Wrestlers come home from State with Runner-Up trophy

Junior Melvin Hernandez embraces Head Coach Tahner Thiem and Assistant Coach Matt Bates after winning his finals match. This year’s State championship was the second that Hernandez has won.

Allie Daro

The Scout wrestling team earned Runner-Up at the State tournament in Omaha on Sat., Feb. 18.

In preparation for the State tournament, the team has been practicing just like they would for any other meet. In fact, some wrestlers haven’t stopped practicing since last year. With the opportunities to wrestle at meets year round, workout in the summer, and attend camps and open mat nights, each individual on the wrestling team has been able to improve himself every day.

“I think we have gotten a little bit better every week, and really every day. One common thing that we say in David City’s wrestling room is to get 1% better every day,” Head Wrestling Coach Tahner Thiem stated. “The focus has been to get a little bit better in practice every single day and in competition every day. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but by the end of the year, you have a wrestler that actually ends up being twice as good as what they were.”

A few wrestlers have also decided to take part in fun traditions, such as bleaching their hair after Districts. Senior Ryan Worm, junior Melvin Hernandez, and sophomore Justin White all decided to lighten their hair after competing in the finals at Districts.

“It makes something stressful more fun,” Hernandez said. “Everyone gets a kick out of it, and it’s a tradition.”

Out of the eight qualifiers the team took to State, five medaled. The medalists even included a State champion at 138: Hernandez. Hernandez received his second gold medal after placing first last year also. Other medalists include junior Seth Styskal, runner-up at 113, sophomore Noah Styskal, fifth place at 120, White, third place at 126, and Worm, third place at 195. Senior Lee Betzen, 132, and junior Matt Eilers, 220, also qualified, but lost in the heartbreak round.

State wrestling began on Thurs., Feb. 16. The first session was only classes A and D. Classes B and C commenced later in the day at the start of session two.

In the first round, five qualifiers won their matches, sending them into the quarterfinals. Betzen, Alvarado, and Eilers lost in the first round. A first round loss put the wrestlers in the position to wrestle their way back to third place.

As the first round came to a close, matches flowed into quarterfinals. Seth Styskal, Hernandez, and Worm all secured a spot in the semi finals that took place the next day.

Session three marked the beginning of Friday, but only classes A and D were a part of that session. Scout wrestlers began the day with first round consolation matches in the fourth session.

Alvarado was the only Scout wrestler to lose his match, knocking him out of the tournament. Betzen and Eilers, however, won their matches, taking them to the heartbreak round, another name for the second round of consolation matches.

Noah Styskal, White, Betzen, and Eilers all competed in the heartbreak round. For Betzen and Eilers, it was the last round of the meet. Noah Styskal and White, however, both dominated their matches and made their ways into the consolation semi finals.

Shortly after the heartbreak round conceded, session five began. The fifth session included the semi finals and the consolation quarter finals for all classes. In the semi finals, Seth Styskal won in overtime and Hernandez also won.

Worm was also in the semi-finals, but lost to Bailey Thompson of O’Neill, the wrestler who received first place at 195 and was viewed by Worm as his biggest competition going into the weekend.

Noah Styskal and White both defeated their opponents in the consolation quarter finals, making their way to the consolation semi finals.

The consolation semi finals for all classes marked the beginning of the last session on Friday. White and Worm both dominated their opponents to wrestle for third place. Noah Styskal lost a one-point match to send him to wrestle for fifth place.

The consolation semi finals moved directly into matches for third and fifth place. White conquered his opponent to receive third place at 126, and Worm also took the third place title at 195. Noah Styskal dominated his match to secure fifth place at 120.

“After I lost, I knew I had to come back and get the best I could, so [getting third felt] pretty good,” Worm stated. “I ended up placing as high as I could after I lost.”

The Scouts sent two wrestlers to finals: Seth Styskal and Hernandez. Finals began with 145 pounders, so the meet would end with the 138 weight class.

The starting weight class is adjusted in the finals to ensure an exciting match to end with. This year, the 138 weight class included Christian Miller of Plainview becoming the twenty-ninth four-time State champion. The finals were also televised and included the Parade of Champions, the singing of the National Anthem by Broomfield student Kayla Hruby, and the typical show of fog and spotlights focusing on each finalist as they were announced.

For DCHS, Seth Styskal was pinned and claimed the runner-up medal at 113. Hernandez pinned his opponent to secure a second State champion title in the last match of the meet.

“[Winning state again] felt like all the work I put in the summers was worth it, and it felt like the first time wasn’t an accident, like I belonged there,” Hernandez said.

Once all medalists were announced and given their medals, Scout fans made their way toward the floor seating to capture a picture of the team with their Runner-Up trophy. The team secured second place with 107.5 points. Battle Creek was quite a ways behind with 90.5 team points. Valentine took first place with 195 points, also securing a record for the most team points scored in class C.

“I am extremely proud of our guys. Going into the season, I knew that we would be capable of kind of finishing there. We had a lot of guys that didn’t even make State last year that really stepped up,” Thiem said. “Valentine, as far as their team goes, literally is probably one of the best teams ever in class C. They rewrote the whole record book. They were a very good team this year.”

The Scout wrestling team will be finishing their season this Sat., Feb. 25 at State Duals at the University of Nebraska-Kearney. The duals will begin at 11:30 a.m., but class C will begin with David City vs Broken Bow at 1:00 p.m.

“We have the top-ranked team in round two, Valentine, but, I think if our team wrestles to their full potential, there’s no reason we can’t come back with another banner,” Hernandez stated.