CAMBRIDGE — Rulon Taylor and Jake Wells both stated they wanted undefeated, state championship seasons.
Going into the State Wrestling Tournament next week, both can still do it.
Taylor, of Medicine Valley, and Wells, of Anselmo-Merna, claimed individual titles in the D3 District Wrestling Tournament in Cambridge on Saturday and will go into next week’s state tournament unbeaten.
Wells, who improved to 32-0, defeated Garret Dockweiler of South Loup 6-3 in the 160-pound final. Dockweiler fell to 26-6 with the loss, with five of his losses this season being to Wells.
“He has great balance,” Dockweiler said of Wells. “He has good hips and he scrambles really well.
“I’ve been close to him, I just haven’t beaten him yet.”
In the semifinals on Saturday, Dockweiler picked up his 100th career victory with a 14-6 win over Patrick Gardner of Arapahoe. Dockweiler will be South Loup’s only representative at the state tournament.
Clinten Fales of Anselmo-Merna, who was fourth at 285 pounds, will join Wells at the state meet.
Taylor, who improved to 33-0, defeated Matthew Eberle of Ansley-Litchfield with a second-period pin.
“I’m just trying to give 100 percent all the time,” Taylor said. “I want to wrestle tough and not underestimate anybody.
“My goal is still there and I’m going for it.”
Joining Taylor at the state tournament for the Raiders are Thomas Foster, second at 126 pounds; Ty Contrerez, third at 145 pounds; and Quinten Chancellor, third at 182 pounds.
Two other area wrestlers won district titles on Saturday. Dylan Gage of Maxwell claimed the 195-pound title with a 6-3 tiebreaker win over Brock Shoff of Cambridge while Chris Werth of Eustis-Farnam claimed the 113-pound crown with an 10-8 decision over Bryan Wietjes of Amherst.
Gage, who improved to 36-3 on the season, prefers to work arms while in control on the mat.
“I feel I’m more in control with arms,” he said. “If a guy starts to get loose, I follow well and use good hips to keep control.”
Eustis-Farnam head coach Travis Metzler said his lighter weight classes battle each other every day in practice to get better.
“Especially Werth and [Aaron] Hueftle,” Metzler said. “Werth’s had a good year and he had a good state tournament last year, so I hope both these guys do well.”
Hueftle finished second at 120 pounds, suffering a 3-0 decision loss to Colten Bergt of Amherst. Joining Werth and Hueftle for the Knights at the state tournament is Garhett Nielson, third at 195 pounds.
Four Maxwell wrestlers reached finals on Saturday, but Drew Riggs, Jaylon Sturdivant and Ethan Lunkwitz all suffered losses in the final.
Lunkwitz, who rallied from a severe bloody nose to pin his semifinal opponent, was pinned in the third period by Logan Dibbern of Amherst.
In his semifinal against Colton Lammers of Pleasanton, Lunkwitz caught a cross face that bloodied his nose. Several blood stoppages had Lunkwitz battling blood time, which if it hits 5 minutes, causes a default loss.
“I had to pin him because he made me bleed,” Lunkwitz said. “I was out of time, so I had to finish it.”
Riggs lost in the 145-pound final to Amherst’s Mason Klingelhoefer in a first-period pin. Riggs qualified for his fourth straight state tournament and has medaled the three previous events.
“I’m kind of under the radar at 145,” said Riggs, who wrestled most of the season at 138. “I wanted another shot at Klingelhoefer after he beat me at the Sutherland Invite.”
Sturdivant, a sophomore, qualified for his second state tournament. He suffered an 11-1 defeat to Calvin Frerichs of Sumner-Eddyville-Miller in the 152-pound final.
Also going to the state tournament for Maxwell is Taylor McKeeman, fourth at 170 pounds.
Amherst dominated the tournament, capturing the team title with 269 points. Maxwell was second with 108, followed by Medicine Valley with 87, Southwest with 80, Eustis-Farnam with 76.5, Pleasanton with 56, Arapahoe with 55, Elm Creek with 54, Ansley-Litchfield with 51, Overton with 49.5, South Loup with 48, Cambridge with 47, Sumner-Eddyville-Miller with 47, Anselmo-Merna with 39, Alma and Wilcox-Hildreth each with 33, Axtell with 32 and Elwood with 20.