UTICA — The Southern Nebraska Conference wrestling team championship came down to a two-horse race on Friday when the David City Scouts held a slight lead over the host Centennial Broncos as they headed to the consolation semifinals round.
David City would eventually pull away for the win on their overall balance by the final tally of 192-143.5. In third was Wilber Clatonia with 114.5, fourth went to Thayer Central with 84 and rounding out the top five teams were South Central and Tri-County with 85 points.
Fillmore Central, the other area team at the meet, finished in seventh place with 73 points. The Panthers sent two wrestlers to the finals and one to the consolation finals.
The Broncos sent seven wrestlers to the finals of their respective brackets, while the Scouts had six wrestlers going for titles. Only one of those finals would pit the two teams against each other and that came at the 170 pound weight class.
The Scouts opened their lead in the consolation semifinals round from 127 to 122.5 to 159 to 122.5 as all three Bronco wrestlers lost while the Scouts picked up 32 more points and strengthened their hold on the lead.
In the championship rounds the Broncos started off fast as sophomore Doyle Trout (35-3) scored a major decision over Sutton's Tyler Bailey 14-3 at 113. At 120, Steven Bader (30-7) made it two in row when he pinned Davis Jacobsen of Fillmore Central in 2:36.
Trying to make it three in a row in the finals, Davey Payne (24-8) at 126 came up short and settled for second with a 9-1 loss to Jake Smith (30-8) of Wilber-Clatonia.
At 160 pounds, Andrew Bader wrestled for the first time this year and was 2-0 until he met up with Tri-County's Hunter Garrison who sent the Bronco junior to his first loss in the finals by the score of 18-4, a major decision.
Hoping to break the Broncos' finals losing string, Cory Kennedy at 170 took on David City's Joseph Varela in the finals. The DC sophomore came into the match at 31-5, while Kennedy was 30-9. Varela won by pin at the 3:38 mark.
At 195 Centennial's Lucas Gruber went for the title against Cody Burkhardt of Milford, and in the consolation final, Fillmore Central's Trevor Adams took on Austin Barnts of Tri-County for third. Gruber, a senior this year, completed his days work with a 7-6 win as Burkhardt was down 7-1 at one time. Adams (40-4) made quick work of Barnts with a pin at 1:46.
At 220 two locals went at each other for the title and the Broncos' Luke Studnicka got out to a sizable lead and pinned FC's Cole Curtis at 2:42 of the second period.
The Panthers' Zach Ekeler improved his season mark to 42-1 as he gave Fillmore Central their only champion as he pinned Dalton Dumler of South Central in 1:54.
The Broncos and the Panthers will both be in action next weekend at the Class C-3 Districts hosted by Cross County High School. The action gets underway at 3 p.m.