First Ever State Finals Appearance For The BearcatsPosted:
Kearney High School finished as the class A state runner up at the NSAA dual championships. The Bearcats entered the tournament as the second seed. They defeated Norfolk in the opening round, Grand Island in the semifinals and fell to Millard South in the championship final.
In opening round action, KHS tallied 5 falls to defeat Norfolk 53-15. Freshman Nick James added a 20-4 technical fall over Blake McDonald as well. Kearney won 11 of the 14 matchups to kick start their day of competition.
The semifinals featured a classic battle between Grand Island and Kearney. The Islanders opened the dual at 160 pounds and adjusted some wrestlers up weight classes to took an early lead over Kearney 9-0. Leo Palamo (182lbs) and Andy Mason (195lbs) sparked the Bearcats back into the lead by picking up crucial pins over their opponents. This put Kearney in the lead 12-9. Grand island followed with two more victories at 220 pounds and Heavyweight regaining the lead 15-9. The Bearcats then finished by winning 5 of the last 8 matches to advance to the championship final 38-24. Phillip Moomey (113lbs) added bonus points with a pin over Emerson Urbina from Grand Island.
In the championship match up Kearney took on top ranked Millard South. The Patriots jumped out to an early lead by picking up a pin and major decision at 170 and 182 pounds. The Bearcats responded with a pin from senior Andy Mason at 195 pounds to narrow the score to 10-6. After suffering a fall at 220 pounds, Kearney rebounded with a 13-0 decision victory by sophomore Lee Herrington at Heavyweight. Millard South won a tight battle at 106 pounds as Blake Jackson defeated Salvidor Aguirre 1-0. Freshman Phillip Moomey narrowed the team score by picking up a pin at 113 pounds to bring the team score to 19-16. Millard South went on to win 5 of the next 7 matches to finish with the dual championship 40-22.
This is the first NSAA Championship Dual runner up finish for Kearney High School. The Bearcats finished 4th in 2013, 3rd in 2014, and 3rd in 2015.