NSAA State Wrestling: Who to watch for from Ol’ Red/KWBE Country

44 wrestlers from 15 area high schools will be competing Thursday through Saturday at the NSAA State Wrestling Championships at the CHI Health Center in Omaha.

The first session begins at 9:30 a.m. Thursday with first-round matches for Classes A and D. Quarterfinals will follow.

In Classes B and C, first-round action begins at 4 p.m. with quarterfinals to follow. Semifinals are Friday, with the championship matches beginning at 2 p.m. Saturday. A full schedule can be viewed here.

Here’s a quick glance at the top wrestlers I’m watching closely from the Ol’ Red 99.5 listening area:

In Class B at 120 pounds, Beatrice sophomore Drew Arnold. Ranked No. 2 in the state in his weight class, he faces Brock Little of North Platte to lead things off. Arnold is 33-4 on the year and placed 5th at state last year.

Staying in Class B at 170 pounds, Fairbury’s Ace York. Ranked No. 3 in the state in weight class, the senior has a tough task to lead things off, going up against Seward’s Brogan Fehlhafer, who’s ranked No. 4 in the state. York is 42-8 on the season. Fehlhaferis 28-12.

Staying in Class B and staying in Fairbury, senior Seth Firmanik has been dominant this season. Ranked No. 3 in the state at 182 pounds, and with a record of 38-6, Firmanik faces Isaac Martinez of Omaha Gross Catholic (18-17) in the first round. Firmanik medaled 5th last year – the only returning Jeff who medaled at state in 2018.

Moving onto Class C in the 285 pound class, Fillmore Central’s Riley Moses is the odds-on favorite to win this year. Ranked No. 1 in his weight class through most of the season, the Husker Football walk-on is 40-2 on the year. If Moses beats Keegan Weiss of Mitchell (23-10) in the first round, there’s a good chance he’ll face No. 2 ranked Justyn Hale of Oakland-Craig (39-8()in the quarterfinals. Moses medaled third last year.

In Class D at 113 pounds, watch for Thayer Central’s Brenner McLaughlin. Ranked No. 4 in his weight class, the freshman took 2nd at districts last weekend and boasts a 30-5 record. He’ll face Kaiden Mrsny of Pender (34-7) to lead off.

Staying in Class D and staying with Thayer Central, senior Keegan Casey is primed to take home the gold at 126 pounds after finishing runner-up at state last year. Ranking No. 4 in his weight class and boasting a 32-5 record, Casey faces Hunter Deeds of North Platte St. Patrick’s  (29-11) to lead off.

The Titans placed runner-up at districts last Saturday and qualified seven wrestlers for state – the most of any school in our listening area.

Moving on in Class D to 182 pounds, Friend’s lone qualifier is a good one. Edwen Baptista is back after placing 3rd a year ago. Ranked No. 3 in his weight class, Baptista goes up against sophomore Brandon Beeson of Tri County (33-14) to lead off. 

A full list of area qualifiers can be found at this link. Bracket information can be found here.

Ol’ Red 99.5 and KWBE will air full updates every hour from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday.

Full results from Thursday will be posted once all area athletes have competed.

You can follow Tommy on Twitter @Tommy_NCN.

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