Ty Swarm said he talks about the importance of every tournament point on a regular basis to his Kearney wrestling team.
If the second-year coach ever needs proof, there's a new plaque for the Bearcat trophy case to back him up.
Class A No. 4 Kearney got a pin in the final match of the day to break a tie with third-ranked and tournament host Millard South, giving the Bearcats the A-2 district tournament title Saturday.
“We've preached all year that every point matters,” Swarm said. “It's hard to grasp that concept sometimes in the middle of a tournament, but it's really important. We were fortunate that we had a couple more points in the end.”
Those deciding points came from Gabriel Ledesma, who finished the day with a pin in the third-place match at 285 pounds. He's one of Kearney's 13 qualifiers for next week's state tournament.
Included in that group are four champions from Saturday: Jordan Bober (113), Isaac Stansbury (120), Damon Rodriguez (126) and Dante Rodriguez (132).
Stansbury and Dante Rodriguez — ranked No. 1 at their respective weight classes — fought back from early deficits to earn pins, Damon Rodriguez turned a one-point lead heading to the third period into a 9-3 victory, and Bober beat Matt Torring of Millard West for the first time in his career.
“I thought our mental focus was excellent throughout the day,” Swarm said. “There were many matches that we weathered the storm. We took some difficult situations and we fought through them and we ended up winning big matches.
“I can count a number of times where we had kids step up and win matches that maybe they weren't supposed to win. Jordan had never beat that kid and does it in the district finals. That right there is one of those matches that if we don't win, we don't win the tournament.”
Millard South also moved 13 through to the state tournament, with five winning district titles. Top-ranked 138-pounder Isaac DeLoa, a sophomore looking for his second state title, joined teammates Nathan Rodriguez (106), Alex Mendez (145), Anthony Cloyd (182) and Marc Tompsett (195) as Patriot winners. All but Cloyd won title matches against opponents from Kearney.
Omaha Central had a trio of champions in Markell Vaughn at 152, 160-pound Corbin Foster and Shannon Jackson at 170. The Eagles qualified seven for state in a third-place team finish.
Third-ranked Colin Stock of Papillion-La Vista South won the 195-pound crown and Stanford football recruit Harrison Phillips — ranked No. 1 at 285 — was also a winner.
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Five-time defending team champion Grand Island crowned six champions and qualified 11 for next week's state tournament in winning the district at Norfolk. The Islanders were led by top-ranked Edgar Silva (195) and Chase Reis (220). Grand Island has had at least three individual champions in four of the last five years.
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Sixth-ranked Omaha Burke had six winners as part of 12 qualifiers in winning the team title at Omaha Creighton Prep. Top-ranked Jared Green (145) and Patrick Kelley (152) were both champions for the Bulldogs. Burke has finished second in the team race at state each of the last two seasons and won the Class A dual tournament last year.
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Seven of No. 2 Omaha North's nine qualifiers won titles as the Vikings held off host Hastings by 8.5 points. Robert Ozuna (126), Jacobi Jones (170) and JaVaughn Perkins (182) — all ranked No. 1 at their respective weight classes — were three of the six champions. North has finished in the top two at state once since winning the title in 1999.