North Platte High wrestlers Jace Kennel and Lathan Huntsman won the district championships on Saturday in Grand Island.

Kennel won the 144-pound weight class when his opponent in the finals, Phoenix Gardner-Burt of Omaha Burke, was unable to compete. The match was supposed to pit two of the top wrestlers in the state as Kennel is 38-2 on the season and Gardner-Burt was 30-2.

Huntsman (27-3) won at 157 pounds when he pinned Jordan Juma of Omaha Bryan in 3:25.

Kennel and Huntsman led the Bulldogs to a second place finish in the A-3 district, helping them score 206 1/2 points. The host team, Grand Island, was first with 223. Omaha Bryan was a distant third at 131 1/2.

NPHS qualified 12 wrestlers, including Kennel and Huntsman, for next week’s state meet with top four finishes at districts.

The Bulldogs had five wrestlers finish second — Brody Pitner, Ty Haneborg, Ethan Jackson, Brenttyn Boe and Xavier Albertson.

In the finals at 106, Pitner lost, 3-1, to Mohamed Mohamed of Omaha Bryan. In the next weight class, 113, Haneborg lost, 18-5, to another Bryan wrestler, Abdirahman Unle.

Boe, who is 12-22 on the season, wrestled beyond anyone’s expectations at districts and made it to the finals at 165, where he was pinned in a minute by Will Manning of Lincoln Southwest, the son of University of Nebraska Head Coach Mark Manning.

Jackson lost, 4-0, to Dane Arrants of Grand Island at 150 and Albertson lost by just one point, 5-4, to Hudson Oliver, also of Grand Island at 190.

North Platte’s two heavyweights, Will Rathjen at 215 and Alex Gove at 285, finished third along with Kirk Wilson (132) and Tyson Smith (138).

DeAngelo Mata (120 and Izayah Plunk (126) secured their trips to Omaha with fourth place finishes.

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