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Class A NSWCA COMMENTS Team Top 10 and Individual Rankings #1
December 8, 2016

1. Millard South
2. Kearney
3. Columbus
4. Omaha Burke
5. Millard West
6. Lincoln Southwest
7. Millard North
8. Lincoln East
9. Papillion LaVista
10. Bellevue East
Rater: Todd Porter
Bellevue East

I remain more convinced than before after the first weekend that Millard South is the strong favorite to win their 3rd Team title in a row, sending long time Coach Doug Denson into retirement after this t=year on a roll. Yes…Coach Denson announced in a recent World Herald article he is retiring after this season. Just what the rest of the Class A state did NOT need…more motivation for the powerful Patriots to perform to expectations…they will want to send “Coach” off into the sunset with a title. Kearney appears to be easily their strongest challenger, with a strong opening weekend performance to easily win their own Kearney Meet. There seems to be A LOT of teams in Class A missing key performers right now….including many in the Top 10 above. I have heard whispers of injuries to key, and I mean KEY players in Class A…but no substantiation by their coaches yet, so will wait to be confirmed. If true…it is hugely disappointing, and will shake the team race up in the mid Top 10 significantly. As always coaches…..send me any info you wish to be reported on.

1. Blake Jackson Millard South
2. Cody Niemiec Papillion LaVista
3. Emilio Haynes Omaha Central
4. Brayden Smith Kearney
5. Gabe Durden Papillion LaVista South
6. Eliceo Ramirez Grand Island

COMMENTS: Very hard to know much at 106 this early, with Freshman just making their reputations in early meets, so went largely with My friend Ross from Huskermat and his picks. Jackson certainly deserves the top at this time. Know Niemiec struggling with weight a bit. Will know more next time!

1. Joey Harrison Omaha Burke
2. Maxx Mayfield Lincoln East
3. Nolan Niemiec Papillion LaVista
4. Carter Kucera Columbus
5. Cole Zebley Millard West
6. Cody Fielder Fremont

COMMENTS: Joey Harrison remains the prohibitive favorite here (if in fact he IS at 113)…Joey may be the #1 overall wrestler in Nebraska this year, and should get a lot of D1 recruiting attention. Mayfield seems to be the “real deal” as a FR, easily beating #4 Kucera of Columbus at the Kearney Invite. The rest of the group are all talented, making 113 a very deep weight.

1. Jack Huffman Millard West
2. Phillip Moomey Kearney
3. Reid Dasher Papillion LaVista
4. Corbin Sindel Lincoln NE
5. Jordan Barber North Platte
6. Caleb Conner Papillion LaVista South

COMMENTS: Defending 113 Champ Huffman of M West moves to the head of the class, after dropping to 120, and should be tough here. Moomey and Dasher are both really tough, and from there, the weight seems to thin out. I am fairly confident there are a couple names not ranked here that will surface and medal at State.

1. Creighton Baughman Millard South
2. Eron Haynes Omaha Central
3. Adam Kinnaman Lincoln SE
4. Cody Carlson Fremont
5. Camden Russell Millard West
6. Josh Via Elkhorn South

COMMENTS: A deep weight, with all 6 rated kids very tough, plus a couple more not ranked yet! Millard South’s Baughman, a Papio transfer, starts off #1, with Huffman’s drop. There is plenty of competition at 126, and who emerges in late February is wide open. Haynes of Central and Kinnaman of LSE certainly are right there with the best. Should be a great weight to watch at State.

1. Nick James Kearney
2. Nate Rodriguez Millard South
3. Chance Fry Lincoln SE
4. Jakody Rezac Bellevue East
5. Oscar Baird Bellevue West
6. Kolton Silva Grand Island

COMMENTS: James of Kearney gets the opening nod for #1, but Rodriguez of Millard South and Fry of LSE are definite threats to stand atop the podium in Omaha. Fry beat #4 Rezac 8-3 recently to stay above him. Not as much depth at 132 as some other weights, but top 3 are rock solid, and Rezac may yet join them.

