KEARNEY, Neb. — It was nearly déjà vu for Madison's Blake Eisenmann.
Last year's 138-pound state champion saw his quest for another title fall short after being pinned by Central City's Kyle Sutton during the semifinals last weekend, and Eisenmann again found himself in a tough spot against Sutton during the championship match of the state dual tournament on Saturday.
This time was different.
Eisenmann squirmed free to avoid the pin, and he held on for a 6-5 decision to give Madison a commanding 31-18 lead in what proved to be the deciding bout. The Dragons held off Central City 31-28 to be crowned Class C state champions.
“I was so proud of Blake. … That was a good way to seal up the team victory,” Madison coach Kenny Loosvelt said. “He came back to practice this week and was real aggressive and focused on what he had to do.”
State champion Jake Brown (160 pounds) tallied a pin to get Central City a 6-0 lead, but Madison answered with five consecutive decisions.
Jesse Mayo (170), David Hiusmann (182), Jorge Andrade (195), Aron Reynaga (220) and Tyler Ganskow (106) weren't flashy, but they were effective. State champion Takoda Batenhorst (120) then won via major decision, and a Central City forfeit gave Madison a 25-6 advantage.
The Bison bounced back as 126-pound state champ Kolby Lenhart's pin and a Madison forfeit added 12 quick points, but Madison's Isaias Solorio (132) and Eisenmann each tallied decisions to put it away.
Central City state champion Jake Brown closed things out with a pin, but the match was already a foregone conclusion.
“Nobody outworked us in practice this week and I can say that with all confidence,” Loosvelt said. “We talked to the kids and they weren't happy with how last week went, and we knew that we had a great team.”
Madison, fifth overall at state last week, had wrestled only five duals all season prior to Saturday. The Dragons earned a 37-24 win over Sargent/Burwell in the first round and a 40-19 win over O'Neill in the semis before edging Central City.
Madison's only dual loss was their first of the season, against Class B dual champion Omaha Skutt.
“We scheduled Omaha Skutt because we knew that those types of duals would help us down here,” Loosvelt said.
Central City, which won the Class C state title in Omaha, was unable to complete the sweep after coming up on the short end of multiple highly competitive bouts with Madison.
“We knew that there was going to be some swing matches and we didn't get those,” Central City coach Darin Garfield said. “Madison got them, so credit to those guys.”
Sutton injured his shoulder during his state final last Saturday, an injury that came into play late in the third round against Eisenmann.
“He didn't have any mat time all week, but he's a gamer and wanted to give it a go,” Garfield said. “I'm proud of his effort and that he was willing to step on the mat for his team.”