OMAHA — It’s every athletes dream to go out on top; achieve the ultimate goal before riding off into the sunset.
Three Adams Central senior wrestlers have put themselves in position to do just that. The Patriots’ Derek Lonowski (160-pounder), Jack Barry (182) and Alex Meier (220) all advanced to today’s semifinal round, clinching a spot on the medal stand.
But AC head coach Dan Lonowski said they’re job isn’t finished.
“These three — none of them— are not happy with just a medal,” Lonwoski said. “I know it’s hard to just get a medal, but these three have aspirations to be in the finals, and that could happen. We have to wrestle well, but it could happen for us.”
Derek Lonowski improved to 45-0 on the season. After winning his first match of the tournament in a 4-0 decision, Derek beat Chadron’s Willy Cogdill 7-2.
“Last year and the year before, I felt kind of sluggish in my first couple of matches, just nervous and not really knowing what to expect. But I didn’t feel like that at all this year,” Derek said. “I knew what to expect, and I just have to do my best every time.”
The AC senior doesn’t feel like he has a target on his back for being undefeated, but he knows it’s there. He tries not to let it get to him.
Barry earned an 11-0 major decision victory in the first round, and won 9-8 in the quarterfinals against Nebraska City’s DJ Marco.
“Jack could have looked a little bit sharper,” Lonowski said. “Marco, from Nebraska City, is a good wrestler, whether you beat him by a pin or by a point, you beat him.”
Barry said last year’s experience helped him prepare mentally for the big stage of the state tournament.
“Last year, I had a lot of butterflies in my stomach, not knowing what to expect,” he said. “I knew this place was big, but on the mat it feels like you’re an ant. It feels good coming back this year, knowing that you have those butterflies out and knowing that you have a better chance.
“Those (first) two matches are crucial, so when you’re able to get those it’s huge, really rewarding.”
This is Meier’s first year qualifying for the state tournament, so when he saw the opportunity, he went inside the arena to get acclimated to the atmosphere.
“I got the chance to come in here after weigh-ins and soak it all in. I’ve been here before, but only watching,” Meier said. “It’s my first time on the floor. It’s a new experience and I love every second of it.”
Meier pinned his first opponent, but found himself in an unfavorable position in the quarterfinals. He trailed 1-0 in the third period but earned an escape with just two seconds remaining in the match. Neither wrestler won in the sudden death overtime, but Meier was able to record an escape in the tiebreaker round to win the match.
“I didn’t qualify last year, so it’s a whole new experience for me. I’m in really good company in the semifinals with Jack Barry and Derek Lonowski. They’re both undefeated, so that’s really good company to be with,” Meier said. “Four hard years of work and all that junior high and elementary wrestling, coming here it’s paying off.”
Andrew Schilke (113) and Marc Zeckser (145) both lost their quarterfinal matches and will compete in the second round of the consolation bracket, which started this morning. The semifinals begin at 5 p.m. today.
Shelton/Kenesaw had two wrestlers qualify for the semifinals in David Jimenez (106) and Michael Duffy (195).
Jimmenez won 19-6 in his first-round match and beat Tucker Hicks of Hershey 10-4 in the quarterfinals. Jimenez clinched his second consecutive medal with the win after placing fourth at last year’s state tournament.
Duffy, who was runner-up last year, recorded a pin and a 3-1 decision in his two matches.
“It’s a good feeling. I looked at it, and it was a tough bracket coming in,” Duffy said. “I had to wrestle tough, but I’m back in the semifinals so I’m thankful for that.”
Duffy said he can feel the added pressure of this year’s tournament that comes with his No. 1-ranking at 195 pounds. Now that he’s in the semifinals, he plans getting as much rest as he can.
“I’m going to rest up a little bit the rest of (Thursday), and I have a lot of time (Friday), too. I’ll just talk about (the semifinals) with my coaches, make sure the strategy is right and fix all of the mistakes.”
Minden’s Quin Rutt (160) also advanced to the semifinals with a pair of wins on Thursday. Quin pinned both of his opponents.
“Last year, I just wanted to get on the medal stand, being my first year of qualifying for state,” Rutt said. “This year, I have bigger goals in mind.”
The semifinals begin at 5 p.m. today.
South Central’s Dawson Messenger (113) and Logan Searle (182) both won their opening matches, but dropped their quarterfinals match. Shelton/Kenesaw’s Jack Duffy (152) and Zach Oliver (220) and Fillmore Central’s Trevor Adams also lost in the quartfinals.