1. Zac Charity Millard South
2. Maison Clark Papillion LaVista South
3. Zac Kuta Grand Island
4. Derek Wagstaff Bellevue East
5. Ben Holman Millard West
6. Tyson Cepel Kearney

COMMENTS: Right now Charity of Millard South and Clark of Papio South look to be the class of the field, as Clark majored then #3 Wagstaff of Bell East in the Finals at the season opening North Invite. Charity is experienced, and rock solid, and Clark has some funk to throw at you, which makes him dangerous. Another weight that some new names are expected to surface as the season progresses.

1. James Burks Omaha Burke
2. Jake Oltman Lincoln SW
3. Braxton Betancur Lincoln SE
4. Hunter Johnson Elkhorn South
5. Josh Benak Papillion LaVista South
6. Ronniel Wells Omaha North

COMMENTS: Defending 132 Champ Burks of Burke remains the solid favorite here, although he has been wrestling at 152 so far this season. Oltman of LSW is certainly his biggest threat right now, especially with #3 Betancur of LSE out with an injury right now. Benak of Papio South was key to their strong runner up team finish at North High opening weekend. beating highly regarded Wells of North in OT in the Finals.

1. Connor Olin Millard South
2. Dax Galloway Omaha Central
3. Kylan Byars Omaha Northwest
4. Connor Burney Lincoln SW
5. Carson Swingman Columbus
6. Matt Sanjurjo Papillion LaVista South

COMMENTS: A solid weight at the top, with Olin of Millard South sitting in the one hole for now. Galloway (Central) , Byars (Northwest) and Burney (LSW) all could challenge him, and with the top 3 rated kids currently from the Metro…this should be a great weight to watch at Metros in mid February. I think some new names will surface here as the year rolls forward as well.

1. DJ Coleman Millard North
2. Josh Guerra Lincoln Pius X
3. Trey Grube Kearney
4. Conner Willey Papillion LaVista South
5. Tyler Carstens Lincoln SW
6. Mickey Wilson Omaha Westside

COMMENTS: Millard North’s rock….Coleman, is one of the most solid favorites in Class A to repeat as Champ. The question is…who will rise up to challenge him? Certainly Grube of Kearney knows how to step up at State, as he did last year. Guerra of LPX is a very solid wrestler who will be in the mix for a Finals berth also. A newcomer to Class A – Willey of Papio South, is certainly a tough kid, as his North High win proves. Carstens of LSW is tough too. A solid weight!

1. Braiden Ruffin North Platte
2. Braden Trimble Millard South
3. Matt Sorich Millard West
4. Levi Miller Bellevue West
5. Tyson Merchant South Sioux City
6. Zach Baldwin Columbus

COMMENTS: Defending 170 Champ Ruffin of North Platte returns as a JR to defend his title, and is the definite favorite. Trimble of the Patriots should present him with his most serious challenge. Not many returning medalists here, but several guys who are talented enough to be State medalists. Miller of Bell West is a tough SR.

1. Darlondo Hill Omaha Westside
2. Justin Shaw Lincoln SW
3. Leo Palomo Kearney
4. Doug Weidner Millard South
5. Alex Thompson Norfolk
6. Gabe Jeffrey Bellevue East

COMMENTS: Hill of Westside seems to be the top guy right now, but will have to stay on top his game to finish there in February. Several past State medalists are at this weight, along with some talented guys not listed in the rankings right now. Many feel Weidner’s move to Millard South this season from Bryan will give him the workout partners to perhaps earn a Finals berth. Shaw and Palomo are both real tough…should be a very competitive weight come State.

1. Colton Wolfe Columbus
2. Javone Malone Omaha Benson
3. Doug Vawter Millard West
4. Matt Montgomery Norfolk
5. Shawn Jackson Kearney
6. Rajan Elleb Millard South

COMMENTS: If Wolfe is down to 195…he is the easy choice to win his 3rd State title. If he stays up at 220, where he has wrestled so far, then it opens up 195 to a scramble for the title. Malone of Benson and Vawter of Mill West would stand to benefit most if Wolfe stays up at 220. There are likely some up and comers that will surface later in the year, as usual, at 195.

