GRAND ISLAND, Neb. — Before the start of the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association’s All-Star Classic, Connor Bolling was one of two wrestlers selected to captain the East squad.
The Central City graduate gladly accepted that honor and didn’t disappoint.
Bolling, who will wrestle at the University of Nebraska at Kearney next year, rolled to a 19-3 technical fall over Valentine’s Bart Miller at 125 pounds in helping the East to a 27-16 victory Saturday at Grand Island High School. It was the seventh straight year that the East has won the dual.
“I think anyone on our team could have been captain, so it was an honor,” Bolling said. “I wanted to prove out there that I deserved to have that honor.”
Bolling, who finished second at 126 pounds in Class B last season, wasted little time in getting a first-period technical fall. Miller was the 113-pound state champion in Class C last year.
“I wanted to get the job done and wanted to prove that I was still up there,” Bolling said.
East co-coach Aaron Groff of Boys Town said Bolling was impressive for not just his work on the mat during practices, but off it during the week’s activities and volunteer work.
“He’s been one of the neatest kids to hang out with in all of our volunteer stuff,” Groff said. “He did a nice job. He’s obviously a great wrestler, but even off the mat he’s just a great kid.”
Raymond Central’s Aaron Studebaker was also selected as East captain. He won his 184-pound match 6-1 over Lincoln Pius X’s Ben Goodwin.
Groff said he was pleased with how his squad wrestled.
“The kids came out and did a fantastic job,” Groff said. “It was a good week of training. We had a bunch of gamers, and it’s fun when you get a lot of those. When it was go time, they were all ready and really competed very well for us.”
While the East rolled to victory, the West got impressive performances out of Sargent/ Burwell’s Jed Fenske and Cambridge’s Mike Shoff.
Fenske, who will wrestle at Nebraska, earned a 20-5 technical fall over Millard West’s Adam Beckwith at 157. Shoff, who will play football at South Dakota State, pinned Norris’ John Stajner in 16 seconds at 285.
West co-coach Derry Trampe of Ord saluted Fenske and Shoff.
“Jed really impressed me because that was a great Class A wrestler that he not only beat, but beat him by a technical fall,” Trampe said. “He made it look easy. Mike was impressive, as well. It was almost like watching a man-child out there with the way he wrestled.”
Grand Island’s Andrew Riedy, a four-time state champion, posted a 6-2 victory over Nebraska Christian’s Isaac Elge at 141. Grand Island Northwest’s Blake Fruchtl, a three-time state champion, posted a 4-3 victory over Bellevue East’s Justin Nawrocki at 149 that helped put the West up 11-7.
But Sargent/Burwell teammates Brett Mauler and Tanner Balfour weren’t as fortunate. Mauler lost 4-1 to Fillmore Central’s Luke DeLong at 165 and Balfour fell to Bennington’s Aaron Hovey 8-6 in overtime at 174.
“We knew we were going to be strong in the weight classes that we won with Jed, Andrew, Blake and others,” Trampe said. “We scored some points there and got a lead, but we got into some tough matches later on. We got pinned in some matches, and that proved to be the difference.
“I’m pleased with what we did because there were some great matches, but you still hate to lose.”
Trampe said it was a great experience being one of the coaches for the event and thought that the wrestlers enjoyed the week, as well.
“We had a great bunch of kids to work with,” Trampe said. “We did a bunch of community service this week with the kids. They were outstanding with what they got done and how quickly they worked. They all pitched in doing their part, and no one complained.
“It was neat to work with the kids and other coaches. It’s a great experience.”
125 pounds: Connor Bolling, East (Central City), tech. fall. Bart Miller (Valentine), 19-3.
125: Brandon Lincoln, East (Blair), major dec. Bart Miller (Valentine), 19-10.
133: Taylor Summers, East (Tri County), dec. Nick McGrath (Ralston), 3-1.
141: Andrew Riedy, West (Grand Island), dec. Isaac Elge (Nebraska Christian), 6-2.
141: Tanner Taubenheim, West (Amherst), major dec. Gustavo Avila (Madison), 12-4.
149: Zack Denney, West, (North Platte) pinned Derek Bailey (Sutton), 4:58.
149: Blake Fruchtl, West (Grand Island Northwest), dec. Justin Nawrocki (Bellevue East), 4-3.
157: Jed Fenske, West (Sargent/Burwell), tech. fall Adam Beckwith (Millard West), 20-5.
157: Zach Schuerman, East (Tri County), dec. Hunter Timmons (Medicine Valley), 9-7.
165: Luke DeLong, East (Fillmore Central), dec. Brett Mauler (Sargent), 4-1.
165: Randy Null, East (Plattsmouth), dec. Wyatt Schake (Amherst), 10-3.
174: Aaron Hovey, East (Bennington), dec. Tanner Balfour (Sargent/Burwell), 8-6 OT.
174: Chris Luehring, East (Bellevue West), pinned Connor Norton (Maxwell), 2:39.
184: Aaron Studebaker, East (Raymond Central), dec. Ben Goodwin (Lincoln Pius X) 6-1.
184: Conor Hovey, East (Bennington), pinned Bobby Cahill (North Platte), 1:40.
197: Dennis Steele, East (Ashland-Greenwood), major dec. Tyrell Wilson (Mullen), 13-4.
220: Ethan Manley, East (Syracuse), pinned Brent Hoerler (Bridgeport), 3:34.
220: James Jones, East (Omaha North), major dec. Brent Hoerler (Bridgeport), 16-8.
285: Mike Shoff, West (Cambridge), pinned John Stajner (Norris), 0:16.
285: Jose Leon, West (Columbus), dec. Brandon Barta (David City), 3-1 OT.