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The Elkhorn Valley wrestling squad had a day to remember Saturday at the District D1 meet in Neligh.
The Falcons placed second as a team, just 2.5 points behind district champion Burwell, and qualified seven Falcons to next week’s state meet.
Sophomore Hunter Bennett will be making his second-straight trip to Omaha after capturing the 106-pound crown.
“It’s very important to me,” Bennett stated on entering the state tournament as a one seed. “It sets me up to place at state and that’s what I’m looking for.”
Bennett will be joined by fellow classmate Adam Miller, who bounced back after his semifinals defeat to take third at 120. Miller will also be heading to state for the second time in his career.
“I’ve had some tough matches that I think have helped me,” said Miller. “I might think that right away, but they will. I’m hoping to go down and get a medal this time.”
After missing out on last year’s state tournament, senior Prestin Vondra made sure he did not make the same mistake this season. Vondra finished second at 145 pounds to qualify for the state meet for the second time in three years.
“It’s your senior season and you need to push yourself and accomplish what you know you can accomplish,” Vondra spoke. “Last year was a little hiccup, but I hope to go down there and kick some butt.”
Both Josh McFarland and Mitchell Petersen qualified at 160 pounds for EV. McFarland, last year’s 145-pound state champion, has been on a roll since dropping his only match of the year to Stapleton senior Seth Simants earlier this season.
“Peaking at this time of year, especially at districts with state being the week afterwards, is important,” McFarland commented. “You want to wrestle as good as you can at districts and wrestle as hard as you can at state.”
Petersen will be making his first appearance in Omaha to cap off a memorable season.
“There are no words to put it,” Petersen stated. “The hard work is paying off. I’ve been dreaming about this since I was little. This is special.”
Despite wrestling for his first time in two weeks, senior Brock Schaecher earned his third state qualification after claiming runner-up honors at 182.
“I’m hoping to go down there and wrestle harder,” Schaecher said. “I’ve been out for two weeks. I came back and didn’t wrestle my best. I have grind this next week until I get down there. I want to bring home some hardware.”
Christian Yaw booked his ticket to Omaha for the first time in his career, after placing third at 285.
“I’ve been looking forward to this since freshman year,” Yaw remarked. “You see all your seniors and your teammates go to state. It’s been a big goal and I always watched my other classmates make it. I’m finally happy this is my year to join them down there. Now they’re forced to take me down with them, whether they like it or not. I got a great coaching staff that I love. They’re more than just coaches, they’re family. I’m ready to go down there and kick some butt.”
Caden Reikofski (220), Gavyn Clause (195) and Reed Bennett (126) also competed for the Falcons on Saturday, but lost in the consolation bracket.
The state tournament begins Thursday with Class D starting at 9:30 a.m.at the CHI Health Center Arena in Omaha.