1. Connor Clanton Lincoln SW
2. Wyatt Olcott Columbus
3. MJ Montgomery Norfolk
4. Alex Dukart Millard West
5. Jackson Hasz Creighton Prep
6. Brook Krinklaw Millard South

COMMENTS: Again, if Wolfe is here…he is the overwhelming favorite. If not, it opens up another scramble for the title. Notice a theme here? Go where Wolfe ISN’T…you will have a better chance of winning a State title! 220 without Wolfe is a dogfight, with Olcutt of Columbus currently rated #2. There are some kids here currently unrated who could also make some noise. Should be an interesting weight with some unpredictability throughout the season.

1. Lee Harrington Kearney
2. Cyrus Marshall Columbus
3. Robbie Farber Lincoln Pius X
4. Brandon Eastlack Millard North
5. Mar’San Castenada Lincoln NE
6. Garett Rollag Creighton Prep

COMMENTS: Kearney’s Harrington sits at #1 after beating #2 Marshall of Columbus to win the season opening Kearney Invite. Probably the first of several matches between those two this year, given their proximity to each other. State Medalists Farber of LPX and Eastlack of Millard North return, and should be near the top all season. Another weight that has some good kids not ranked right now, who could surface as the season progresses.


1.) Kearney
2.) Millard South
3.) Lincoln SW
4.) Millard West
5.) Columbus
6.) Bellevue East
7.) Norfolk
8.) Papillion-LaVista South
9.) Omaha Burke
10.) Papillion LaVista
Rater: Doug Denson
Millard South

A-1: Kearney,
A-2: Millard South, Bellevue East
A-3: Columbus, Lincoln SW, Papillion LaVista
A-4: Omaha Burke, Millard West. Papillion LaVista South, Norfolk

The first dual rankings of the year add very little clarity as to who has the best dual teams in class A. The one thing that is for sure is that Kearney and Millard South have the most complete teams right here and right now. That’s not to say things can’t change as teams get their rosters settled, but for the moment, these two are a solid one and two in the rankings. Kearney battled to an easy championship at their own invitational and Millard South, likewise, ran away with the Sergeant Bluff-Luton invitational. Very little separates these teams at this point in time and both teams are loaded with talent.

Lincoln Southwest may have their most complete team ever which equates to their best dual team ever. The team is solid up and down the lineup which gives them the nod at no. 3. Yes, Kearney did dispatch LSW in invitational action, but dual action might look much differently depending on how the matchups shake out.

Millard West is a team on the move. Last year was a banner year for the Wildcats as they turned in a 6th place finish at the state tournament. This year, the team looks loaded and will press any team out there in dual competition. The Wildcats are loaded in the lower weight classes, and likewise have solid upper weight classes. Millard West had a great outing at the Fremont Invite to get the year started. A key dual matchup with Millard South is on the horizon right before Christmas break. If the Wildcats upend the defending champions, a move up the ladder will be inevitable.

Columbus has dropped a couple of notches in the early going. It remains to be seen how complete a dual team Columbus will have as the season wears on. If the team can get their three guns in the lineup at the same time (195, 220, 285) the team will have the upper hand should any dual finish in the upper weights. The other thing to consider is that Columbus was the most improved team last year from start until finish during the regular season. If they improve at that rate yet again, watch out!

Bellevue East is one of those teams made for dual competition. Having a full team is a premium in the dual world, and having competent wrestlers in every weight class makes a team prime for a lot of dual wins. The Chieftains are off to a good start this year having won their first tournament. They should be undefeated and red hot. as they approach an upcoming dual with highly ranked, Millard South.

Norfolk, Papillion LaVista South, Burke and Papillion LaVista all have plenty of potential and a chance to be in the mix by the end of the year. Norfolk is a team much like Bellevue East in that the Panthers can field a quality full team. The other three all have significant firepower, but also have holes in the lineup early on in the year. There are NO crystal balls here so it will remain to be seen how coaches sew lineups together for the final run into districts. Burke has the most firepower out there once they get their best lineup in order. Papillion LaVista also has some high quality kids. Getting Dinges back in the lineup will definitely help. The Monarchs have a really solid tournament team. Papillion LaVista South is on the move and moving up. A recent victory over the Monarchs is a testament of this!

Other teams on the outside looking in will have to knock off these top 10 or show significant dual wins if they want to get into the ratings sweepstakes.

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