By Alan Carman
The Imperial Republican
In a bittersweet end to the wrestling season, Head Coach Matt Vlasin took solace in the fact that the drought of not qualifying anyone for state wrestling had been broken but pondered on how much better the ending could have been.
All three Chase County wrestlers looked better at the state tournament than the final results show. In Omaha, one wrong move can cost you any chance of placing in the top six, as the Longhorn wrestlers found out.
Bryson Fisher was up first in the opening round of wrestling. Fisher had qualified at districts by placing fourth in the 145 pound class so had to start the tournament wrestling C2 district champion Cory Rowse of O’Neil.
It was a very close match with the first period ending in a 2-4 deficit for Fisher. Rowse added two more points in the second period to lead by four going into the final two minutes.
Fisher had control of Rowse in the third when he went for a cradle and as he was working to expose the shoulders of Rowse to the mat, Rowse managed to rotate his body to gain control of Fisher and score a pin just 12 seconds into the third period.
Jake Lueth had also placed fourth at districts, pairing him with C3-160 pound district champion David Gross of St. Paul, who sported a 35-1 record.
Gross got a takedown in the first period for two points but Lueth scored one for an escape. Lueth was on top to start the second period and was unable to keep Gross down, falling behind 1-3 after the escape.
After both wrestlers started on their feet in the third, Gross scored another takedown but, with a lot of effort and determination, Lueth got the escape to put him down three points with less than half a minute to go.
Lueth got a headlock on Gross at the end of the period but Gross blocked the throw and won the match 5-2.
In his 195 lb. opener, Aaron Hinojosa was paired against the district C3 third place finisher from Doniphan-Trumbull, Kalen Garrett by way of Hinojosa’s second place finish at the district tournament.
The experience of Garrett, a senior, showed in the match leading Hinojosa 4-1 after the first and 7-2 at the end of the second period.
With only a minute left in the match, Hinojosa went for broke trying to use the momentum of Garrett to pull him down towards Hinojosa and then roll through and secure control on top. Unfortunately Garrett was able to stop himself while still on top of Hinojosa and won with a pin in 5:13.
That wrapped up the matches Thursday with all three wrestlers returning Friday for the first round of consolations.
Under the pressure of knowing that if you lose the tournament is over, all three Chase County wrestlers got the job done in the first round Friday with Fisher getting the first victory for Chase County, defeating Jacob Tracy of Gibbon in a close 5-3 decision.
Lueth followed that up with the total domination of Brennen Lech of Ord, pinning Lech halfway through the second period.T
Not to be left out, Hinojosa pinned Brandon Rezac of East Butler in 4:20 to knock out the only other freshman in the 195 pound weight class and join his teammates in the consolation second round.
Nothing went right in the next round, however.
After Fisher found himself trailing in the late stages of the match with Malcolm’s Dustin Monroe, it looked as if the tide was turning in Fisher’s favor. But in an attempt to turn Monroe, Fisher got too high on his back, allowing Monroe to get ahold of his head and pull it under to expose the shoulders of Fisher to the mat and give Monroe three more back points and an 8-2 victory.
Lueth would face Ryan Malasek, a second place finisher in the C3 district from Central City.
It appeared Lueth was in control and getting a takedown but Malesek got the arm of Lueth trapped under his own arm and kept rolling when they got to the mat. As Malesek rolled past the bottom position, he rotated his body with a reverse headlock on Lueth that was sunk in deep and tight.
Lueth found himself fighting for his tournament life and as he was mustering the energy for an explosive bridge to get out of the hold, his shoulders came to rest on the mat and with the slap of his hand, the referee ended his dream.
Lueth finished sixth last year in the Colorado State Wrestling Tournament and had hoped to improve on that placing in his final year of high school wrestling.
Hinojosa might have been a little down after watching his two teammates get eliminated and he paid the price.
Sam Simpson of Conestoga was relentless with his pressure and midway into the second period Hinojosa got caught in a leg splitting hold that had him doing the splits as he got rolled onto his back and eliminated from the tournament.
Fisher and Hinojosa should have gained valuable experience they can bring back and share with the team to help with next year’s journey back.
Lueth finished his high school wrestling career a little short of his hopes, but there is no shame in going down giving it your best shot.
As a team Chase County finished the tournament with seven points and a tie for 43rd place.
145: Bryson Fisher pinned by Cory Rowse (O’Neill) 4:12, decisioned Jacob Tracy (Gibbon) 5-3, decisioned by Dustin Monroe (Malcolm) 2-8.
160: Jake Lueth decisioned by David Gross (St. Paul) 2-5, pinned Brennen Lech (Ord) 2:23, pinned by Ryan Malasek (Central City) 0:44.
195: Aaron Hinojosa pinned by Kalen Garrett (Doniphan-Trumble) 5:13, pinned Brandon Rezac (East Butler) 3:20, pinned by Sam Simpson (Conestoga) 1:37.