Published Tuesday, February 12, 2013 at 12:01 am / Updated at 9:18 pm
WRESTLING
Repeat was neat, but 3 in works for Badger junior
Class B Wrestling
RETURNING CHAMPIONS
120: Brett Velasquez, Bennington, 103 (’11), 113
132: Colton Adams, Scottsbluff, 112 (’11), 126
138: Tristan Bettenhausen, West Point-Beemer, 126
182: Will Schany, Blair, 145 (’11), 170

UNDEFEATED WRESTLERS
106: Clayton Cobb, Norris, 32-0
126: Tanner Oborny, Seward, 18-0
145: Vince Thatcher, Crete, 37-0
152: Tyson Dowler, Alliance, 25-0
170: Chance Bila, Chadron, 35-0
220: Tanner Evans, Gretna, 41-0

Brett Velasquez can look back now and laugh at that old goal sheet.

Back then, before his first season in high school wrestling, the Bennington standout was just looking for a medal at state.

“At that point, I let him know that he should really set his goals a little higher,” Badgers coach Alan Pokorny said. “I think Brett and his parents were a little surprised that I was telling them that. But he had the ability in him to do it.”

What Pokorny saw early is what everyone else has been seeing the last three seasons.

Velasquez enters the state wrestling tournament with two state titles. A successful three days at the CenturyLink Center could put him in position next season to join the exclusive club of four-time state champions.

He would become Bennington’s second four-time winner, something only two other schools can claim.

First things first. Velasquez has an opening-round match Thursday against Lexington’s Alam Alvarez, ranked sixth at 120.

Pokorny describes Velasquez as “very aggressive.” Often times when he was learning the sport, he would win by simply tiring out his opponent.

“He even wore himself out he would go so hard,” Pokorny said. “He just never stops wrestling, is constantly moving. He’s got such a high motor on him. I didn’t want to tame that down, but we needed to work on his technique.”

That’s been a point of emphasis since Velasquez got to high school. Last fall he went to a couple of national tournaments and had some success. Staying in good position, setting up takedowns and better conditioning are things he said he came away with from the extra time on the mat.

“I’ve seen it make a difference,” Velasquez said.

At last year’s state tournament, Velasquez won in overtime to claim the 113-pound title. His freshman crown came at 103.

He’s already broken the school record for wins in a season with 41. Four more victories this week would put him with Andy Pokorny and Brett Allgood as three-time winners for the Badgers.

Allgood capped an unbeaten career with his fourth title in 2002. Pokorny, the coach’s son, is ranked No. 1 at his weight class at the Division II collegiate level.

“It’s a pretty cool deal,” Alan Pokorny said of the possibility of adding another four-time winner to Bennington’s record books. “They’re special to have. Four is tough. But we’ve got this season to finish and a whole other one after that.”

That’s a lesson Velasquez said he’s learned through a couple of slip-ups over the last two seasons. The only loss this year was a 1-0 setback at a dual tournament in Iowa to a wrestler from Minnesota.

His lone loss last season came in the district finals to JT Sloboth of Skutt. Velasquez beat Sloboth in overtime in the state finals one week later.

“You’ve got to be 100 percent into every match or you can get beat,” he said. “I’ve thought about (four state titles). It would be great to be up there with Allgood. But right now, the focus is to get to three and then continue to keep improving.”

Contact the writer:

402-850-0781, nickrubek@gmail.com, twitter.com/nickrubek

Contact the writer: Nick Rubek

nickrubek@gmail.com    |   402-850-0781    |  

Nick Rubek covers Nebraska football, Omaha Beef football and high school sports throughout the state, including football, wrestling and soccer.

TEAM TRACKER »
GAME OF THE WEEK »
Each week during the high school sports season, NEPrepZone.com highlights a matchup in the ongoing "Hiland Dairy Game of the Week" series. Previous matchups »

Refuel with Hiland »


SEARCH
ON TWITTER »
LIVE CHAT
< >
SPOTLIGHT »
2013 All-Nebraska football, volleyball teams
View The World-Herald's selections to the 2013 All-Nebraska football and volleyball teams.
2013 Super Six football team
Meet The World-Herald's 2013 Super Six team, honoring the area's top college football prospects.
All-Nebraska basketball teams 'shake' it up
Being known more for their ability to shake off a defender than for their dance moves didn't stop our 2013 All-Nebraska basketball selections from busting a few "Harlem Shake"-inspired moves.
Facebook: Nebraska Prep Zone Page
The Nebraska Prep Zone Facebook page is your home on the social web to get the latest Nebraska prep sports news, photos, updates and more from around the Midlands.
Map: Nebraska Stadiums
Need help finding a stadium in the state of Nebraska? We've got you covered with this interactive map of high school and college facilities from across the state.
Nebraska high school all-time swimming leaders
See a complete list of the all-time leaders from Nebraska high school swimming and diving competition.
Nebraska high school all-time track charts
See a complete list of the all-time leaders from Nebraska high school track and field competition.
The disappearance of small-town football
Friday night lights across rural Nebraska are going dark. But one town, in its last season of gridiron independence, proved that school spirit is stronger than ever.
Western Iowa high school all-time track charts
See a complete list of the all-time leaders from Western Iowa high school track and field competition.