Published Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 2:18 pm
WRESTLING
Lonowski takes perfect record into postseason

Derek Lonowski sees it everyday before practice.

Before the start of every practice, the Adams Central senior looks up at the Patriot wrestling board and sees his older brother Nick's accomplishments.

That has helped him focus on his way to a 40-0 record this year. He has been ranked No. 1 in the Class B, 160-pounds ratings all season.

Sure Derek, who placed fifth at 152 last year, would like to break his brother's records, which includes being tied with him with most pins in a season (29 along with Holden Barry).

But the main thing the younger Lonowski wants to accomplish is a state championship, the same thing Nick achieved when he was a senior in 2009.

His mission starts this weekend when the Patriots host the Class B, District 3 Tournament Friday and Saturday.

"I would like to follow in Nick's footsteps as he was a state champion," Derek said. "I just need to leave it all out on the mat and take one match at a time."

Patriot coach Dan Lonowski, Derek's dad, said that's a big thing.

"He will look up at the board every day, and it helps keep him focused," Dan said. "It's a day-by-day and match-by-match grind.

"Hopefully he can get it done. He wants that school record for pins even though it's not a state record or anything, but it's bragging rights."

The senior has yet to be taken down this season, but has been reversed, including giving up two reversals during a 6-4 win over Scottsbluff's Sabian Harsh, whose No. 2 in the weight class, at the Flatwater Fracas in December at the Heartland Events Center.

Derek is close to the Patriot all-time wins record in a season with 40. Adam Joseph leads the way with 44.

"It's been fun coaching Derek this season," he said. "He's so much better on his feet than in years past as he has not been close to giving up a take down yet. He hasn't complained one time, even though he kind of has a bad knee but wrestles through it. He never wants to sit out meets and wants nothing to do with that conversation. I hope he can continue to do well."

Derek said he doesn't mind wrestling for his father.

"He helps keep me focused and doesn't really put too much pressure on me," he said.

The Patriots are heading into the postseason with momentum after taking the Crusader Invite Saturday at Grand Island Central Catholic.

Chaz Janssen (170) and Marc Zeckser (145) were champions, while Andrew Schilke (No. 2 at 113), and Alex Meier (220) finished second.

Adams Central has been without four wrestlers during the past few weeks, including Jack Barry, No. 2 at 182. Coach Lonowski said he expects Barry and the others to be in the lineup this weekend.

"(Winning at GICC) was a big boost going into districts," Lonowski said. "We should have a full lineup and get a good number of kids to the state meet."

Northwest, Aurora, Boone Central/Newman Grove, Columbus Lakeview, Columbus Scotus, Crete, Fairbury, Milford-Dorchester, Schuyler, Seward and York join the Patriots in the district. While there's a lot of work for the host school to do for the tournament, Coach Lonowski said wrestling at home is a huge plus.

"It's nice to have it at our place. We don't have to travel and the kids get a chance to sleep in their own beds," he said. "If we wrestle well, I think we have a shot (at winning the district)."

Other districts

The Class A, No. 1 and five-time defending champion Grand Island Senior High wrestling team is seeking to win its eighth consecutive district championship as the Islanders compete in the A-1 Tournament in Norfolk Saturday.

The Islanders go into the postseason with seven ranked wrestlers, including undefeated grapplers Andrew Rojas (No. 2 at 138) and Chase Reis (No. 1 at 220), who are 29-0 and 37-0 respectively.
No. 5 Papillion-LaVista, No. 7 Norfolk and No. 8 Lincoln Pius X, along with Millard North, North Platte, Omaha Bryan, and Omaha Westside join Grand Island in the district.

Grand Island Central Catholic heads to the C-3 district in Centennial Friday and Saturday. No. 8 Centennial, No. 9 Wood River and 10th-ranked and defending Class C state champion Central City, along with Cedar Valley, Centura, Cross County/Osceola, David City Aquinas, Doniphan-Trumbull, Fillmore Central, Gibbon, Hastings St. Cecilia, Red Cloud/Blue Hill, Shelton/Kenesaw, South Central Nebraska Unified District No. 5 and St. Paul are in the district.

Hastings is also an area school hosting a district. The Tigers host the A-4 district Saturday. The tournament features No. 2 Omaha North and No. 10 Columbus, along with Elkhorn South, Lincoln High, Lincoln North Star, Lincoln Southeast and Omaha Northwest.

All districts will be updated live on trackwrestling.com.

* * *

Wrestling rally on KKPR Sunday

Area wrestling fans will want to tune their radios to KKPR (98.9 FM) at 3 p.m. Sunday for "The Power 99 Wrestling Rally" with host Doug Duda. The program includes interviews with coaches and Huskermat's Ross Halford take an early look at next week's state tournament.

* * *

100 wins

Wood River's Colby Spiehs, No. 1 at Class C 285, joined the 100-win club at the Loup City dual tournament Friday.

Marc Zavala is the prep wrestling writer for The Independent.

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