2014-15 PRE-SEASON TOP TEN RATINGS
- Millard South 1. Grand Island
- Hastings 2. Kearney
- Grand Island 3. Millard South
- Omaha North 4. Omaha Burke
- Kearney 5. Hastings
- Lincoln SW 6. Papillion LaVista
- Papillion LaVista 7. Norfolk
- Omaha Burke 8. Lincoln Southwest
- Omaha Central 9. Omaha North
- Creighton Prep 10. Elkhorn South
Raters: Todd Porter Bellevue East Doug Denson Millard South
It looks to be a wide open year in the State Meet, with 4-6 teams potential walking away with the title in February. You have to respect North, as defending State Champs, plus the addition of State Champion Markell Vaughn (152) from Central, but…they have some weights to fill in with the graduation of a stellar SR class. GI, under new Coach Joey Morrison (Lexington) looks to continue their strong run as the program enters the post Schadwinkel era. Millard South, Runnerup last year in that exciting finish, seems at this time to have the most firepower, including arguably the State’s best overall wrestler – Isaac DeLoa, who figures to be at 138. They are a program that knows how to get kids to peak at State, so count on them to be in the mix at the Century Link. And you sure cannot count out an always tough Kearney bunch under Coach Swarm. A lot of what determines who carries away the top prize may be determined by talented newcomers who have yet to make their names at the high school level. All in all, it figures to be one of the most interesting seasons in recent memory in Class A!
1. Grand Island (A-2)
Grand Island is fresh off of a great run in class A wrestling. Five consecutive individual state championships followed by a state dual championship last year. The Islanders have enough firepower left to bring home yet another championship but with a slight difference. This year’s team will include a new leader as Joey Morrison comes to the Islanders after an amazing rebuilding effort at Lexington High. Morrison replaces long time Mentor, Mike Shadwinkel who moved back into the college coaching ranks (Hastings College). Morrison’s Minutemen dispatched four class A teams last year in dual competition so he knows a little about the class A wrestling scene. He also knows a little bit about the Grand Island juggernaut having been defeated soundly 5 to 60. Grand Island may not be the powerhouse they were a few years ago, but they have plenty of ammo for this year’s state duals. Billy Thompson and Javier Silva will be two of the Islanders bigger guns this year. Add to the mix, six other varsity members with winning records, and you have depth enough to sit at number one entering the year. Since the inception of the duals, GI has been a runner-up and a champion; no reason to believe they aren’t primed for yet another run to the top.
2. Kearney (A-1)
Kearney may not have finished as well as they would have liked last year, but with a team full of talent and an all-star coaching staff, the Bearcats should give Grand Island everything they want this year. Coach Ty Swarm was a key ingredient to the great teams at UNK over the years and is no stranger to dual competition. Led by Senior, Damon Rodriguez, the Bearcats have a winning record at nearly every weight class. When you have depth like that, dual competition is right up your alley. Kearney will have quality up and down the lineup which puts the pressure on opponents. Kearney will have a lot of depth at the lower in and at the upper end of the lineup this year. Something that will give the Bearcats an edge in most duals will be their PIN power. The Bearcats won the A-2 district a year ago by putting on a pin clinic. This year, they will use that pin power to surge past opponents in dual competition.
3. Millard South (A-1)
The Patriots have a solid squad returning. Last year, the Patriots made it to the championship match in the state duals only to fall to GI. It will be a tall task for the Patriots this year; the A-1 district is loaded with talent and quality dual teams. 9 returning state qualifiers will make for quality depth. Millard South will have two time defending state champion, Isaac DeLoa to lead the way. The team should be balanced this season with a quality wrestler in nearly every weight class. Key to the success for the team will be getting every wrestler in the right weight classes. With over 20 duals on the schedule, Millard South will have plenty of practice in getting the lineup right.
4. Omaha Burke (A-3)
Coach Boehm and the Burke Bulldogs return a quality dual team in 2014-15. The Bulldogs seem to reload every year. The Bulldogs were the winners of the first State Dual Tournament in Nebraska. Last year they qualified and finished well. This year they will be in the thick of it again. Joey Harrison will be a bigger and better 106 which will help the team. Connor Fox should be a key for the Bulldogs. This is a team that has depth and has coaches who understand dual strategy. Expect them to be tough by state.
