Millard South State Champions
Millard South State Champions
A106 – Blake Jackson (52-2) placed 1st and scored 23.00 team points. (4-0)
A113 – Alex Vacha (30-20) place is unknown and scored 3.00 team points. (1-2)
A120 – Austin Coufal (43-12) place is unknown and scored 1.00 team points. (1-2)
A126 – Creighton Baughman (47-3) placed 5th and scored 13.00 team points. (3-2)
A132 – Nathan Rodriguez (52-4) placed 3rd and scored 19.00 team points. (4-1)
A138 – Zac Charity (50-3) placed 2nd and scored 21.50 team points. (3-1)
A145 – Austin McDonald (36-6) placed 3rd and scored 17.00 team points. (4-1)
A152 – Connor Olin (50-4) placed 3rd and scored 20.00 team points. (4-1)
A160 – Isaac Trumble (44-13) placed 5th and scored 10.00 team points. (3-2)
A170 – Braden Trimble (51-6) placed 2nd and scored 20.00 team points. (3-1)
A182 – Doug Weidner (30-5) placed 4th and scored 16.00 team points (3-2).
A195 – Rajan Ellebb (44-14) placed 5th and scored 9.00 team points. (4-2)
A220 – Brooke Crinklaw (37-20) place is unknown and scored 3.00 team points. (1-2)
A285 – Jake Mayville (19-22) place is unknown and scored 0.00 team points. (0-2)
The Millard South Patriots would come into the 2017 NSAA State Championships fresh off of a dominant performance at districts. The Patriots would be the only team to enter this year’s championships with a perfect 14 qualifiers. The 2X defending champs would come into the state tournament with several teams looking to knock Millard South off; the team most equipped to do so, the Kearney Bearcats, would have the team who could do just that.
Coach Doug Denson would comment:
“When you are the 2 time defending champ, everyone wants to knock you off. You basically get every team’s best shot. Kearney didn’t come to the state tournament looking to get 2nd place, that’s for sure!”
The 1st round would be a solid round in getting the team off and running. Overall the team would register 10 wins against 4 losses. In most years, this would be enough to get the early lead, but not this year. Kearney would come out red hot winning a perfect 13 out of 13 effort to take the lead.
Coach Jay Meneely would add:
“As good as it felt to get off to a solid start, the performance Kearney put in during that first round was truly unsettling. Not only did these guys get wins, but the got a ton of bonus points as well. Obviously, round one put us in second place looking up at Kearney.”
The Quarterfinal round would see the Patriots really turn up the heat. When the smoke cleared, the Patriots would put up the best quarterfinal round in the history of Millard South. 9 out of 10 wrestlers would win matches giving the Patriots 9 guaranteed medals in the process. Kearney, on the other hand, would struggle a little with only 5 wrestlers winning quarterfinal matches. At the end of the round, Millard South would take the lead.
Coach Nate Olson would comment:
“As much as we were really shocked by the red hot 1st round from the Bearcats, our second round made all of us feel a little better. Never in the history of our school, and we have had some great teams, has any team ever pushed through 9 on the first day. That could be a record of some sort.”
As much as the Patriots looked in control, Kearney would still be close trailing by a scant 13 points after day one. In the morning wrestle backs, Kearney would have 8 wrestlers, while Millard South would have only 4. Round one, Friday morning, would bring to life some first round losers for Millard South. Alex Vacha would gain bonus points with a pin as would Brooke Crinklaw. Austin Coufal would also rebound with a first round win.
Coach Andy Sistek would comment:
“Out of 14 wrestlers, we only had one guy not bring home a win, and even the one who didn’t win really put forth his best effort. Any time you get 13 guys chipping in points, you know you have a true team concept.”
All total, the first round would garner the Patriots an additional 7 points to widen the lead on Kearney. Kearney, by virtue of winning all 13 first round matches would not have any matches in the 1st round of wrestlebacks. In the second round of wrestlebacks, Kearney would begin turning on the heat. Millard South would only advance 1 wrestler to Friday Night, while Kearney would advance 6.
Coach Nate Olson would comment:
“After the second round Friday morning, Kearney looked to be sitting in pretty darned good shape to chase us down. They had eleven alive Friday night and we had 10, so it doesn’t take a math wizard to see that the numbers were in their favor.”
Friday night’s action would not represent the best of the Patriots with Millard South winning only 4 out of 10 matches on the night. Blake Jackson, Zac Charity and Braden Trimble would all punch their ticket into the finals, while Rajan Ellebb would turn in a gritty performance in earning his first ever state medal. By the end of the night, Kearney would close to within a point of the 2X defending State Champions.
Coach Denson would add:
“We were really flat for the most part on Friday night. It might have been the long layoff for our guys, I don’t know. We also had two matches turn to losses due to questionable calls which can dampen things in a hurry. We knew after Friday night that we were in a dog fight.”
As much as Millard South felt the stinging effects of losses on Friday, Kearney did as well. Kearney punched 4 into the finals but lost every other match going 4 out of eleven. By the end of Friday night, Millard South had 10 guaranteed medals to Kearney’s 5.
Coach Meneely would comment:
“We really felt awful about our round but then Kearney must have felt worse. They were poised to deliver a knockout blow, and just had things unravel at the wrong time. Going into Saturday morning ahead by only 1 didn’t make me feel too hot, but knowing we had 7 guys battling back to 1 for Kearney made me glad we had the strength in numbers.”
Saturday morning saw Millard South really battle back to win the championship. Every wrestler won at least one match Saturday morning, and the Patriots would seal the deal in the medal rounds. 6 out of the 7 wrestlers battling in the medal rounds would win their matches to give Millard South a 3rd straight title.
Coach Olson would comment:
“These guys made me really proud on Saturday. Rodriguez, McDonald, and Olin would all win 3rd place matches, while Baughman, Trumble, and Ellebb would all win their 5th place matches. With Doug Weidner pitching in a 4th place, we had a great morning. Nobody wanted to settle for a 6th place medal.”
Coming into the finals, Millard South would have a safe cushion of over 30 points taking any mystery out of the final outcome. The only thing Millard South would need would be at least one State Champion to put the cherry on the cake. Blake Jackson would do just that at 106 winning easily to be Millard South’s only state champion.
Coach Meneely would add:
“You always want more, and we certainly wanted all three guys to win a state title, but it didn’t happen and that’s the way it goes sometimes. Our guys wrestled hard; we are super proud of Blake Jackson for his win!”
The final score would be Millard South 175.5 to 152.5 for Kearney. The Patriots would cruise to a 23 point victory in the process. Counting the last three years, 175.5 would best the 2015 team score of 172.5 and last year’s team score of 169. 10 state placers would also best the 9 from 2015 and 8 from 2016. The win would make the Patriots 3peat state winners.
Coach Denson would comment:
“I won’t say we performed at our best, but we did put in a gritty performance. None of our guys every quit; they battled to the very end. What they did in the medal rounds is pretty darned amazing. We got knocked around a little, but came back to crush it! What more can any coach ask for. I feel blessed to be going out on top with this group. They have been tremendous warriors for the Patriots.”