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Area Wrestling: Three Jags win gold, Vance wrestles for title

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Jestin Bayer

Howells-Dodge junior Jestin Bayer cuts loose his opponent at his home invite after one of several takedowns. Bayer remained unbeaten and won another tournament last weekend, this time at Wisner-Pilger.

Three Howells-Dodge wrestlers won gold while Clarkson/Leigh's Cooper Vance wrestled for gold at respective tournaments this past weekend.

Jaguars Dylan Brichacek (120 pounds), Levi Belina (170) and Jestin Bayer (182) finished atop the medal stand at the Wisner-Pilger Invite and led Howells-Dodge to a runner-up team finish. Lane Belina (145) also wrestled in a title match but came up just short. The Jaguars collected four other medals and made it a perfect 8 for 8 on team members winning a medal.

At Amherst, Vance was tops among four Patriots that collected medals in a sixth-place team finish out of 20.

"Overall, not the deepest tournament but we were able to get out about as much from our matchups as we could with eight scoring wrestlers," Howells-Dodge coach Brian Jones said. "Yeah, it is disappointing to be one spot from the top again. I've told the boys, 'it takes a team,' several times now and we've been just one win or one guy short too many times now. I think we add Cole Grovijohn to our lineup again at 195 this week, but the competition gets tougher as we go down the stretch."

The Jaguars were also the runners-up at their home invite by eight points on a day in which Howells-Dodge was also 3-1 in finals matches.

In this one, Brichacek pinned all three of his opponents including Class A Jackson Tourek of Omaha Creighton Prep in the final. Belina did the same with two first-period pins then an 18-4 lead in the finals before a second-period pin in the finals. Bayer remained unbeaten and a perfect 25-0 with three first-period pins, also finishing with a win over an opponent from Prep.

Lane Belina pinned three foes but fell behind 8-1 to Michael Mass of Ralston before losing by pin midway through the second.

Isaac Koliha (106) lost in the semifinals by pin but the recovered with two wins by pin for bronze. Jacob Hegemann (160) had a bye into the semifinals where he was defeated 15-0 but bounced back by accepting a medical forfeit and scoring a pin with 12 seconds left in the second period for a bronze medal.

Gage Stutzman (126) went 2-2 and was fourth. Austin Hegemann followed the same path at 152 and was also fourth.

At Amherst, Bryce Jurgensen (120), Jaden Stoklasa (145) and Morgan Bunner (113) added to Vance's silver as Clarkson/Leigh medal winners. 

Vance had two pins before a disqualification to Jordy Baland of Doniphan-Trumbull and accepted silver. Jurgensen was third with a 15-12 win, 12-6 loss, pinfall and 9-8 victory. He built a 5-0 lead through three quarters then hung on during a wild third that produced five reversals.

Stoklasa was also a bronze medalist with a 4-1 record and four straight wins after a loss in the first round. He came back with three pins then a medical forfeit from his final foe.

Bunner won three matches between two losses to Sumner-Eddyville-Miller's Clark Padrnos. Padrnos beat him by pin in the quarters and the third place match but Bunner won three in a row in the middle of those losses by pin, 15-3 major decision and 11-6 decision.

"Cooper Vance making the finals was big for him and Jaden Stoklasa had a good day beating a previously unbeaten wrestler," coach Ty Reeves said. "We wrestled well as a team and are starting to come together. Really happy with how we performed over the two days."

Howells-Dodge wrestled at Stanton on Tuesday and travel to the Battle Creek Invite on Saturday. Clarkson/Leigh is at Cross County on Saturday.

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