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State wrestling finals, 2/18/18

Aquinas’ Joseph Reimers (top) wrestles Crofton/Bloomfield’s Ethan Pope in the Class C 182-pound final in 2018 during the state wrestling tournament in Omaha.

Before the start of each season, the Aquinas coaches have their wrestlers write out their individual goals and they're posted in the practice room.

Joseph Reimers sees his goals nearly every day.

At the top, he wanted to be a great team leader. Two, he wanted to win a third state championship. Three, he wanted to became the state's all-time leader in career takedowns.

That third goal was crossed off at last week's district meet. Joseph reached 452 career takedowns — besting the previous mark of 451 by Lincoln High's Chase White — on his way to another district title.

"Aquinas hosted districts, so it was really neat to beat it in front of my friends and family," Reimers said. "Now I kind of have that off my back and I can go into state and wrestle however I want, really."

Which brings Reimers to that goal of closing his prep career with a Class C state title at 182 pounds. Twenty-six wrestlers, including older brother Alexander Reimers, have won at least one state title at Aquinas. None has won three.

"It's crazy to think," said Joseph Reimers, who owns the Aquinas school record for wins with 158. "I feel like the reason why I've had the opportunity to have the success I've had is because of the rich history that we have."

The 182-pound division has belonged to Reimers in recent seasons. He won state titles at that weight in 2017 and 2018, and he enters this year's state meet at 42-0.

For Reimers, wrestling is a marathon, not a sprint. You won't find him trying for dear life to pin his opponents in the opening minutes — he only has 14 pins this year — but there's good reason for that.

"Against better competition, he might only get a few takedowns in the first period," Aquinas co-head coach Roy Emory said. "But he is just relentless and keeps coming and keeps coming, wears people down. That comes from the way he practices. He's probably the hardest-working kid I've ever coached, and that's in 15, 16 years.

"He's always looking to get better, he's always looking to the next step, and he's just not satisfied, so he's always improving and looking for ways to make himself better."

A lower pin number doesn't mean Reimers can't dominate matches. He does.

Emory said the senior can use his smarts to pick up on things during matches. At districts, Reimers won all three of his matches by technical fall, racking up takedowns in the process and wearing down his foes over a five- or six-minute stretch.

"Sure, there are quite a few kids that can go out there and pin them in a minute," Reimers said. "I'm trying to get better, and getting as much mat time as I can. Just staying on the mat and trying to keep working to get better."

Reimers, who will wrestle at Nebraska-Kearney, finds other ways to get better. He plays baseball in the summer and runs cross country in the fall.

"My older brother, his junior year, tore his ACL, my dad wasn't too big on football anymore so I decided I wanted to still play a fall sport," Reimers said. "The guys in my class definitely tried to talk me into (football), but I wanted to stay healthy for wrestling."

Reimers was one of 11 Monarchs to qualify for the state wrestling tournament. Aquinas reached the Class C state duals final two weekends ago, and now looks for more hardware.

Reimers is looking to do his part in Omaha in helping the Monarchs.

"I feel like I've got to wrestle my match and not let people slow me down," Reimers said. "That's probably the biggest thing. And have fun with it. That's definitely one of my main (goals), just to enjoy this last weekend and go out on top."

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2639 or cgrell@journalstar.com. On Twitter @LJSSportsGrell.

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