The Fillmore Central wrestling program is officially on the state wrestling map.
After boasting the program’s first-ever State Champion a season ago, the Panthers scored 37 points at the 2013 NSAA State Championship Wrestling Tournament, which was good enough for 16th place in the final team standings. FC also landed a wrestler in a State Championship Final match for a second consecutive year.
Panther Zach Ekeler parlayed his recent District Championship into three more victories to make his run to the finals in Omaha. The FC senior outpointed Alan Lopez of Wakefield 10-0 and pinned Jonathan Johnson of Dundy County-Stratton to reach the 285-pound semi-final. There, Ekeler defeated Casey Johnson of Battle Creek 4-0 to advance to wrestle defending State Champion Clayton Lange of Ord in the State Final. Lange, who entered the finals with three straight pin victories in 36 seconds, 1:29 and 37 seconds, pinned Ekeler in the second period for a second consecutive state title.
“Zach capped off his brilliant career by earning runner-up honors,” Panther head coach Ryan Komenda said. “He won his first three matches and then ran into the returning state champ from Ord. Zach’s character and leadership will be missed greatly from our program. He finished the year 47-2, only losing to the Class C and Class D State champions.”
Nathan Bazata of Howells-Dodge took the Class D heavyweight title in Omaha.
After a razor-thin, 3-2 decision loss to Houston Huss of Stanton, FC’s Trevor Adams won four straight matches in Omaha to reach the Consolation Final. After two victories by pinfall and a 8-0 decision win over Nick Maschman of Wilber-Clatonia, Adams would avenge the loss to Huss with a 4-2 decision win and qualify for the third-place match. Trent Wagner of Madison defeated Adams 4-3 in the Consolation Final.
“Sophomore Trevor Adams had a tremendous run after a first-round loss by a narrow 3-2 margin,” Komenda said. “He won four matches in a row to reach the third-place match where he lost 4-3 to end up in fourth place. He showed tremendous heart by winning those four matches in a row. Trevor ended the year at 46-7 and is now 87-15 in his first two years.”
Cole Curtis was the third FC grappler to make it to State. The Panther 220-pounder was unable to capture a victory in Omaha. Curtis ended up 26-18 on the season.
“Cole had a great final year reaching the state tourney for the first time,” Komenda said.
Ekeler is off to play football this fall at Midland University. With his impressive second and third day runs in Omaha, can Adams be the FC wrestler to appear in a third straight State Final for the up-and-coming program?
“The Panthers closed out their season in fine fashion at the state wrestling tournament,” Komenda said. “Overall, we had a wonderful season and we will be looking forward to next year.”