Tiger duo Omaha-bound


Team                               Points
1. Gretna                         183.5
1. Nebraska City               183.5
3. Beatrice                       156.0
3. Plattsmouth                  156.0
5. Syracuse                      148.0
6. Ashland-Greenwood      125.5
7. Norris                            70.5
8. Auburn                          42.5
9. Falls City                      38.0
10. Waverly                       37.5
11. Gross Catholic              36.0
12. Platteview                    24.0

Two Falls City High wrestlers advanced Saturday to this weekend’s NSAA State Wrestling Championships in Omaha with runner-up finishes in the Class B-1 District tournament at Syracuse.

Morgen Valentine, a 138-pound sophomore, and junior heavyweight Jeremy Zimmerman each reached the championship match Saturday, but suffered defeats and finished second.

Valentine, a state qualifier in 2013, was seeded third and after a first-round bye, he earned a major decision victory (9-0) over Dawson Siemonsma of Plattsmouth, followed by a 6-0 decision over Auburn’s Dakota Graves to reach the final where he ran up against fourth-ranked Darin Sornson of Nebraska City. Valentine was injured in the match late in the second period and could not finish.

Zimmerman qualified for his first state tournament with a 2-1 performance at districts, which included a tight sudden victory (4-2) over Class B No. 5 and second-seeded Blake Chick of Gretna in the semifinals. Zimmerman pinned Nebraska City’s Jacob Kreifel (2:50) in his first match, but was pinned in 33 seconds in the district final by defending heavyweight champion Matt Clark of Syracuse. Clark heads into the state championships as one of only 28 undefeated wrestlers in the state, nine of which compete in Class B.

FC senior Chase Thompson, a 2013 state qualifier, came up short Saturday and finished his final season with a 30-11 record. Thompson dropped a 5-3 decision to Ben Rice of Norris, but bounced back with a 34-second pin of Beatrice’s Gregory Campion before falling to Plattsmouth’s Octavio Gayton in a 3-1 sudden victory.

FC’s five other competitors – senior Alex Olsen (195), junior Justin Ernst (145) and freshmen Deven Nycum (126), Carter Hunzeker (160) and Dalton Kennell (220) – all finished 0-2 at districts. Olsen finished the season with a 9-16 record, while Ernst finished 12-18, Nycum was 10-22, Hunzeker was 5-16 and Kennell finished 9-13.

FC totaled 38 points and finished ninth in the 12-team standings. Gretna, ranked fourth in Monday’s team rankings, tied fifth-ranked Nebraska City for the team district championships with each scoring 183 1/2 points. Beatrice and Plattsmouth, ranked No. 8 and No. 9, respectively, shared third place with 156 points each.

Valentine (23-9) opens against York sophomore, Jackson Coffin (29-19), while Zimmerman’s (33-7) first match under the bright lights is against Connor Lusche, a senior from Columbus Scotus with a 26-12 record. FC’ duo compete Thursday morning at 9:30 in Session 1, which features all first and quarterfinal round matches in Classes B and C. Session 3 Friday at 9:30 a.m. includes the first and second-round consolations in B and C, while Friday concludes with Session 5 – all-class semifinals and consolation quarterfinals – at 5 p.m. Session 6 (consolation semis, 3rd/4th, 5th/6th) is Saturday morning at 9:30 and the championship finals are set for 3 p.m.

Omaha’s CenturyLink Center is again the site of the state wrestling tournament and tickets must be purchased for the each session. CenturyLink will sell an exclusive floor-level ticket that will allow seating on the north and south ends near the floor. There will be 300 seats suitable for viewing classes A and D (north end) and an additional 300 seats suitable for viewing classes B and C (south end) near the mats during the state finals portion of Saturday’s competition.

These tickets will become available at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the CenturyLink ticket window. They will not be sold prior to that time and they will not be available through Ticketmaster or the NSAA. There is a strict limit of 5 tickets per purchase per person. These exclusive tickets will sell for $9.00 each – student or adult.

NET Television will provide a live broadcast of the championship finals Saturday at 3 p.m on NET1. Live webcasts will also be available on NET’s website – netNebraska.org – and TrackWrestling.com – www.trackwrestling.com.

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