Boone Central/Newman Grove took four qualifiers to the 2018 Nebraska State Wrestling Championships at Omaha’s CenturyLink Center Feb. 15-17. Three of those competitors saw mat action and two toted home medals – the first time since 2007 that the Cardinal program has had multiple state medalists.
While 106-pound qualifier Will Grape missed the tournament due to a concussion suffered in district competition, it was a productive and successful event for his three teammates.
Seniors Garrett Cornwell and Trey Schafer, repeat qualifiers, and junior Jon Merten all won matches in Omaha; Merten and Cornwell reached the 40-win mark (Schafer missing by one victory), and each earning a medal (Merten 5th, Cornwell 6th).
Dale Bonge, in his final state tournament as head coach of the Cardinal mat program, was pleased by the efforts by his wrestlers.
“Unfortunately, Will, though qualifying last week, was unable to wrestle due to getting a concussion during the district tournament,” Bonge acknowledged. “He at least got to travel with the team and get the experience of being on the mats during warm-ups.
“The other three guys really had great efforts, and all were really close to at least one more win.”
The Cardinals had several highlights on the first day of competition. Cornwell defeated Cauy Shaw of O’Neill, who he had split with earlier in the season, to advance to the state semifinals and a guaranteed medal. Merten began with a 13-1 major decision before losing to Northwest’s Kiser.
Schafer picked up his initial state victory Friday before being eliminated by a tough 5-3 loss to Westerby of Northwest. Cornwell dropped a competitive 3-0 decision in the semis, but Merten began his trek back to medal contention with an 18-2 tech fall. Cornwell had trouble getting untracked on the final day, losing twice and placing 6th at 170 pounds. Merten bounced back from a loss to Schuyler’s Maganda to defeat Pike of Ashland-Greenwood 5-1 for 5th place in the 220-pound weight class.
Complete results in Print & Online editions of Albion News