OMAHA — When Kaleb Canoyer looked into his corner just a few moments after winning his first state title Saturday at the CHI Health Center Omaha, there was a familiar face.
One that had been there the whole time.
“He’s been there the entire time since I started wrestling in first grade,” Kaleb said of his dad, Brad Canoyer. “You know it’s great to accomplish one of the things we set out for.”
While it was something Kaleb had set out for for a long time, it sure did come with a price.
“You make eye contact and it’s just an accomplishment made,” Brad said. “It is a stepping stone to more things, but he sure did put in the time.”
Kaleb fell short at last season’s state tournament, finishing fourth, and was determined to not let that happen again this time around.
“It’s believing in your training,” Brad said. “Kaleb had gave 110 percent up until this point and he believed in it. That’s what it takes to finish a match against a tough solid opponent.”
That opponent was York’s Harrison Gocke, who walked into the Class B 152-pound title match with a record of 57-1.
Gocke and Canoyer were supposed to meet up earlier in the season at the Nebraska City Invitational, but the event was snowed out.
The only other meeting the two had happened last spring. Canoyer won that one, as well.
When the Waverly senior took a 3-2 lead into the third period of his first state title bout, he had to fight the urge to be on the attack.
“I kind of wanted to score, but I was thinking, 'At this point, a win’s a win and I don’t need to do anything stupid to lose this thing,’” he said.
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Conoyer became Waverly's first state champion since Robert Worley in 2006.
Canoyer was able to use the hours he spent in the weight room on his upper body and stay tied up with Gocke the entire third period to win the title.
He said the whole plan was to keep Gocke off of his legs and off of his body.
Pretty much to stall, without giving up points.
Everything fell into place.
Kaleb’s brother, Evan, had a different experience.
The 170-pound sophomore lost to Hastings’ Damen Pape in the state finals Saturday.
When Evan came off the mat, there wasn’t much of an embrace between him and his brother.
Just a little handshake and look in the eye.
“We’re not a huggy, feely family,” Brad said. “You just look at each other and you know the love is there. You know the appreciation is there. It doesn’t always get shown or said, but it’s the unwritten always being there for you.”