Cozad, Gothenburg and Lexington Dig For Gold At John Higgins Invitational
The John Higgins Wrestling Invitational hosted 16 teams competing for top honors and bragging rights on Saturday in Lexington.
Lincoln Southwest (157) won the team crown with host Lexington finishing as the runner-up (149.5), the Swedes of Gothenburg were sixth and the Cozad grapplers were 14th overall in the team standings.
Swede Bryce Larson stepped into the spotlight as a weight division champion to lead the the Cardinal-clad grapplers.
Gothenburg’s Bryce Larson won the gold medal at 126 lbs. by earning an 8-4 decision for the win over Kaden Wren of Scott City in the finals. To reach the championship match, Larson pinned Chayton Koch of Lincoln Southwest and recorded a technical fall win, 19-4 over Ben Garland of Beatrice at the 3:50 mark of their match.
GOLD MEDAL CHAMPIONS
Bryce Brown (Hastings)106 lbs
Jayson Scott (North Platte)113 lbs
Trey Arellano (Sidney)120 lbs
Bryce Larson (Gothenburg)126 lbs
Connor Laux (Hastings)132 lbs
Jake Cluxton (Bennington)138 lbs
Josh Pokorny (Bennington)145 lbs
Derek Robb (Sidney)152 lbs
Wyatt Hayes (Scott City)160 lbs
Prestin Melroy (Holdrege)170 lbs
Justin Shaw (Lincoln Southwest)182 lbs
Jarrett Myers (Lincoln Southwest)195 lbs
Connor Clanton (Lincoln Southwest)220 lbs
Hunter Brenn (Holdrege)285 lbs
Scoring big points for the host Minutemen were a quartet of silver medalists that included Andy Rojas, Austin Probasco, Pierro Garcia and Jade Wurth.
In the medal round, Andy Rojas was dfeeated by major decision (11-2) by Hastings grappler Bryce Brown. Rojas was able to showcase his offensive mat skills in winning a technical fall (18-0) over Carson Richards of McCook and pinning Corben Linch of Gothenburg to reach the final round at 106 lbs.
In a mat chess match, Austin Probasco was edged by Jake Cluxton of Bennington in the championships at 138 lbs. by the score of 3-1. Probasco worked his way to the final round by defeating Brody Raines of Sidney (8-6) and pinning Kanyon Eckard of Cozad.
Having a ton of success on Saturdaty was Pierro Garcia at 160 lbs. as he finished second as a result of getting pinned by Wyatt Hayes of Scott City. To advance to the final round, Garcia defeated Jacob Pinkerton of Beatrice (10-3) and had an opening round pin of Dunncan Rogers of McCook.
In a slugfest at 285 lbs., Jade Wurth was the runner-up to Hunter Brenn of Holdrege via pinfall. Wurth was able to showcase great mat presence to win a 1-0 decision over Jason Brunk of Bennington after he pinned Josh Callejas of Hastings in the opening round.
Lexington got big points from the likes of Brady Fago (113), Trystan Berry (132) and Tomas Margritz (152) all finishing fourth overall.
Riley Kopf (145) was fifth and Josh Duncan was sixth at 170 lbs.
Coach Derek Hammerlun’s Haymakers also profited with a pair of grapplers making the medal stand despite the outbreak of sickness at Cozad High School.
Haymaker Zeke Derr was a pinning artist in the early rounds to then meet up with highly ranked Justin Shaw of Lincoln Southwest. Shaw was able to score the major decision (9-1) win over Derr, who took home the silver medalist honors. Derr pinned Zane Platte of Gothenburg and Beatrice’s Jason Stevens to reach the medal round.
Flyweight Jace Russman used his strength to his advantage to earn fourth place honors at 120 lbs. Russman was forced to settle with fourth place as a result of the five-match limit being reached. After a first round win via major decision, Russman was defeated by Jacob Kubicka of Adams Central. Russman then won three straight matches to reach the consolation final round.
