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The Neligh-Oakdale wrestling squad had a stellar performance at Saturday’s District D1 tournament in Neligh.
The Warriors placed third as a team with 118 points, behind Elkhorn Valley and district champions Burwell.
N-O also qualified seven wrestlers for the state meet next week.
At 113 pounds, Cameron Wilkinson and Brock Kester placed first and second, respectively.
Wilkinson will be making his fourth appearance at the state meet.
“That was the goal,” the senior Warrior stated. “I had a lot of nerves riding on this match after not having a great week last week. To come back, win districts and go for my fourth time is pretty cool.”
Kester heads back to Omaha for the second time in his career.
“I went on and wrestled, and that’s all it is to it,” Kester said. “I put in the work this year because not making as far as I could have last year, made me work this year to get as far as I can.”
After scoring four pins on his way to the 132-pound championship contest, Andrew Herley fell to Pleasanton senior Tyler Pawloski, 6-3, in a hard-fought match.
“It gives me a lot of confidence,” Herley commented. “He’s a three-time state champ and anytime you can go all three round with him, you got a real good chance of getting first or second at state. It’s giving me a lot of confidence. I just have to keep it up and keep going.”
For the first time in his career, senior Jayden Arehart will compete at the state meet, after placing third at 170 pounds.
“It feels really, really good,” Arehart stated. “I felt really nervous in my heartbreak match, but I just had to get through and get to that medal match.”
Junior Kaleb Pofahl punched his ticket for the second consecutive season to Omaha with a second-place finish at 170.
“I hope last year kinda settles the nerves down since I have a taste of what it is like,” Pofahl said. “This year I’ll be a little bit more calm wrestling down there.”
Sophomores Dawson Kaup and Colton Klabenes earned their first trip to state with fourth and third-place finishes, respectively.
“I’m pretty excited I get to go down there,” Kaup remarked. “Last year, I really wanted to go down there, but didn’t quite make it. I’m just excited I get to go this year.”
“I’ve worked hard in the (practice room) and this has been what I’ve been working for all season,” Klabenes said. ”I’m just happy to make it.”
Cade Wilkinson (145), Caleb Payne (138), Cody Booth (106) and Conor Dempsey (160) each bowed out of the tournament in the heartbreak round.
The state tournament begins Thursday with Class D starting at 9:30 a.m.at the CHI Health Center Arena in Omaha.