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Burwell Wrestlers Accomplish Double State Titles

February 26, 2018

The Longhorn grapplers of Burwell High School not only repeated their Class D State title, but also added another trophy to their arsenal with a State Championship at the NSAA State Dual Tournament.  The Longhorns were the only team in the state to complete the double title run in 2018.  

The Grand Island Independent reported the event.

KEARNEY-The Burwell wrestling team accomplished the double title run.

One week after the Longhorns captured their second consecutive Class D state wrestling title, they came back and won their first-ever state duals title Saturday at the UNK Health and Sports Center.  

Burwell took the championship by defeating Elkhorn Valley 44-30.

"Winning this was another goal of ours, next to winning the state tournament in Omaha," Longhorn senior Thomas Hughes said.  "We knew how good it felt to win last week and this feels just as good."

Burwell co-coach Mike Max said there was a little challenge in getting the Longhorns focused after coming off a state championship in Omaha.

"We're coming off a high of winning the state tournament last week and coach (Luke) Gideon and I needed to keep them motivated somehow," Max said  "But these guys came back and worked really hard this week.  They were really focused and got the job done."

It didn't take long for Burwell to gain the upper hand.  the Longhorns recorded two forfeit victories from Coy Gideon (126 pounds) and Tell Jensen (132) before Joel Ostrom pinned Prestin Vondra in :46 for a quick 18-0 lead.

That had Elkhorn Valley playing catchup the rest of the dual.  the Falcons did cut the deficit down to secen a few times, but Burwell always had an answer.  

Drew Dearmont (220) and Hughes (285) recorded back to back pins for a commanding 40-21 lead.

Bode Jensen (152) and Tate Phillipps (113) recorded major decision victories, while Jacob Busch (182) also had a forfeit victory.

Falcon coach, Joey Tegeler said he knew Elkhorn Valley, which finished runner-up to Burwell in the previous week's state tournament, was going to have a tough time against the Longhorns. 

"They have an awesome team," he said.  "We had to be perfect if we had a chance.  It just didn't happen but our kids really fought hard."

Hughes said there was motivation entering the duals tournament after falling to Amherst in last year's final.  The Longhorns finished third in 2016.  

"We wanted this so bad, especially after what happened lat year," Hughes said.  "This is the first time we've ever won it.  We've been close the last few years but it feels good to get one."

Max said it was a goal of Burwell's to win both the state individual tournament and the state duals tournament.

"We didn't really talk about it a lot but the biggest thing for us was talking about it at the start of the season.  If that's what you want to do, you need to start talking about it as soon as possible.," Max said.  "If you let the individual tournament go by and then ge them motivated for the dual tournament, it's too late."

"The older kids were really motivated by it and the younger kids just followed them.  We had a bunch of great kids this year and they all deserve it."

Marc Zavala

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