Unbeaten Cambridge heavyweight state champ heads area list of state mat medalists

Monday, February 21, 2011
Steve Kodad/McCook Daily Gazette Justin Romeo (right) of Medicine Valley tries to stop Cory Brester of Howells from escaping during the Class D 189-pound championship match at the state wrestling meet Saturday, Feb. 19, in Omaha. Romeo dropped a 3-1 decision to Brester as the Med Valley senior suffered his only loss of the season.

OMAHA, Nebraska -- Gazette area competitors brought home 12 medals from the 2011 Nebraska State High School Wrestling Championships.

Area wrestlers were most heaviest represented in the Class D ranks, and that where the majority of the medals were won. Area matmen claimed 10 medals in the Class D division, including a coveted gold medal won by a heavyweight who wrestles perhaps like someone close to half his size.

Mike Shoff of Cambridge earned his second straight Class D title at 285 pounds. The junior finished the year undefeated in 41 matches, including four straight wins by fall at the state meet last weekend at the Qwest Center in downtown Omaha.

Steve Kodad/McCook Daily Gazette Tyler Van Pelt (bottom) fights to stay in control against Ben Fox of Dundy County-Stratton in Class D state wrestling meet consolation bracket action at 125 pounds. Van Pelt beat Fox, 7-4, en route to a sixth-place medal.

The Cambridge giant wrestled for Sutton last season, winning his first state title after losing in the 2009 Class D state finals in overtime during his freshman year.

Shoff controlled his final foe, Nathan Bazata of Howells, most of the match before he turned Bazata over and won by fall in 3 minutes, 28 seconds. Shoff also recorded pins in 10 seconds, 28 seconds and 13 seconds en route to the finals.

Shoff is not the prototypical high school heavyweight wrestler. He is very aggressive in seeking takedowns, and very agile for a junior who weight abut 280 pounds.

Arapahoe's Patrick Gardner (left) works a reverse against Alex Snyder of Cross County in the Class D 152-pound fifth-place final Feb. 19 at the state wrestling meet in Omaha. Gardner lost to Snyder, 8-3, to end his state meet competition with a sixth-place medal.

Med Valley medalists

Medicine Valley claimed the most individual medals of the area schools represented at state. The Raiders had two competitors in the Class D state finals Saturday afternoon, but both lost their bids for those special state meet gold medals.

One of the most anticipated matches in the Class D division materialized when Justin Romeo of Medicine Valley and Cory Brester of Howells both reached the 189-pound title match with perfect season records. Brester was dominant, as he won a 6-1 decision over Romeo, who ended the year with a 40-1 record. Brester finished at 44-0, as he won his fourth state meet medal. He was the defending Class D state champ at 171 pounds.

Med Valley also saw Hunter Timmons reach the state finals after winning his first three matches at state Thursday and Friday. Timmons wages an epic battle with Clayton Moore of Friend. Timmons trailed 12-11 late in the final period before Moore turned the Med Valley junior to his back to end the match by fall with just four seconds left.

Timmons ends the season with a 44-3 record, while Moore, a senior, finished at 44-0.

Rulon Taylor of Medicine Valley also won three of his six matches at state to finish with a sixth-place medal at 215 pounds.

Other area medal winners

Southwest had two individual medalists in the Class D division. Tanner Teel won his third straight state meet medal with a fifth-place finish at 130 pounds. Teammate Tyler Van Pelt also finished sixth at 125 pounds for the Roughriders.

Arapahoe also had a pair of state medal winners. Patrick Gardner advanced to the semifinals at 152 pounds in Class D, but he dropped a 5-1 decision to Wyatt Schake of Amherst. Gardner lost two more matches to place sixth. Wyatt Kipp won a second consecutive state meet medal when he finished sixth at 119 pounds. He was fourth at 103 last season.

Paul Downey of Dundy County-Stratton finished fifth at 145 pounds, and Eustis-Farnam freshman Aaron Hueftle was sixth at 103 pounds for the Gazette area's other Class D medalists.

In Class C Jeremiah Lueth of Chase County finished sixth at 140 pounds. After a first-round loss, Lueth won three straight matches to reach the medal round, but he lost his next two bouts to end in sixth place.

State meet team standings

In the Class D team standings, Medicine Valley finished sixth with 68 points. Cambridge was 17th with 35 points, with Southwest close behind, tied with Osmond for 19th with 33 points each. Arapahoe scored 20 points, Dundy County-Stratton had 17, and Eustis-Farnam had 11 points.

In Class C, Chase County had 13 points. The Hitchcock County/Wauneta-Palisade co-op squad scored 6 points and Southern Valley had 3 points, as the area squads finished near the back end of the final team standings.

McCook was 26th in the Class B team race with 21 points.

Central City dethroned 13-time defending Class B team champion Omaha Skutt Catholic. Central City scored 149 points, to 130 for Skutt. Bennington was third with 106.5 points.

Amherst won the Class D team title with 139.5 points, followed by Pender with 129 and Howells with 111. Wood River was Class C state champs with 115 points. Madison was second (86.5) and Syracuse third (84.5).

In Class A, Grand Island scored 228.5 points to easily win a third consecutive state title. Kearney was runner-up with 135.5 points, and Omaha Burke third at 130.

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