Published Saturday, February 8, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:02 am
Adams sets career win record; Scottsbluff wrestlers place fourth in GNAC Tourney

NORTH PLATTE – Scottsbluff senior Colton Adams needed only about a minute Saturday to win a conference championship – and become Nebraska’s all-class leader in career wins.

Adams, a University of Nebraska wrestling recruit who is seeking a fourth straight high school state championship this year, won both of his matches in impressive fashion to win the 145-pound championship in the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament.

Those two victories lifted Adams’ career victory total to 181, surpassing the previous record of 180, set by Hastings St. Cecilia’s Austin Wilson in 2011.

“I think it’s a good accomplishment,” Adams said. “It took a lot to get to where I’m at right now, winning all of those.”

Adams, who also holds the all-class record for most wins in a season, which he recorded last year with 56 victory, said he never set a goal to win more matches than anyone else in the history of Nebraska prep wrestling. But now that he’s achieved the remarkable feat of 181 wins – and counting – he’s excited to see his name in the record book.

“It’s pretty cool,” he said.

As is usually the case for Adams, he was dominant again in both of his matches Saturday. In fact, his total time on the mat in the tournament was just over a minute. After receiving a bye in the quarterfinal round, he pinned Columbus’ Tristan Marking in just 25 seconds in the semifinals. Adams was just as stellar in the finals, pinning Kearney’s Derek Berumen in just 37 seconds.

“He was pretty dominant against the two kids that he wrestled,” Scottsbluff coach James Miller said.

Adams, who is now 42-2 on the season, was one of four conference champions for the Bearcats, who placed fourth in the team standings with 131.5 points. Scottsbluff was just five points behind third-place Lexington. Kearney easily won the title with 215 points, and Norfolk took the runner-up spot with 151 points.

Although Scottsbluff had several wrestlers perform well, Miller said the Bearcats were hoping to fare better overall as a team.

“We weren’t exactly satisfied with the way everything went this weekend,” Miller said. “We thought we would place higher than fourth, and we thought we would have more guys in for first, second, third, or fourth.”

He added, “I think there’s some mistakes that we made within some matches that we need to correct and some positioning things that we need to continue to work on, and we need to work on our feet some more so we can win the first period and kind of set the tone of the match. I think if we would have been able to do that this weekend we probably could have changed some results.”

The day did turn out quite well for four Scottsbluff wrestlers who captured first place. In addition to Adams, the other Bearcats who finished on top were Keegan Hessler at 126, Sabian Harsh at 160, and Andrew Aratani at 285.

Keegan opened his day with a pin over Columbus’ Dylan Rhoads in 1:19. Hessler then defeated Lexington’s Henry Gonzalez 5-2 in the semis. In the final, Hessler earned a 9-6 decision over Kearney’s Damon Rodriguez.

“Keegan had a lot better weekend this weekend than he’s had the last two weekends,” Miller said. “He’s still not quite where we want him to be, but he is progressing, getting more aggressive on his feet, opening up a little bit more – wrestling like we know he’s capable of wrestling. We want to continue to encourage that and emphasize that and support that mentality and attitude that he has right now.”

Harsh, who received a bye in the quarterfinal round, was impressive in his two matches. After picking up a 16-0 technical fall win over Norfolk’s Connor Neal in the semis, Harsh earned a 4-0 decision over Columbus’ Colton Wolfe in the final.

“Sabian went out and pretty much dominated his kid [in the final],” Miller said. “He really shut the kid down.”

Scottsbluff’s other champion was Aratani, who pinned his first two opponents – Columbus’ Cy Marshall in 1:11 and North Platte’s Alek Morales in 2:45 – before notching a thrilling 1-0 decision over Kearney’s Gabriel Ledesma in the final.

“Andrew is continuing to open up on his feet a little bit more,” Miller said. “We would like to see him be even more aggressive, but he’s headed in the right direction also.”

Adding to Scottsbluff’s point total were Robert Price at 113 and Cameron Presher at 182, who both claimed fourth place.

The Bearcats’ fifth-place finishers were George Hernandez at 106 and Ben Rodriguez at 132

Placing sixth were Salem Harsh at 120 and Kobe Paez at 152.

The GNAC Tournament was Scottsbluff’s final competition before the Class B, District 4 Tournament next Friday and Saturday at Cozad.

“We’ve got some guys that are headed in the right direction still, and we’ve got some younger guys that are still coming around, so we’re hoping that with this week of practice we can still improve on the things that we’re doing well and fix the little things that we need to fix and hopefully that will make a difference next weekend,” Miller said.

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