OMAHA — Senior Andrew Fangman became the first Wolfpack wrestler to medal twice at the Class D State Wrestling Championships.
Fangman placed fourth Saturday in the 170-pound division, wrapping up a tournament where he wrestled five times, winning three matches and recorded two pins and one major decision.
His odyssey of five matches in three days began Thursday afternoon against Kyle Stevens of High Plains Community. Fangman made quick work of the junior, pinning Stevens in 1:15. Coach Doug Jones said Stevens was a medalist one year ago.
Fangman has pinned the vast majority of his opponents this season, so pinning Stevens didn’t surprise anyone.
Next up for Fangman was Elvariste Gomez of Morrill. The D4 district champion, Gomez came out on the short end of a 10 to 2 major decision. Fangman said he changed his style to match up against Gomez whom he described as being “really strong.”
“I couldn’t force as many things,” Fangman said. “I’ve wrestled enough to know how to change my style.”
The strategy worked, allowing Fangman to accomplish the main goal for Thursday – win both matches for a trip to the semi-finals. “It’s a lot easier to guarantee yourself a medal,” he said about winning Thursday’s matches.
In the semi-final round Friday night, Fangman matched up against Jacob Klingelhoefer of Amherst. The match didn’t go Fangman’s way as he was pinned by Klingelhoefer in 1:58.
“He showed up and I didn’t,” Fangman said about the loss. Klingelhoefer went on to win the 170-pound championship.
On Saturday, Fangman met a familiar foe in the consolation semi-finals – Stevens. In what Fangman and Coach Doug Jones would describe as the “deja vu” match, Fangman again pinned Stevens, this time it just took 17 seconds faster (58 seconds).
The victory put him in the consolation finals against Skyler Ratkovec of East Butler. Ratkovec claimed a 4 to 1 victory in the battle for third place at state. Ratkovec got a takedown late in the first period. Fangman broke free to make the score two to one in the second period. Ratkovec recorded a second takedown going into the third period and then rode Fangman out to claim the victory.
By virtue of his performance, Fangman earned the fourth place medal. Looking back, he said his career as a wrestler “has definitely been a ride … It’s the best thing I’ve ever done,” he said.
“It’s the best sport in the world.”
Last year, Fangman placed fifth in the 152-pound weight class. As a senior, he jumped two weight classes to wrestle at 170. Coach Jones said it was Fangman’s commitment in the weight room that allowed him to be able to compete at 170.
Fangman finished the season with a 39-7 record.
OMAHA — Wolfpack senior Ryan Pelster gave wrestling fans a tournament to remember, competing at the Class D State Wrestling Championships which wrapped up Saturday afternoon.
“It was something I’ve always dreamed of,” Pelster said of wrestling for a state championship. “It definitely was the most exciting point in my life so far.”
Pelster capped a career where he reached close to 100 victories, by wrestling in the 145-pound championship match at the CenturyLink. Fans there, and those surrounding TVs across the state, watched Pelster “go the distance” before coming out on the short end of an 7 to 4 score against champion Devon Walker of Elm Creek.
The final was a rematch from earlier this year, at the Burwell Invite, where Walker defeated Pelster 10 to 9. Coaches and wrestlers on both sides of the mat knew this would be a tough match and it was.
Walker scored two points on a takedown to take the early lead, Pelster then registered an escape. Pelster registered an escape and a takedown in the third period, but it was too little, too late as Walker prevailed.
The finals match capped a busy tourney for Pelster who came into Omaha riding high after winning the D2 District title.
“I’m still trying to soak it in,” Pelster said Monday morning. “Looking back, I’m proud of myself and what I accomplished.” He said he experience an adrenaline rush like never before when he participated in the “Parade of Champions” just before his championship match. Being nervous is nothing new for the wrestler who has been competing for 13 years. “You learn to get used to it,” he said about that feeling right before a match begins.
Pelster was ready for battle when the state tournament began with a confidence gained from winning the district title last week. In his first match Thursday, Pelster faced Marshal Holtzclaw of Thayer Central. With a 26-18 record, Holtzclaw fell behind early and proved to be no match for the Wolfpack senior. Pelster took the lead in the first period and never trailed as he claimed an 8 to 1 decision.
In the quarterfinals Thursday night, Pelster faced Matthew Sweet of Franklin. Sweet had pinned his first round opponent, but there would be no pin against Pelster. Pelster only allowed Sweet one point on an escape, winning four to one.
By virtue of his two victories Thursday night, Pelster took a 33-9 record into the semi-finals Friday against Dawson Trampe of Amherst. Trampe entered the match with a 22-5 record. Early in the second period, Pelster got a reversal on Trampe to take a two to zero lead. In the third period, Trampe was awarded one point as Pelster was called for stalling. Still, Pelster prevailed in the match, leaping into Coach Mike Zegers arms knowing that he was going to wrestle for a state championship the next day.
“There was no room for error,” Pelster said about his semi-final match. He said the match, the closest one he has competed in, was the most physically draining as everything was “riding on the line.”
“I get more tired in six minutes than after my mile or two-mile runs in track,” said the senior. “It really toughens you up for life.”
Head Coach Doug Jones said defeating Trampe was no easy task. “He (Trampe) was a tremendous ‘rider’ and was very strong. He was tough to get away from,” Jones said. That’s why the reversal was so important in the match. He said he was concerned about being called again for stalling. “There’s the challenge of staying aggressive, going for the fall, but you don’t want to get careless,” Jones said.
Pelster capped his senior season with a 34-10 record, a district championship and a silver medal for finishing second at state.
Election races in Antelope County, particularly Elgin, continue to take shape as there were more filings for public office last week.
A spokesperson from the Antelope County Clerk’s office Tuesday morning updated the filings previously reported on.
There was one new filing for a seat on the Elgin City Council.
Donald L. Mackel, an incumbent in Ward II, has filed for re-election for a four-year term.
He joins Ward I incumbent Councilman Jim Kittelson who, earlier in January, filed for re-election.
For a time, Kittelson faced a challenger in the Ward I race. Michael R. Braband had filed in Ward I. However, according to the clerk’s office, Braband withdrew his name for the council seat.
Braband will remain a candidate, just for a different office as he has filed for a seat on the District #18 Board of Education for a four-year term.
During the past week, incumbent School Board Vice President Steven Busteed filed for re-election to a four-year term.
In early January, school board member Doug Jones filed for election. Jones was appointed to fill the vacancy created two years ago when Kim Wells resigned and moved to Grant.
The deadline for incumbents to file for re-election is 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, February 16, at the clerk’s office in the Antelope County Courthouse in Neligh.
Two more EPS instructors will seek to have their applications accepted for early retirement.
Since the January meeting which saw instructors Brenda Siems, Jeane Johnson and Barb Bode apply for and be approved for early retirement, two more have applied. They are sixth grade instructor Shirley Thorberg and first grade instructor Dianne Gunderson.
Both Thorberg and Gunderson submitted their applications prior to the deadline for consideration.
In December, the school board approved offering early retirement packages for up to five instructors who met the criteria established one year ago
Also on the ‘action’ agenda are:
• Approval of a new contract for K-12 Principal Greg Wemhoff who is currently in his third year at EPS.
• Amend current school policy regarding graduation requirements for seniors.
• Approve for the 2016/17 school year, a teaching contract for mathematics instructor Becky Lindgren.
• Approve the purchase of an electronic display for alumni/historical pictures and current operation display pictures/events, etc.
Also during the meeting there will be appointment and reports of standing committees/review board goals; the monthly report fromt he Principal/AD; and a report from Superintendent Dan Polk.
The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. in the distance learning room at the high school and is open to the public.