5. Hastings (A-4)
Hastings may be the Dark Horse in the whole State Duals race. Coach Laux will have two sons in the lineup and a ton of talent. Add to the mix a transfer, and you have the makings of a very tough team. In the lower to middle weights, No team will have better light to middle weights than Hastings. If they stay healthy, they are a team to keep an eye on. Expect Brandon Kile and Nolan Laux to lead this very talented team.
There will be a lot of teams in class A to have quality dual credentials. Expect most if not all of last years qualifiers to be in the hunt this year. Teams six through twelve could all be in the mix as well. The qualification process could put a dent in some team’s prospects for sure. No team is going to take more than 3 from their district. A-1 is going to be a tussle with Papillion and Prep adding a lot of power to the mix. If anyone knows how to win duals, it is Mike Braun. He has talent and depth in the room. Expect the Monarchs to be right in the thick of it. Norfolks is a team on the rise and Coach Brown has a lot of talent and depth as well. Norfolk should battle hard in the A-3 district for district championship honors. Lincoln Southwest has made it every year to the duals, and this year, they expect to make it once again. Coach Finley has a knack for putting together great dual teams. Omaha North is another team not to be discounted in the dual competition. Typically, North has not focused on dual competition, but with the guns they have in the room, watch out. Two state champions, a runner-up, and a third place finisher will give the Vikings tons to worry about. This is a team on a mission to back up last year’s individual championship. They might just add a dual championship to the trophy case as well. Elkhorn South, Columbus and Millard West all have the right ingredients to make things happen. Any one of these three teams could make a rapid move up the dual competition ladder.
6. Papillion LaVista (A-1)
7. Norfolk (A-3)
8. Lincoln Southwest (A-2)
9. Omaha North (A-4)
10. Elkhorn South (A-2)
HM: Columbus, Millard West
- Omaha Skutt 1. Omaha Skutt
- Plattsmouth 2. Nebraska City
- West Point-Beemer 3. Gretna
- Ashland-Greenwood 4. York
- Scottsbluff 5. Scottsbluff
- Gretna 6. Plattsmouth
- Columbus Scotus 7. West Point-Beemer
- Nebraska City 8. GI Northwest
- Bennington 9. Columbus Scotus
- Syracuse 10. Ashland-Greenwood
Raters: Tyler Hodges, Nebraska City Chad Mattox, York
Perennial powerhouse Omaha Skutt will start the year at the top of the rankings. With 5 projected state champions, the team race is Skutts to lose. After powerhouse Omaha Skutt, the field of teams ranked 2-8 are very close. Look for any of those teams to be vying for a runner-up finish at the end of the season. Watch wrestlers manuever their way around the 145-170 lbs weight classes. I believe we will see lots of wrestlers move weights to put themselves in position for a state title. The 145 & 152 weight classes could have the least amount of depth compared to the last 10 years. It will be interesting to see what wrestlers emerge in the middle weights this year. Good luck to all wrestlers, coaches, and fans as they start the 2014-2015 season.
Omaha Skutt looks to be the top team in both state tournaments this year. With the incoming freshmen that they have it looks to be a tall climb for the rest of Class B to get to their level. As for the rest, it appears the race for 2nd is between two teams out of B-2 with Nebraska City getting the slight nod over Gretna at this point. Nebraska City appears to have ample depth and the ability to put a solid wrestler out on the mat at each weight class. Gretna, with all of their incoming solid freshmen, appear to be a tough team not only now but even moreso in the future. After the top three the race is up in the air with any number of teams that could be in the top 5. York has 6 qualifiers coming back with another 6 wrestlers that made it to the heartbreak round last year at districts. Scottsbluff looks to be the early favorite to win their district out in B-4. The B-2 district is completely loaded with the likes of Plattsmouth, Ashland Greenwood, Beatrice, Syracuse, Nebraska City, and Gretna coming out of there. Its a shame that these teams aren’t spread out more because there could be scenarios where all of these teams could be in the top ten dual rankings.
