Wrestlers primed for B-4 district
Swedes finish second at SWC.
VALENTINE—All that lies ahead for the Gothenburg wrestling team is everything the Swedes have been working toward all season.
It’s district week for the Swedes. Medal now or turn in your singlet.
“The district is wide open in a lot of areas,” said Gothenburg coach Eric Manstedt. “It comes down to who put in the time, who has the mental edge and who believes in themselves.”
The B-4 district meet begins at 3 p.m. Friday in Cozad and will conclude Saturday afternoon when champions are crowned and the four medalists in each weight class earn their ticket to the state meet in Omaha.
“It no longer matters who is supposed to win,” Manstedt said. “If you think you are or you think you’re not, you’re right.”
The Swedes are physically prepared for their district opponents. What remains is tidying up a little in the mental arena.
“They have to go in believing they will qualify for state,” Manstedt said. “That’s what we’ve talked about all year. But it’s no longer enough to just qualify. We want to go to the state meet and earn some hardware.”
Four Swedes are returning state qualifiers from last season.
Mitch Spiegel (103), Tanner Schwanz (119), Chris Hyde (135) and Tommy France (215) have all competed at the Qwest Center.
Schwanz has already been there twice.
“A couple of those kids are sitting extremely well in the district,” Manstedt said. “The others are going to have to wrestle well.”
That’s the objective, after all, he said.
“I want every kid to wrestle to his potential, expecting to qualify for state.” Manstedt said. “It’s all about the kids finding out what they’re made of, if they’re going to go down swinging or just go down.”
As a team, the Swedes qualified nine wrestlers for state last year and finished third as a team. Manstedt said the team’s goal is to finish higher this week and qualify at least five if not more for state.
The venue—wrestling at Cozad—couldn’t be better for Gothenburg. Manstedt said it’s like wrestling in your own back yard without the pressure of hosting the meet.
“We’re looking forward to it,” he said, “and we’re ready.”
Last weekend’s Southwest Conference meet at Valentine helped the boys cultivate a bit more confidence.
Of the 11 Swedes who competed, 10 returned home with medals and the team finished second behind Valentine.
“Valentine had a good semi-final round,” Manstedt said. “They pushed eight into the finals. That racks up a lot of points.”
The Swedes had three wrestlers in the finals with seven in the wrestle-backs. All seven got through to medal.
Gothenburg earned the runner-up trophy finishing a point and a half ahead of Ainsworth.
“Every team there was missing a wrestler or two for one reason or another,” Manstedt said.
That caused some of the weight classes to have thin brackets and some wrestlers to get only a couple of matches.
In fact Schwanz didn’t even have to wrestle a single minute to win the 119-pound bracket.
There were only three in the class. Schwanz earned a first-round bye and Valentine’s Derek Hockenbary forfeited to Schwanz by injury default after pinning Nathan Garcia of Ogallala.
“That’s the first kid I’ve ever seen not wrestle a match and get first,” Manstedt said.
Bryce Eggleston had to work a little harder to earn his gold medal.
Eggleston entered the 130-pound bracket as the second seed.
He pinned Wilson Baker in the first round, a Broken Bow wrestler who defeated Eggleston at the Gothenburg Invite two weeks earlier.
In the finals, Eggleston soundly beat the No. 1 seeded wreslter, Eric Arnold of Valentine.
“He did’t just beat the kid, he attacked him,” Manstedt said.
Eggleston won by a 17-2 technical fall.
The extra point and a half Eggleston received for his technical fall equaled the difference between second and third place for the Swedes as a team, Manstedt said.
Mitch Spiegel received a silver medal. He won a 2-0 decision over Keaton Gracey of Ainsworth before falling in a 10-2 major decision to Bart Miller of Valentine.
Swedes finishing third were Justin Larson, Chris Hyde and Dane Ehlers.
“Those three had some tough draws in the initial bracket,” Manstedt said. “They all went up against the No. 1 seed right off the bat.”
Fourth-place medalists were Dillon Larson, Jesse Larson, Cameron Frazho and Tommy France.
“We had some solid performances,” Manstedt said. “Now we’ve got a week to clean up some little things. If we wrestle well as individuals at districts, the team finish will fall easily into place.”
The coach said the team’s word of the week is “victory.”
“This is where we tie together everything we’ve talked about all season,” he said. “It’s all about what they’ve been through and where they’re going.”
SWC TEAM RESULTS: 1. Valentine 166.5; 2. Gothenburg 110.5; 3. Ainsworth 109; 4. Minden 95.5; 5. Cozad 92.5; 6. Ogallala 69; 7. Broken Bow 55.
INDIVIDUAL SWEDE RESULTS
103—Mitch Spiegel won 2-0 decision over Keaton Bradey of Ainsworth; lost 10-2 major decision to Bart Miller of Valentine; second place.
112—Dillon Larson was pinned by Logan Hunke of Cozad in 48 seconds; lost 12-10 decision to James Garcia of Ogallala; fourth place.
119—Tanner Schwanz won injury default over Derek Hockenbary of Valentine; first place.
125—Justin Larson pinned Austin Roach of Broken Bow in 5:56; lost 14-11 decision to Caleb Lucero of Cozad; pinned Luke Tinnon of Ogallala in 3:34; won 8-2 decision over Dalten Pflaster of Ainsworth; third place.
130—Bryce Eggleston pinned Wilson Baker of Broken Bow in 5:05; won 17-2 technical fall over Eric Arnold of Valentine; first place.
135—Chris Hyde pinned Jed Birnie of Minden in 1:46; was pinned by Marcus Nelson of Valentine in 4:31; pinned Tanner Clark of Ainsworth in 1:55; pinned Jed Birnie of Minden in 4:21; third place.
140—Eric Stevens was pinned by Garth Swett of Ainsworth in 1:29; was pinned by Jay Brass of Broken Bow in 2:06.
152—Jesse Larson lost 15-2 major decision to Colten Lamb of Valentine; won 6-2 decision over Dane Anderson of Ogallala; was pinned by Ty Shelbourn of Ainsworth in 1:54; fourth place.
171—Cameron Frazho was pinned by Broie King of Minden in 3:53; lost 7-3 decision to Devin O’Brien of Broken Bow; fourth place.
215—Tommy France pinned Daniel Chacon of Cozad in 1:19; was pinned by Brandon Lewis of Minden in 4:39; won 4-0 decision over Brandon Clark of Ainsworth; lost 10-4 decision to Kethan Mercure of Valentine; fourth place.
285—Dane Ehlers was pinned by Nathaniel Allen of Ainsworth in 30 seconds; won 3-1 decision over Jonathan Smith of Valentine; won 7-6 decision over Brian Springer of Ogallala; third place.