Tanner Evans prides himself on an ability to push the pace.
So it’s not surprising that the Gretna senior heaps plenty of praise on the one who pushed him for three years in the wrestling room.
Evans, ranked No. 1 at 220, will compete in his second straight state championship match Saturday after winning in Friday night’s semifinals.
And he gives a good deal of the credit to a former teammate.
For three years, Evans trained daily with former Gretna standout Andy Janovich, now a fullback on the Nebraska football team.
“You don’t have a guy as talented as Andy as a training partner and not get better,” Gretna coach Matt Bruggeman said. “You get pushed every day. Every day. That’s what did it. (Evans) has taken it all in, and he’s reaping the benefits now.”
Evans, a finalist last year at 195, looks to keep the 220-pound Class B title at Gretna. Janovich won it last season for his second state wrestling championship.
“I couldn’t have asked for more out of a teammate,” Evans said. “Where I was then and where I am now is night and day. And you have to attribute a lot of that to (Janovich).”
Gretna also advanced 182-pounder Brady Radik into Friday’s semifinals.
“We’ve been very fortunate,” Bruggeman said of his recent run on quality big guys.
It’s made the wrestling room a danger zone. Bruggeman said he’s ended up on the wrong end of a couple of those tussles, too.
Evans’ opponent Saturday is Lexington’s Edwin Perdomo, a 13-5 winner over Parker Johnson of York in Friday’s other semifinal.
If Evans wins the title, he’ll have earned it. He beat No. 2 Austin Wonch of Aurora in Thursday’s quarterfinals, disposed of Elkhorn South’s Cole Carleton (ranked third) with a first-period pin in the semis and now gets No. 4 Perdomo Saturday.
“Everything that he’s done up to this point,” Bruggeman said, “has been done because of his hard work.”
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