1.David City 1. David City
2.O’Neil 2. Battle Creek
3.Plainview 3. Central City
4.Valentine 4. O’Neill
5.Battle Creek 5. Valentine
6.East Butler 6. Sargent/Burwell-LC
7.Central City 7. Madison
8.Wilber-Clatonia 8. Fort Calhoun
9.Centennial 9. Centennial
10.St.Paul 10. Wilber-Clatonia
Darin Garfield Central City Dean Boyer Plainview
Top 5 comments:
Pre-season ratings can be a bit tricky. For this first edition of ratings, I looked at a combination of things. Obviously the first thing is to see what teams have coming back. Secondly, what new faces have either moved in, or incoming freshman that may help score points at the state meet. And last but not least, I do put a little stock this early in the teams that have proven year after year that they do what it takes to seemingly always end up in the top 10.
-No surprise to anyway, but David City will begin the season at #1. They are more than solid at most weight classes and even with an open at 285, they definitely have the pieces to make another run at the championship. Also a couple of key transfers that will fit nicely into their line-up, makes David City a clear cut favorite.
-O’Neill has a ton of talent coming back. They will score big time points at the state tournament. Their top end points can be a very big threat to David City. I anticipate it being a very close race.
-Plainview is intriguing as they make the jump from Class D to Class C. Plainview knows how to win. They will have enough big point scorers that they can most definitely make a push towards the top 5
-Valentine gets the nod at #4. They have some quality depth as well as a couple of Freshman that will make an immediate impact. This is a team that has a championship mentality and will be in the mix when it is all said and done.
-Battle Creek rounds out the top 5. They are very deep and will put a solid wrestler out on the mat at most weights. Their depth will carry them at the state meet. While they may lack some of the huge to end point scorers that the top couple teams boast, they could beat anybody with their depth.
The teams 6-10 all have some quality high end points that can help them make a push to the top 5. East Butler, Central City, and Centennial all have some very high end point scorers but may lack some of the over all depth of the other top 5 teams. Wilber-Clatonia will rely on their depth and can make some noise in February
Disclaimer: I am excited to take on the Class C dual ratings this year. I will say that since we have spent the last 5 years in Class D, I am a little out of touch with some of the Class C teams. I am mainly basing my ratings at the beginning of the year from entries at districts last year and last years state placers. We will have to find out which teams have the best incoming freshmen and transfers.
- David City
When I figured that we were going to be in Class C this year, I looked at the top programs in the class to see how many kids were graduating from each school. At the end of last season, I thought that David City might be about the 3rd ranked team in C. To their credit, they went and hired two administrators that brought two state qualifiers with them. Add in what they returned and freshman Melvin Hernandez at 126 and I will put them at #1 until someone can prove me wrong. (Qualifiers: Daro 2nd, Phillips 3rd, Varela 2nd, Meusch, Papa, Valentine, Fuller)
- Battle Creek
They return 11 out of 14 wrestlers that were entered at districts last year. I don’t think they will have a 106, but the rest of their weights should be solid. I am not sure they will end up 2nd at the individual state tournament, but they should be very solid in a dual. I will know more after the first few weeks. I would not be surprised to see them at the top of state duals. (Qualifiers: Ziemba, Simons, Osborne, Kramer, Lanman 2nd, Prauner, de Jager)
- Central City
Another team that returns, 12 of 13 wrestlers entered at districts. I will be the first to tell you that I do not know enough about Central City. I just know they were young last year and performed well at state. Returning this many, they have to be good. (Qualifiers: Peterson, Dickinson 3rd, Malasek 5th, Schoch, Paup)
I might be crazy having them at 4th. They have the power to win it all, but I think the teams above them also could win it all. I do think O’Neill will finish higher than 4th at the individual state tournament. I had them picked to win in Omaha before David City got the two transfers. I just think they might have a few more weak spots than some of the other teams in a dual. (Qualifiers: Marvin 2nd, Rowse 5th, Fox 1st, Thompson)
