Going Out in Style:
Wrestling season is wrapping up, and out of the six district qualifiers, three of them made it to state. Jaxon Minnick (132 lbs), Asa Johnson (145 lbs) and Philip Halstead (160 lbs) all qualified to wrestle at the state tournament. This would turn out to be a fairly special tournament for these boys because they were all seniors. State wrestling was a perfect way to go out in style.
District wrestling was a smooth sailing ride, with Halstead placing second, Johnson placing third, and Minnick placing fourth. Johnson remarks during the sendoff, “I think it’s been a dream for all of us to go experience [the state tournament] together.” Head Coach Nicolas Myers said during the sendoff, “I would like to thank everyone for coming out this evening to send our state qualifiers and seniors out in style, and for your continuous support throughout the season.”
The state tournament would be the last official tournament for these seniors, and a lot of emotion was displayed during the sendoff. Going into state Minnick would have a record of 30-12 with 99 wins, Johnson would have a record of 32-9 and Halstead would go into the tournament with a record of 45-4. This was an exciting few days for the wrestlers, with several records being broken. Myers commented during the sendoff in regards to Johnson, “I was counting today, [Johnson’s] name is up on that wall eleven times with his other brothers so, hes filled the shoes nicely.”
Kicking off the tournament Minnick lost to Jaqua Reece of Wayne by a major decision of 3-14. This loss would send Minnick to the left side of the bracket with only 99 wins. Johnson was up next, and he would be facing Baylor Poston of Nebraska City. Johnson ended up defeating him with a decision of 11-4. Halstead finished off the first round of the state tournament with a win against Elliot Steinhoff of Platteview, pinning him in three minutes and fifty-two seconds. Halstead Remarked, “I felt pretty good [about pinning him] because I upset the Number 3 kid in the state and last year’s runner-up in the state finals.”
Furthering into the tournament, Minnick who was now in the 1st round consolation, defeated Blake Bolling of Pierce by pinning him in four minutes and twenty-three seconds, racking in his 100th win. Johnson in the 2nd round of the tournament, moved into the left side of a bracket with a loss by minor decision to Charlie Powers of Blair. Halstead joined Johnson in the left side of the bracket with a loss by decision to Michael Krontorad of Pierce.
In the 2nd round of consolation finals, Minnick wrestled in his final high school match with a loss to AJ Parrish of Bennington. In the 2nd round consolation, Asa Johnson wrestled AJ Stone of Gering and beat him by major decision, 17-4, bringing him into the second day of the tournament. Halstead went into the 2nd round consolation, racking in a win from Jarrot Koch from Beatrice by minor decision, 7-2. Halstead’s win would be the one that would break the single-season record. He said, “I knew going into state that I was going to be short of the 100 wins so I sent it for the single-season record. To have 47 wins in a season was a pretty good feeling, something that I will always remember doing.” This win would also put Halstead into the second day of the tournament.
The second day of the tournament was a very lively day for everyone. The environment in the CHI center in Omaha was indescribable. 3rd round consolation finals is another story. The heartbreak round of the tournament would live up to its name for the Alliance Wrestlers. Johnson would face Connor Wells of Broken Bow. This would prove to be a long match with several cautions and a locked hands penalty against Johnson. Which would inevitably lose him the match with Wells defeating Johnson by a minor decision of 3-4. Halstead would face Alex Banuelos of Minden for the 3rd round consolation. Banuelos would end up defeating Halstead with a score of 5-3. Halstead remarked, “I’m really proud of how I did this year. I felt good about [my matches], I just had tough kids all around. I wrestled my best and never held anything back.” All of the boys were out of the tournament before they could place, but they wrestled very well and continued fighting in the shade.
The boys did an excellent job at state, and though it was their last tournament, they made it a memorable one. It was a pleasure to have you all wrestle for Alliance High School; the SPUD congratulates you on going out in style.