Bearcats Win Kearney High InvitePosted:
KEARNEY — On a night of landmark victories for Kearney High, the Bearcat wrestling team notched two of the most impressive.
Seniors Phillip Moomey and Nick James claimed their 150th victories on the wrestling mat, leading Kearney High to the team championship at the Kearney High Invitational.
The tournament was delayed three weeks by a snowstorm on the opening weekend when the tournament was originally on the schedule. Despite the delay, the field of seven teams brought together four of the best in the state and it went down to the wire.
The Bearcats came out on top with 145 points with Columbus second with 133.5. Grand Island, which led briefly in the final round, finished third with 127.5 points.
The tournament followed a round-robin format, so “placing points don’t come in until the end, so you don’t know how you’re doing until the end,” KHS coach Ty Swarm said.
Kearney finished with four champions and four runners-up, led by Moomey, who won at 132 pounds, and James, who won at 145.
“They’ve been pretty special to our program, obviously. They’re great leaders doing things right on and off the mat,” Swarm said.
It was Moomey’s fourth championship at the KHS Invitational and the third for James, who finished second as a freshman.
Both have been part of four straight team championships at the tournament.
Swarm said he felt it was “very fitting” for both of them to get their 150th career wins at the KHS tournament
“Those guys are Kearney wrestling. They’ve really put us on the map the last four years both at the state level and the national level,” he said.
The middleweights proved to be Kearney’s strength as Gage Ferguson won at 126 pounds and Colten Kowalek, who won the 152-pound division.
It was the second championship for Ferguson, who also won last year.
“He’s just a competitor. He just has a lot of fight in him. He never gives up and that goes a long way in wrestling,” Swarm said.
Kearney’s runners-up were Archer Heelan at 106, Hunter Nagatani at 113, Gauge McBride at 138 and Carter Abels at 160.
“I think we’re wrestling as well as ever as a team, competing for each other. It’s been fun to watch those guys grow and come together as a team this year,” Swarm said.
Top 3 Placers: Archer Heelan (106) 2nd, Hunter Nagatani (113) 2nd, Gage Ferguson (126) 1st, Phillip Moomey (132) 1st, Gauge McBride (138) 2nd, Nick James (145) 1st, Colten Kowalek (152) 1st, Carter Abels (160) 2nd, and Gus Franzen (170) 3rd.
By Buck Mahoney – Kearney Hub