Coach Allison’s team finished state dual runner-ups last season, but graduated 6 senior state qualifiers. That would have to hurt any team. They were able to reload and are filling all weights. Fifth might be too low. I guess we will see as the year gets started. (Qualifiers: Sliger 6th, Perrett 4th, Pearman, Ormesher)
These guys had a strong showing at state duals last year. They finished with a 3rd place at the duals and return 9 wrestlers from last year’s team. I originally had them as having 10 returners and then found out that Dakota Harvey transferred to Kearney High. He was a state qualifier at 120. That will slide Valentine in front. We will get to see them twice this year, so that will help. (Qualifiers: Moon, Cassidy, Helgoth, Gideon)
Kenny retired from coaching wrestling, but they brought in Coach Freudenburg to continue the Madison way. They return 8 wrestlers from last year team. I know they have a really good heavyweight and are strong in some other weights. We will dual them the second week of the year, so I will know more then. (Qualifiers: Haskel, Avila, Randles, Reynaga)
- Fort Calhoun
I need to find out more about Fort Calhoun. I am rating them at eighth because they return 12 wrestlers from last year. (Qualifiers: Tegels, Theisen 5th, Albertson, Hartline 4th)
Returning state dual qualifiers and 9 returning starters. We all know about Doyle Trout, but duals are won by the other kids on the team. I don’t know about their depth. (Qualifiers: Trout 1st, Bader, Kennedy 6th)
Coach Bates returns 12 wrestlers off last year’s team. They will be lead by returning state champion Jackson Bates. I don’t know if they have enough depth to beat some of the teams that are rated in front of them. (Qualifiers: Bates 1st, Hernandez, Smith, Maschman)
Contenders: Aquinas(11 returners), Shelton/Kenesaw(10 returners), Wood River(9 returners), Plainview(9 returners), Tekamah-Herman(8 returners), Malcolm(8 returners), East Butler(8 returners)
- Amherst 1. Amherst
- North Platte St. Pat’s 2. Winside
- Winside 3. North Platte St. Pat’s
- Randolph 4. Randolph
- Scribner-Snyder 5. Franklin
- Neligh-Oakdale 6. Creighton
- Meridian 7. Freeman
- Friend 8. Meridian
- Franklin 9. Maxwell
- Maxwell 10. Elkhorn Valley
Raters: Tyler Herman Amherst Paul Sok Winside
The 5x defending state champions return nine state medalists this season. The Broncos will be led by a trio of 3x state medalists including Devin Dibbern, Logan Dibbern, and Brandt Florell. Senior state medalists Payton Schake (4th) and Tanner Hircock (3rd) return at the upper weights. Peyton Cumpston (3rd), Kalen Klingelhoefer (3rd) and Jacob Klingelhoefer (5th) all medaled in Omaha as well. Colten Bergt, 3rd as a freshman, did not wrestle last year due to a torn ACL in football. Also looking to stand on the podium this year are returning qualifiers Colin Dibbern and Jacob Martenson.
- NP St. Pat’s
The Irish boast a lineup full of wrestlers with state tournament experience. Leading the way is returning state medalist Trey Dodson who finished 5th in Omaha last year. State qualifiers Cody Weaver, Kam Jordan, Aaron Allison, Ryan Dilley, and Nick Wright also return. If they can reach the medal stand this year, that will be huge in the Irish hopes for bringing home a state trophy. NPSP also brings in two talented freshmen in Cameron Riggs and Barrett Stickelman. Riggs will be a favorite to win a Class D state title even as a freshman.
Traditional power Winside will put another strong team on the mats again this year. The Wildcats will be led by returning state champion Marcos Escalera. Escalera caught fire in Omaha on the way to winning a Class D title as a sophomore. Sean Mann also brings a lot of points to the table as he finished 4th as a freshman a year ago. State qualifiers Colby Ericksen, Zach Morris, and Zach Jones also return. HWT Cory Shoff will be a nice addition to the lineup as well.
Senior Dylan Loberg had a terrific season on the football field and will look to do the same on the mat. Loberg is a 3x state medalist looking to cap his career with an individual state title. He will be joined by younger brother Drew who was a state runner-up last year as a freshman. Returning qualifiers James Oelrich, Shawn Thelen, and Jesse Schmit look to score big points as well.
