Hershey has three wrestlers who will compete in semifinal matches Saturday at the district tournament in Bridgeport.
The C-4 district is loaded with talent, with three of the 16 schools rated in the class C top 10 by the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association — No. 1 Valentine, No. 2 Broken Bow and No. 8 Ord.
Nevertheless, Hershey Head Coach Cale Streeter thinks some of his wrestlers can finish in the top four in their weight classes and qualify for the state meet.
“They are capable and strange things happen at district,” he said.
The trio of Panthers in the semis would automatically qualify if they win their semifinal matches.
Jacob Mackley, (35-12) will take on Broken Bow’s Cole Ulmer (38-8).
Ulmer is ranked third in Class C. Mackley was a state qualifier last year. His goal this year is to go back and win a medal.
The 195 pound match between Bryan McGahan (35-5) and Marce Vasquez (41-1) should be a battle from start to finish. Vasquez is ranked No 2 in the state and McGahan third. McGahan medaled at the state tournament last year and hopes to return for a shot at winning the state championship.
In the heavyweight class, Nathan Louder will shoot for the finals when he meets Jakob Jerabek (34-4) from Arcadia-Loup City. Louder was one win away from a trip to state last year and is determined to qualify this year.
In addition, the Panthers have seven wrestlers still in the hunt.
To have a chance of qualifying for state, they have to work their way through the “wrestle back” bracket and advance to the third-place consolation match.
Wrestle back, semi-final, championship and consolation matches begin Saturday morning.
Team scores after opening day:
- Broken Bow, 79.5
- Valentine, 60.5
- Ord, 48.5
- Bridgeport, 46
- Hershey, 28
- Mitchell, 28
- Kearney Catholic, 21
- Gordon-Rushville, 20
- Sothern Valley, 20
- Ainsworth, 18
- Kimball, 16
- Minden, 16
- Ravenna, 14
- Chase County, 13.5
- Arcadia-Loup City, 10
- Loomis-Bertrand, 3