By Shari Friedel
Four qualifying Plainsmen wrestlers, Austin Thelander, Trey Johnson, Mark Hanson and Vinny Ross participated in the state tournament Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 14-16 with two, Thelander and Ross, bringing home medals.
“I was pleased with our performance at the state meet,” said Coach Dean Friedel. “Our first timers, Mark Hanson at 138 lb. and Trey Johnson at 126 lb. each came away with a win and wrestled well.”
Austin Thelander (first place) had a succession of decisive wins in the first three rounds, pinning his first opponent and winning by major decision in the second and third rounds. The championship match against Trey Nekoliczak of Cedar Valley proved the most challenging as the end of the second period saw the contenders tied at 0-0. Choosing the down position at the start of the third period, Thelander managed a reversal, which won him the match and the championship title, 2-0.
“Austin had an outstanding season, only losing once early in the season to a wrestler who was a state placer in Class B this year,” said Friedel.
Thelander is the first Perkins County wrestler to bring a gold home from the state tournament. Previously, he placed sixth in 2012.
Vinny Ross captured second place in the heavyweight division, falling to Howells-Dodge’s Nathan Bazata in the championship round, after pinning all three of his previous opponents in under a minute each. The championship match was his second loss of the season, as well as the only other match to last the full six minutes. All other matches this season resulted in pins for Ross.
This was Ross’s third trip to state, and as Perkins County’s first three-time state placer, his third time medaling in the top six. Previously he finished fifth in 2011 and fourth in 2012.
Both Thelander and Ross reached 100 career wins in 2013, Ross just before districts, and Thelander at the state tournament.
“This group of seniors will be difficult to replace,” commented Friedel.
Class D Team Scores
1. Amherst 185.5
2. Pender 172
3. Plainview 90
4. East Butler 67
5. Friend 62
6. Freeman 61.5
7. Perkins County 57
8. Palmer 54.5
9. Maxwell 43
10. Arapahoe 42
10. Franklin 42
Austin Thelander (106 lb.) First place, scored 26 team points. Pinned R. Ramirez, Elwood 1:11; won by major decision vs. T. Sauser, Plainview 10-0; won by major decision vs. D. Trampe, Amherst 9-1; won by decision vs. T. Nekoliczak, Cedar Valley 2-0. Season record 39-1.
Trey Johnson (126 lb.) Scored three team points. Lost by decision vs. T. Boyer, Plainview 1-4; pinned B. Treffer, Ravenna 1:35; lost by decision vs. A. Carlson, Sutton 6-7. Season record 26-16.
Mark Hanson (138 lb.) Scored four team points. Pinned D. Smaus, East Butler 3:44; lost by decision vs. S. Gubbels, Osmond 7-10; lost by decision vs. G. Allemang, Neligh-Oakdale 2-3. Season record 25-19.
Vinny Ross (285 lb.) Placed second, scored 24 team points. Pinned M. Williams, Weeping Water :55; pinned Z. Zeleski, Overton, :55; pinned C. Woockman, Lutheran High Northeast :41; lost by decision vs. N. Bazata, Howells-Dodge 4-9. Season record 42-2.