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Lincoln High Duals, 2/3/18

Lincoln High's Isaiah Alford (right) wrestles Papillion-La Vista South's Tyler Needham (left) in a 170-pound match at the Lincoln High Duals in February. Alford won all five of his matches at the meet.

Two seeking four

Derek Robb (Sidney) and Cameron Riggs (North Platte St. Pat's and Maxwell) joined the four-time state champions club in February. Two wrestlers, Omaha Burke's James Burks and Pleasanton's Tyler Pawloski, have a chance to join them. Burks went 47-3 as a junior and was a member of the USA Greco Roman UWW Cadet World Championships team. He also helped lead Omaha Burke to a state football title. Pawloski's most recent state title came at 126 pounds in Class D.

Class A not short on elite talent

There are several defending state champions returning in Class A, including James and Jakason Burks of Omaha Burke. Lincoln East's Maxx Mayfield and Chance Fry seek to repeat as champions, and Lincoln High's Isaiah Alford is coming off a 44-0 season at 170 pounds, which led to a scholarship offer from Nebraska. Kearney's Phillip Mooney is a two-time state champion and a Cornell commit.

Champs built to win again

Omaha Skutt has won seven straight Class B state titles, and 20 of the past 21. With returning state champions Nicholas Stoltenberg and Alex Vandyke back in the fold, the SkyHawks are among the favorites in Class B. Valentine (Class C) and Burwell (Class D) bring back several wrestlers from last year's state title runs. Millard South, Omaha Burke, Kearney and defending champion Lincoln East are among the top contenders in Class A.

State duals move up

For six years, the state duals championships took place a week after the state championships in Omaha. That changes this season. The dual championships in Kearney are set for Feb. 2, a week before districts and two weeks before the state meet. The state duals field — eight teams per class — will be determined by a wild-card point system, meaning more weight will be put on dual meets during the regular season.

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