District wrestling meets annually feature highs and lows, triumphs and heartbreak.
The C-3 District tournament at Grand Island Central Catholic Feb. 13-14 was no exception for the Boone Central Cardinals.
While the Cards celebrated three wrestlers earning trips to the 2008-09 NSAA Wrestling Championships in Omaha, Boone Central also had four competitors fall one agonizing step short of state berths while placing 11th in the 14-team field.
“By just the smallest of margins we ended up with three qualifiers instead of seven and in 11th place instead of 5th,” acknowledged Cardinal Head Coach Dale Bonge. “Everyone put their heart and soul into their efforts and can be proud of giving all they had.
“We are really disappointed for the guys that were so close and worked so hard. At the same time, we are very happy for the three wrestlers who will compete at state.”
Senior Keir Dane Harner led Boone Central’s state qualifiers with a 3rd place finish at 189 pounds. Junior Jerad McLean (160) and senior Kaleb Carey (135) both placed fourth to earn trips to Omaha.
Saturday, Boone Central had seven wrestlers needing just one victory to earn coveted trips to Omaha’s Qwest Center.
“The ‘heartbreak round’ really lived up to it’s name for us,” Bonge rued. “Especially in three of our matches, we were so close.
“Kevin gave a valiant effort, but came up just one point short of a second straight trip to state.
“Tyler appeared to have the edge in overtime in his match, but a third false start tied the match again and sent it to the final overtime. There, he was called for locked hands as time expired to lose 3-2.
“Dustin was controlling his match handily, 7-1, when he got caught in a headlock and pinned.
“Those three losses were devastating. No one has gone the extra mile the past year like Kevin and Tyler,” Bonge said. “Dustin has put more mat time in than anyone over his career.
“All three deserved better, but one of life’s hard lessons hit again – life isn’t always fair.”
Boone Central gained its three state berths with thrilling matches.
“We did do some heartbreaking of our own,” Bonge noted. “Kaleb came from behind to post an 8-7 win over the #2 seed and Keir Dane squeeked out a 5-4 win. Jared continued to display his improvement with a pin.”
Complete Results & Details in Print Edition of Albion News.