By Alan Carman
The Imperial Republican
Four Longhorn wrestlers punched their tickets to the Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament by placing in the top four in the district finals held Saturday in Hershey.
In what is considered the toughest class C district in the state, qualifying four wrestlers is no easy task.
On Friday, the Longhorns had one of the best days of the year. Six out of the nine wrestlers won in the first round, with another four winning in the second round. That put four in the semi-finals scheduled for Saturday morning.
The tide turned on Saturday and the Longhorns went without a win in the championship semi-finals and the consolation quarter-finals.
This left four wrestlers in the heartbreak round. A win there puts a wrestler in the state tourney and a loss ends their season.
All four wrestlers responded with great matches. Keithan Cochran started off the round by pinning Zac Keating of Kearney Catholic in less than a minute. This seemed to fire up the rest of the team.
Jeremiah Lueth bounced back after losing a heartbreaker to undefeated and eventual district champ Scott Matson of Kearney Catholic.
Lueth faced Brett Mauler of Sargent/Burwell, who boasted a record of 27-5. Knowing any mistake can end the season, Lueth wrestled a cautious match. After scoring two points for near fall and getting a point for an escape, Lueth fought a defensive battle to hold on to the 3-0 victory.
Up next was senior Tyler Roenfeldt. In a match that was very fast- paced and high scoring, Roenfeldt proved to want it more by out-scoring Jacob Leider of Mitchell 19-7.
Nathan Hinojosa closed out the round by pinning Tanner Johnson of Gordon-Rushville in the third period.
The other five Longhorn wrestlers all had good showings at districts.
Freshman Michael May had one of his best performances of the year, going 2-2. May lost a very close 4-6 decision in the consolation quarter-finals to Tony Canseco of Mitchell.
Trevor Fuehrer moved up to the 171 pound weight class, going 1-2. Misael Garcia, Jesse Ferebee and Steven Way all had good showings, but exited the tournament with 0-2 records.
Chase County finished the tournament in 10th position out of the 15 team field. Team scores and number of qualifiers were:
Mitchell 202.5-8, Valentine 135.5-6, Sargent/Burwell 123-5, Gordon-Rushville 114-6, Ord 112.5-5, Kearney Catholic 109-4, Ainsworth 104-5, Kimball 68-2, Southern Valley 68-4, Chase County 66-4, Loomis/Bertrand 59-2, Bridgeport 42-2, Hershey 37-1, Bayard 33-1, Hitchcock County/Wauneta-Palisade 24-1.
Individual results were:
112 Keithan Cochran pinned Lathan Petska (Ord) 1:13, decisioned Marcos Ramirez (WPH) 7-4, decisioned by Jesse Retzlaff (G-R) 4-5, pinned Zac Keating (KCA) 0.47, decisioned Jesse Hays (SVA) 12-4 for third place.
119 Misael Garcia pinned by Anthony Pacheco (KCA) 3:22, bye, pinned by Brandon Trueblood (SVA) 4:28.
130 Michael May decisioned Aksel Wiseman (Her) 6-2, pinned by Eric Arnold (Val) 5:13, decisioned Lane Kizzire (Bay) 5-4, decisioned by Tony Canseco (Mit) 4-6.
135 Jesse Ferebee technical fall by Marcus Nelson (Val) 4-20, bye, pinned by Chance Hall (Bri) 3:55.
140 Jeremiah Lueth pinned Jeff Gehrt (G-R) 0:40, decisioned Tyler Frederick (Her) 4-2, pinned by Scott Matson (KCA) 4:57, decisioned Brett Mauler (Sar) 3-0, pinned Tyler Frederick (Her) 2:47 for third place.
145 Steven Way pinned by Jed Fenske (Sar) 1:58, bye, pinned by Travis Dahlke (Ord) 1:16.
171 Trevor Fuehrer bye, pinned by Willie Schwartzkopf (Mit) 2:20, pinned Nick Pappas (Bri) 2:29, major decisioned by Alex Johnson (Bay) 0-11.
215 Tyler Roenfeldt pinned Mathew McGahan (Her) 0:55, pinned Travis Willey (Bay) 2:33, pinned by Matt Pribil (G-R) 5:12, major decisioned Jacob Leider (Mit) 19-7, decisioned by Kethan Mercure (Val) 3-7 for fourth place.
285 Nathan Hinojosa bye, pinned Raymond Trevino (Bay) 4:32, pinned by Clayton Olcott (Sar) 4:54, pinned Tanner Johnson (G-R) 4:47, pinned by Dakota Vojta (LOB) 1:34 for fourth place.
The State Wrestling Tournament begins at 7:30 MT on Thursday, Feb. 18.