Kearney High Bearcats Wrestling

Complete Team Effort Helps Bearcats Capture 2nd Straight Flatwater Fracas Championship

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In what Kearney coach Ty Swarm considered to be the toughest Flatwater Fracas ever assembled, the Bearcats came out on top.
Kearney defeated four teams that were ranked in the top five in the dual rankings in their classes to come away with its second-consecutive Fracas title Saturday at the Heartland Events Center.

After going 4-0 during Friday’s pool-play action, the No. 4-rated Bearcats opened Saturday with a 54-15 victory over Class B No. 1 Northwest, then grabbed a 40-33 win over Class A No. 5 Lincoln East and dominated top-ranked Millard South 45-25 in the semifinals before defeating No. 3 Grand Island 35-27 in the championship dual.

Phillip Moomey (No. 1 at 132), Nick James (No. 1 at 145) and Carter Abels (160-170) all went 3-0 for Kearney in the two-day tournament.

“From top to bottom, this was a well-stacked tournament, probably the most it has ever been,” Swarm said. “I just think every one of the teams we faced today were challenging. Our kids just battled in every dual and it seemed we had a lot of people step up for us.”

Grand Island coach Joey Morrison, whose Islander squad went 7-1 during the two-day tournament, gave credit to Kearney for its accomplishment of winning the Fracas for the second straight Fracas title.

“Hats off to them. They are a well-rounded team, and that’s why they were in the Fracas finals,” Morrison said. “We just came up short in quite a few matches against them.”
After Kearney got the dual started with a Dario Rodiguez pin at 220 pounds, the Islanders came right back.

At 285, No. 4 Ethan McPhillips got Grand Island going after earning a 9-0 major decision over Peter Kreutzer. Then at 106, No. 3 Juan Pedro earned a 6-4 victory over Archer Heelen, then at 113, Blake Cushing gave the Islanders a 13-6 lead after pinning No. 5 Hunter Nagatani in 3:42.
Then Kearney got back-to-back wins from Rylie Steele (No. 3 at 120) and Gage Ferguson (126). Steele posted a 14-5 major decision over No. 5 Kael Kingery then a Ferguson earned a 7-0 decision over Brody Arrants to help the Bearcats even the dual at 13-all.
Swarm said he felt those two matches got the Bearcats going.

“It seemed in every dual, we got big wins somewhere that sparked our team and those two wins were big ones against Grand Island,” Swarm said.

After Phillip Moomey (No. 1 at 132) earned a forfeit victory, the Bearcats won the next four matches to take a commanding 35-13 lead.

Grand Island ended the dual with both Alexzaiah Deras (No. 6 at 170) and Oscar Richter (182) posting back-to-back major decisions before Daylon Keolavone (195) ended the dual with a forfeit victory.

Swarm said he was happy with what the Bearcats accomplished, especially after what they had been through during the first three weeks of the season.

Kearney had a wrestler tear his ACL, had another one quit and were missing their top two heavyweights before having one of them return for the Fracas.

“We faced a lot of adversity this season so I considered this to be the best team effort I can ever remember during my seven years at Kearney High,” Swarm said.

By Marc Zavala
marc.zavala@theindependent.com