m.; finals, 2 p.m.

By the numbers

48: Returning medalists.

6: Defending state champions.

197-0: Career record of Maxwell senior Cameron Riggs, who is going for four state titles.

The team race

District champions: Burwell (9 state qualifiers), Elkhorn Valley (7), Pender (5), Mullen (8).

District runners-up: Neligh-Oakdale (5), Tri County (6), Elm Creek (4), Maxwell (7).

How it may play out in Omaha: Burwell is likely to have multiple wrestlers make deep runs in Omaha, so the Longhorns are the favorites to repeat as Class D champs.

Wrestlers to watch

Logan Russell, High Plains (106), jr.: Looking to repeat at 106 pounds; is 47-0 this season.

Dillon Stewart, Elkhorn Valley (120), sr.: Finished third at 106 as a sophomore and first at 113 as a junior.

Tyler Pawloski, Pleasanton (126), jr.: Seeking his third straight state title, including second at 126; is 47-0 this season.

Cameron Riggs, Maxwell (138), sr.: He hasn't been beaten in high school. Won his first three titles at North Platte St. Pat's before transferring.

Devon Walker, Elm Creek (170), sr.: Jumped two weight classes after winning a state crown at 152 last year.

Brandon Rezac, East Butler (195), sr.: Looking to better last year's state runner-up finish.

Thomas Hughes, Burwell (285), sr.: Defending state champion at heavyweight.

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