OMAHA — Last season, Adams Central's Braiden Kort put together an impressive state tournament run as a freshman that led to the state championship match. The magical season came to an unfortunate end when he lost the title to Quinton Chavez of Gering.
Saturday morning at the CHI Health Center, the two wrestlers met once again, this time in the 120-pound semifinals. And this time, Kort's hand was the one that was raised in victory at the end.
"It feels pretty good considering he beat me last year in the finals and he got me in the semis," Kort said. "I just went out there and did what I do, and I got the job done."
The championship round for classes B and C begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Kort unseated the two-time defending state champion with a 6-1 overtime thriller, recording a takedown and three-point nearfall in the extra period. The move came nearly a minute and a half after the referees declared Kort out of play, negating what would have been the go-ahead takedown in the third period.
"I thought I had the takedown, but the refs said I didn't. I didn't think about it too much; I just knew I could get in there and get another one," Kort said. "I was in pretty good shape because we've been working hard all year, so I wasn't too tired in overtime. I threw my shot and got it, and it felt pretty good."
Kort (44-3) and Chavez had met two times prior this season, with each grappler recording a win. The semifinal match lived up to its billing, as two escapes accounted for the only points scored in regulation during the match despite close calls from each wrestler.
The Patriots' 120-pound sophomore will now square off with Omaha Skutt's Zachary Ourada, who is 34-1 on the season. Ourada has placed third each of the previous two seasons.
Kort is hoping to be Adams Central's first state champion since 2011, when Christian Barry brought home the title.