The Trojans return talented 3x state medalist Brandon French. He is a machine on top and will look to cap his career with a state title in February. He will be joined by two talented wrestlers in Bailey Fletcher and Austin Lampkin. Both wrestlers narrowly missed the medal stand last year after losing close matches in the heartbreak round.
The Warriors always seem to have a tough, scrappy team every year. They will look to returning state medalist Louis Herley to lead the charge. He finished 4th at last year’s state tournament. Also, Garrett Allemang was a match away from medaling as a freshman but did not qualify in a loaded D-2 District last year. Look for him to come back with a lot of fire this year in pursuit of earning a spot on the podium. Neligh-Oakdale will also look for points from Marquis Granville and HWT Luke Jacobsen
The Mustangs return 2x state medalist and runner-up Brandon Jackson for his senior campaign. Jackson will be a favorite at 182 this season. Meridian will look for big things from Liam Noel, Guadalupe Dimas, and Cody Lundholm. Also, Joshua Traynor is a transfer from Branson, Missouri and had a winning record last season. He will not be eligible until right before districts.
The Bulldogs return two-time finalist and defending state champion Zemua Baptista. Baptista had a terrific summer winning the Midwest Classic and going 9-1 at the Disney Duals. 2x state medalist Patrick Dempsey returns for his senior campaign. After finishing 2nd and 4th in his career, Dempsey looks to stand atop the 170 lb. weight class this February. Friend also has state qualifiers Jesse Wells and Clay Dickinson. Dickinson qualified at 120 lbs. two years ago.
Look for big things from sophomore Brody Lewis who was a match away from a medal at last year’s state tournament. Both Drew Goosic and Shea Shannon were state qualifiers for the Flyers as well. Tanner Schnuerle was a qualifier two years ago but could not compete last year due to injury. Brian Pederson, Matthew Sweet, and Trent Christiancy were all around .500 last season and will look to punch their ticket to the state tournament.
Maxwell will be led by returning state medalist Jaylon Sturdivant. He will be up a few weight classes and is expected to compete at 182 lbs. They will look for upperclassmen such as Sage Galley, Jacob Whisenhunt, Christian Simmons, and Houston Crane to qualify for the state tournament. All have been extremely close in the past.
Amherst is undoubtedly the most dominant team grouping that Class D has ever had. I know—One could argue that Rushville in the early 2000’s had a bunch of animals and were a scoring machine across western Nebraska, northeast Wyoming and southwest South Dakota plus Mullen had their grouping of 5 individual state champs in the early 1990’s – actually had six state champs on that team. But—Look at what the Broncos have done at state the last few years in terms of total team scoring. No one has ever done that plus they have already collectied five consecutive team championships and wiped out the last two dual titles. End of story. As for the rest of the lineup, with Plainview bumping to C and East Butler staying there for this year, I feel that Winside with six returning state qualifiers and potentially filling 12-13 weights will be solid and will fit in at number two. North Platte St. Pats with a strong group of lower weights and possibly filling in spots above should be tough in D-4. Just a gut feeling but I think the western district will be pretty solid this year. D-1 and D-3 (with the exception of Amherst) are still up in the air. D-2 has several teams that will fill 10+ weights. Then it will come down to experience and tradition. Randolph barely missed being the fourth team to qualify out of D-2 for the Duals last year and should be solid again this year. Creighton, Ponca, Laurel/Concord, Elkhorn Valley plus Oakland-Craig join the group and should be competitive and “will” create waves in the final outcome at the D-2 meet (plus it’s in Creighton and to the best of my knowledge, I believe Creighton has never had a losing dual season). Neligh-Oakdale may be lurking in the background but Gary Davis is keeping mum and Elkhorn Valley has always had tough individuals and this year look to fill eleven weight classes. Franklin, Meridian, and Freeman all have numbers and may show up in the mix after we get into the competition stage of the game. That’s my take on the dual situation at this time and I will welcome info from the D coaches at anytime to help sort this smorgasbord of teams below number one out. Many thanks to Tyler Herman for his input at this time. Paul A. Sok, Winside Public School ( firstname.lastname@example.org )