The closest of the four state wrestling team championship races figures to stay that way most of the day Saturday.
Only 11.5 points separate Central City and O’Neill after Friday’s semifinal and consolation rounds of the Class C state tournament at the CenturyLink Center.
The Bison enter the final day of the meet positioned to earn their second team title in the past three seasons — they ended Omaha Skutt’s 13-year reign as Class B champions in 2011 — if they can hold off O’Neill’s bid for its first wrestling title in school history.
The Eagles have one advantage they hope works to their advantage — one more person with a chance to score points.
O’Neill has three wrestlers in both the championship and consolation rounds, while Central City has four in the winner’s bracket but just one in the consolations.
“Tomorrow’s a new day,” Eagles coach Bryan Corkle said. “We have three in the finals so we still have more than them. We have our work cut out for us because they have such a senior-laden bunch and we’re still pretty young.”
Corkle said the Eagles got some of their youthful giddiness about being at state out of the way after the first round. After their successful opening session Thursday, the focus on what could be accomplished began to sink in.
“They didn’t think they could do it until after the first round,” Corkle said. “We’re in a dogfight with Central City.”
O’Neill’s three finalists are Jon Marvin at 120, Blake Walter at 132 and 170-pounder David Fox. Central City will send Kolby Lenhart (126), Kyle Sutton (138), Jake Anderson (152) and Jake Brown, who is 31-1 at 160, into the gold medal matches.
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