106 — Josh Pokorny, Bennington, pinned Devin Gilliland, Adams Central; 1:32
113 — Andrew Schilke, Adams Central, pinned Tyler Fralin, Beatrice; 2:51
120 — Devin Ushio, Alliance, pinned Peyton Brodrick, Adams Central; 3:16
126 — Curt Randall, Omaha Skutt, pinned Dylan Gilliland, Adams Central; 5:07
138 — Walker Fisher, Ashland-Greenwood, dec. Erik Rostvet, Adams Central; 2-1
145 — Marc Zeckser, Adams Central, dec. Brad Lenz, Blair; 6-5
152 — Corey Jay Sornson, Nebraska City, pinned Tyler Zeigler, Adams Central; 1:04
160 — Derek Lonowski, Adams Central, dec. Justin Mahon, Bennington; 4-0
182 — Jack Barry, Adams Central, maj. dec. Matthew Skinner, Ogallala; 11-0
220 — Alex Meier, Adams Central, pinned Kody Frahm, Wayne; 3:20
113 — Jeff Heinz, Omaha Skutt, dec. Andrew Schilke, Adams Central; 4-1
145 — Quinten Dawes, Gretna, pinned Marc Zeckser, Adams Central; 0:38
160 — Derek Lonowski, Adams Central, dec. Willy Cogdill, Chadron; 7-2
182 — Jack Barry, Adams Central, dec. DJ Marco, Nebraska City; 9-8
220 — Alex Meier, Admas Central, dec. Justin Hennessy, Waverly; 2-1 TB
106 — David Jimenez, Shelton/Kenesaw, maj. dec. Jaden Ziemba, Battle Creek; 19-6
113 — Dawson Messenger, South Central, dec. Devon Spatz, East Butler; 4-2
120 — Dakota Harvey, Sargent/Burwell, pinned Tom Roach, Doniphan-Trumbull; 4:48
126 — Takoda Batenhorst, Madison, maj. dec. Elmer Montanez, Shelton/Kenesaw; 15-2
132 — Trevor Bukaske, Valentine, maj. dec. Davis Jacobson, Fillmore Central; 12-3
Evan Gideon, Sargent/Burwell, tech fall Zach McNally, Doniphan-Trumbull; 21-3
138 — Jake Smith, Wilber-Clatonia, pinned James Fuller, Red Cloud/Blue Hill; 151
Toby Nordmeyer, East Butler, pinned Kaleb Shafer, South Central; 0:31
145 — Zach Kirby, Battle Creek, dec. Wyatt Thayer, South Central; 3-0
Cory Rowse, O’Neill, dec. Wyatt Schiermeyer, Fillmore Central; 10-3
152 — Jack Duffy, Shelton/Kenesaw, maj. dec. Tucker Sjogren, Louisville; 13-4
Jordan Redler, Malcolm, dec. James Mazour, South Central; 8-4
160 — Drew Lanman, Battle Creek Chris Gard, Shelton/Kenesaw; 2:56
Quin Rutt, Minden, pinned C.J. Bolen, Fort Calhoun; 3:30
182 — Logan Searle, South Central, pinned Tyler Gideon, Sargent/Burwell; 0:52
195 — Michael Duffy, Shelton/Kenesaw, pinned John Chohon, Bishop Neumann; 3:46
Trevor Adams, Fillmore Central, dec. Wyatt Kastl, David City; 8-5
220 — Zach Oliver, Shelton/Kenesaw, pinned Paxton Prauner, Battle Creek; 3:21
285 — Justin Marquardt, Logan View pinned Jarrod Hinrichs, Fillmore Central; 1:28
Aron Reynaga, Madison pinned Andrew Gasseling, Minden; 0:28
106 — David Jimenez, Shelton/Kenesaw dec. Tucker Hicks, Hershey; 10-4
113 — Drew Gilliland, Mitchell, pinned Dawson Messenger, South Central; 2:51
152 — Nick Arlt, Oakland-Craig, dec. Jack Duffy, Shelton/Kenesaw; 3-1
160 — Quin Rutt, Minden, pinned Brad Schoch, Central City; 1:35
182 — Joseph Varela, David City, dec. Logan Searle, South Central; 15-8
195 — Michael Duffy, Shelton/Kenesaw, dec. Spencer Knopp, O’Neill; 3-2
Tanner Willey, Bayard, dec. Trevor Adams, Fillmore Central; 2-1
220 — Brook Huffman, Sargent/Burwell, pinned Zach Oliver, Shelton/Kenesaw; 1:25