Cozad’s Breckin Loftin (106), Cade Stott (195) and Robbie Fischer (220) were one win away from medaling.
Along with Larson, there were eight Swedes that earned hardware at Lexington.
Noah Gugleman scored big for Gothenburg with a bronze medal finish at 195 lbs. Gugleman was able to pin Kyle Sherwood of Scott City at the 2:45 mark of their consolation finals match. Noah reached the medal round as a result of a pin and a major decision.
Wyatt Hotz (120) and Trevor Holley (113) finished fifth overall in their respective weight divisions.
Taking home sixth place medals for Gothenburg were: Noah Larson (132), Kaihden Brown (145), Wyatt Anderson (152) and Zane Platter (182).
Lincoln Southwest 157; Lexington 149.5; Holdrege 143.5; Bennington 139; Scott City 119; Gothenburg 113.5; McCook 113; Hastings 109; Adams Central 95; Sidney 85.5; Beatrice 79.5; Bellvue West 67.5; North Platte 66; Cozad 48; Hershey 36. Holyoke 0.
--106 lbs: Bryce Brown (HAS) maj. dec. Andy Rojas (LX), 11-2.
--113 lbs: Jayson Scott (NP) pinned Blayne Kile (HAS), 5:02.
--120 lbs: Trey Arellano (SID) pinned Broc Hall (BEN), 3:57.
--126 lbs: Bryce Larson (GOT) dec. Kaden Wren (SC), 13-1.
--132 lbs: Connor Laux (HAS) dec. Devin Delancey (BEN), 3-0.
--138 lbs: Jake Cluxton (BEN) dec. Austin Probasco (LX), 3-1.
--145 lbs: Jos Pokorney (BEN) pinned Zach Hurlbert (HOL), 4:00.
--152 lbs: Derek Robb (SID) maj. dec. Jarret Jurgens (SC), 8-0.
--160 lbs: Wyatt Hayes (SC) pinned Pierro Garcia (LX), 1:46.
--170 lbs: Preston Melroy dec. Braiden Ruffin (NP), 4-3.
--182 lbs: Justin Shaw (LSW) maj. dec. Zeke Derr (CZ), 9-1.
--195 lbs: Jarrett Myers (LSW) pinned Jaret Matson (MC), 6:00.
--220 lbs: Connor Clanton (LSW) pinned Kaleb Taylor (MC), 3:17.
--285 lbs: Hunter Brenn (HOL) pinned Jade Wurth (LX), 3:59.
CONSOLATION FINAL RESULTS
--106 lbs: Carson Richards (MC) dec. Tanner York (BEA), rule.
--113 lbs: Threon Tucker (SC) dec. Brady Fago (LX), 14-8.
--120 lbs: Jacob Kubicka (AC) dec. Jace Russman (CZ), rule.
--126 lbs: Nolan Barry (AC) dec. Joel Smith (HAS), 8-2.
--132 lbs: Oscar Baird (BW) tech fall Trystan Berry (LX), 18-2.
--138 lbs: Tyler Johnston (HOL) pinned Alec Manzano (NP), 4:25.
--145 lbs: Noalan Koehler (BW) pinned Jacob Mackley (HER), 4:59.
--152 lbs: Logan MacDonald (BEN) dec. Tomas Margritz (LX), 9-8.
--160 lbs: Jacob Pinkerton (BEA) dec. Tyler Carstens (LSW), 5-2.
--170 lbs: Damen Pape (HAS) dec. Corey Brown (AC), 6-0.
--182 lbs: Chaten Edgren (HOL) pinned Logan Vrbas (MC), 2:12.
--195 lbs: Noah Gugelman (GOT) pinned Kyle Sherwood (SC), 2:45.
--220 lbs: Bronson Titus (HOL) dec. Bryan McGahan (HER), 10-3.
--285 lbs: Zach Wioskowski (AC) pinned Colin Giron (MC) 1:43.