6 wrestlers to vie for state title; 21 to bring home medals

While the Scottsbluff Bearcats will not bring home a state title, they will return to western Nebraska with five medals from the 2014 Nebraska State Wrestling Championships in Omaha, including the chance at three individual state titles.

Omaha Skutt Catholic has sealed up the team title, accumulating an impressive 145 points after day two. The Bearcats are in second with 92 points.

Individually, Keegan Hessler, Colton Adams, and Andrew Aratani will all wrestle for gold medals Saturday morning. Hessler will meet Brett Velasques of Bennington at 126 pounds, Adams will take on Vince Thatcher of Crete at 145, and will wrestle Matt Clark of Syrcasue for the 285 pound crown.

Both Hessler and Adams won their semifinal matches by decision, with Adams winning 22-10. Hessler picked up a 10-8 sudden victory win. Aratani made quick work of his opponent, winning by pin in the semifinals. His championship opponent, Clark, also picked up a pin in the semis and is 44-0 on the year.

In addition, Salem Harsh and Sabian Harsh for Scottsbluff will wrestle in the consolation semifinals for the right to wrestle for either third or fifth place later Saturday morning.

Two other area wrestlers will go for gold in Class B. Alliance's Devin Ushio will wrestler for a state title at 120 pounds against Brian Peska of Omaha Skutt, and Chadron's Cogdill will wrestle for a state crown at 195 pounds against Brady Radik of Gretna. Both those wrestlers won their semifinal by pin.

Those two will each have a teammate in the consolation bracket Saturday, as Alliance's Walker Johnson is still alive in the 138 pound weight class, and the Cardinals' Tanner Eckland will be in the consolation semifinals at 220 pounds.

Finally in class B, Ogallala's Brody Cleveland is in the consolation semifinals at 195 pounds.

There is one other area athlete that will wrestle for gold, and it's in Class D, where Hay Springs' Stevin Horrocks will tangle with Caleb Linemann of Winside at 220 pounds for the title. Teammates Levi Ray at 126 and Chris Ray at 132 will also earn hardware in the consolation bracket.

Also in Class D, Morrill's Matthew Hesler picked up up a 3-1 sudden victory win in the third round of conoslations to stay alive at 285. And, Mullen's Dalton Zimmerman and 120 and Gideon Monette at 170 both lost in the semifinals, and will wrestle in the consolation semifinals Saturday morning.

In Class C, five area wrestlers will bring home hardware, including Bayard's Tanner Willey at 195 and Tristian Hunter at 220. Hunter picked up a win in the consolation bracket, while Willey fell in his semifinal, 10-7.

Bridgeport's Brandon Nichols and Mitchell's Drew Gilliland both suffered losses in the semifinals, and will wrestle in the consolation semifinals at 145 and 113 pounds.

Finally, Gordon-Rushville's Ken Graham stayed alive in the consolations with a 4-2 3rd round win.

The consolation semifinals are at 8:30 Saturday morning, followed by the 3rd and 5th place matches. The finals will start at 2 p.m. at the Century Link Center in Omaha.

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