It was nearly a perfect Saturday afternoon for Class B’s top-ranked wrestling program.
And Omaha Skutt was more than happy to leave Boys Town and the District B-2 tournament in the shape it did.
The SkyHawks finished with seven champions and qualified wrestlers at 13 of the 14 weight classes for next week’s state tournament, along the way winning their 12th straight district crown by outdistancing runner-up Elkhorn South 265.5-152.
“This is probably the best we’ve wrestled all year,” Skutt coach Brad Hildebrandt said. “I’m super pleased.”
Brian Peska (106), JT Sloboth (113), Bailey Vanderpool (126), Jake Walker (145), Nick Hollins (160), Phillip Rasmussen (170) and Nick Jensen (195) won their weight classes for the SkyHawks.
Hildebrandt said his team qualified all 14 twice in a 15-year run that included 14 Class B team titles. He said he hoped to qualify 10 on Saturday.
“So we got three bonuses,” he said.
Vanderpool’s title may have been the biggest surprise. The freshman took advantage of the absence of Blair’s Colt Wakefield and pinned Kim Hammond of Boys Town in the finals. Wakefield, who finished third at last year’s state tournament and was ranked second entering the weekend, didn’t make weight Saturday morning.
Elkhorn South, in its second year as a program, finished just ahead of Schuyler for second place. The Storm had champions in third-ranked 220-pounder Cole Carleton and heavyweight Cal Griencewic, No. 6 in his weight class. Elkhorn South qualified six for state.
Blair teammates Gage Ryan and Will Schany each won titles Saturday. Ryan’s victory was the most exciting match of the final round.
Trailing Skutt’s Landon Gotschall 6-0 in the third period, Ryan pulled a reversal and earned a pin near the edge of the mat for the 152-pound championship. The junior Schany, the state’s top-ranked 182-pounder and rated in the national top 20, will be looking for his third state title next week.
Top-ranked Brett Velasquez of Bennington won the 120-pound title. Schuyler’s Elias Acosta was the champ at 132. West Point-Beemer senior Tristan Bettenhausen, ranked first in his weight class, won the 138-pound crown.
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