Keeping his eyes on the prize

Courtesy Photo
Holding up their 100th career win signs, the David City wrestling crowd cheers on senior Morgen Valentine after he won the match. Morgen claimed his own Conference title as well as helping the team win the SNC tournament.

Becca Meusch

Along with taking home the Conference title as an individual and a team, senior Morgen Valentine procured his 100th career win on Feb. 5 at the Southern Nebraska Conference Tournament in Superior.

Although some wrestlers may agree that 100 wins is a big fulfillment, Valentine said while it is a great achievement, it had never been his main goal.

“It [100 wins] shows a kid that was committed to the sport for four years and came in as a freshman and was able to compete with wrestlers who are three or four years older than them right off the bat,” Head Coach Tahner Thiem said. “It definitely shows the quality of wrestlers that we have had in the room because we have had two guys already going for their 100th win this year.”   

Transferring to David City High School his junior year, Valentine didn’t have the opportunity to wrestle until State Duals due to injuries and illnesses. Previously a two-time State qualifier, Valentine said when he first started wrestling, he rarely won a match in a three-year timespan in little kids Club Wrestling. Through hard work and help from his father who was his wrestling coach, he was able to improve his record.  

“I am pleased in the growth that he has made since he has been here,” Morgen’s father, Ernie Valentine said. “I think when he was younger, he didn’t have a lot of success like he is having now, but he had a drive to succeed and a willingness to work. It has paid off well for him.”

Morgen’s parents have always helped support him throughout the years by attending numerous camps, meets, tournaments, and duals. He has also had the opportunity to wrestle with many national and state teams in the off season, Morgen’s mom, Laurel Valentine said. She also said that 100 wins means more to her than any of Morgen’s medals because it show his hard work and determination.

“Morgen doesn’t just wrestle during the season. He is a hard-working and coachable kid, and he isn’t not going to settle in where he is at. He is going to continue to get better,” Thiem said. “Morgen is pretty highly rated in the state and is a physical and tough wrestler.”

Another one of Morgen’s goals is to bring home not only a team State title, but also one of his own. “That [winning State] has been on my mind all year and this year it has been huge since I couldn’t last year,” Morgen said. “I have been working for it all year.”

Morgen said he thanks his parents, teammates, and especially his coaches for helping him improve through the years. He said he hopes all the hard work will pay off within the next weeks at State.

“He has had his fair share of injuries along the way, and he has always just looked at it as a bump in the road and not something that was a road block. He has always just worked through it,” Thiem said. “I think he has as good of a shot as anybody at a State title. Morgen is a guy who doesn’t say a lot, but definitely leads by example.”