As if this week didn’t have enough intrigue.
An already much-anticipated inaugural Nebraska state high school dual wrestling tournament got another layer of story lines when classes at many schools were canceled on Thursday and Friday because of snow.
The one-day event at UNK’s Health & Sports Center begins Saturday with first-round duals in Classes B and C starting at 8:30 a.m. Finals for those two classes are slated for 1 p.m.
Classes A and D are set to start at 4:30 p.m. and wrap up with the championship round at 7:30.
Those plans are full speed ahead.
“Unless we’re without power, we’ll be going,” said Ron Higdon, Nebraska School Activities Association assistant director.
Higdon said he spoke with most of the coaches involved and didn’t anticipate any travel issues.
Coaches of the 32 qualifying teams already were going to face a new challenge — getting a team prepared for wrestling immediately after the individual tournament.
Wrestlers are afforded an extra four pounds at weigh-ins Saturday, and can compete as high as one weight class above that.
Grand Island coach Mike Schadwinkel offered a two-word assessment of this week: “Real weird.”
That got even stranger with the winter storm that hit most of the state Thursday. Most teams were able to get in some kind of workout either early Thursday or later in the day on Friday.
Omaha Skutt coach Brad Hildebrandt said his team had a good week heading into the dual tournament.
“It was a little more relaxed,” he said. “I’m excited to see how it all plays out.”
Schadwinkel and Hildebrandt are bringing teams that are coming off team titles at last weekend’s individual tournament.
Schadwinkel’s Islanders won their fifth straight Class A crown. Hildebrandt and the SkyHawks took the Class B championship for the 15th time in 16 seasons. Both teams are the top seed in their respective classes.
The other two classes, though, seem to lack a clear favorite.
Class C team champion Central City is the No. 5 seed and wound up on the other side of the bracket from O’Neill, Valentine and Madison — the other top-four teams last week in Omaha.
The top two finishers in Class D at the individual tournament — Amherst and Pender — are the top two seeds in the dual format. Amherst nipped the Pendragons by 7.5 points despite five champions for Pender.
“They still have a lot to look forward to,” Pender coach Dennis Oliver said.
Oliver was quick to admit that not even he is sure what he’ll get out of his team — both physically and mentally — after the usual ending point of the season has passed.
“I really think that in the bracket we’re in, we’re going to be in three tight duals,” Oliver said. “Other than that, I don’t know what else is going to happen.”
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