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WRESTLING

Class A: Burke's Fox moves up in weight, moves on to semis at 152

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Fox moves up in weight, moves on to semis at 152

Mr. Versatility is at it again.

Omaha Burke senior Connor Fox won a pair of matches Thursday on day one of the state wrestling tournament at the CenturyLink Center, advancing into Friday’s semifinals and one step closer to a repeat state title.

Just not at the class he’s ranked at.

Fox bumped up from 145, where he won a gold a season ago, to 152 before districts, a move mainly made to help the sixth-ranked Bulldogs fill a better lineup.

“(Coaches) decided it was better for the team,” Fox said. “I was fine with it.”

It wasn’t as if Fox was making the move for an easier road. Thursday, Fox knocked off second-ranked Trevor Bigelow of Kearney 6-3 in the quarterfinals.

He’ll get Lincoln Southeast’s Nathan Hunt, ranked No. 3 at 152, in the semifinals, with a potential showdown with Norfolk’s Caleb Licking — the defending champion of the class — looming in the finals Saturday.

Fox said there’s a few noticeable differences between the two weight classes.

“At 145 guys are faster, more dangerous with their throws,” he said. “(At) 152, they’re more technical. That’s more of my style, too.”

Fox, who is third on the career win list in the state of Nebraska, bumped up and beat Licking 9-2 at 152 pounds in a dual early in the season.

Burke coach Wes Boehm said it was Fox’s versatility that allowed for the move to go smoothly.

“He’s good on his feet and he moves really well for 152,” Boehm said.

The coach got a laugh when recalling the conversation with Fox about making the bump up in weight for the postseason.

“I told him to go home and talk to his dad about it,” Boehm said before smiling. “But I did that just to be nice. He was moving up whether he liked it or not.”

Luckily for both sides, Fox is happy with the jump. He said he feels quicker at 152 pounds compared to the competition.

“And I get to eat more, so I’m healthier,” he said.

With Thursday’s wins, Fox locked up his third straight 50-win season.

He plans to attend UNL next year and major in engineering. Walking on with the Huskers isn’t out of the question, he said.

“We’ll see after this tournament,” Fox said.

A win Friday would put him in a third consecutive state championship match. He lost to three-time champion Dante Rodriguez of Kearney in the finals in 2014.

What will it take to get there?

“I just have to go out there and wrestle how I wrestle,” Fox said. “If I do that, I’ll be just fine.”

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