On Feb. 10 2018, Scotus wrestling had four enter the heartbreak round of the B1 district tournament.
First up was Daniel Tworek at 106 pounds. He took a 3-0 lead but ended up losing 5-3.
At 138, Jackson Neville was up 8-6 with 20 seconds left before a takedown with one second left saw Neville on the losing end of a 9-8 decision.
A similar fate spelled the end for the Charles Case at 152. Evan Hand also made the consolation semifinal at 170, but lost 6-0
In short, 2018 was full of heartbreak in the heartbreak round, for the Shamrocks.
That sour taste remained unquenched until Saturday in Grand Island when SCC went 6-2 in the heartbreak round, qualifying half of the squad to the state tournament in Omaha this week.
The six Shamrocks going to state are seniors Daniel Tworek (106), Jackson Neville (138), Evan Sliva (160), juniors Nick Taylor (132) and Evan Hand (170) and freshman Landyn Maschmeier (113).
"This year we learned from last year," Sliva said. "We had a lot of kids that lost in the heartbreaks last year, and that fulled it for this year. We didn't want to look like that again. We brought a lot more heart this time. Every kid that went to state won in the heartbreaks."
With only two wrestlers qualifying for state last year, having half a dozen make the trip to Omaha came as a surprise to some of the wrestlers on the roster.
"It was a huge surprise for me," Tworek said. "I thought we were going to get one or two, maybe three at the most, but six is a lot more than I expected. I was in shock (when I won my heartbreak round), because my kid had already beat me before. I was so in shock that I pinned my kid. My heart just dropped and I was like, 'Thank God that I did it.'"
Tworek said that he could tell there was a change in mentality coming into this year that led to more success.
"Last year we only got two, so coming into this year was really hard," he said. "We had to practice really hard. It's all the heart because we had a lot of new people coming in. It's all about heart, giving it your all."
The first round matchups are already set, and much like most of the year, the Shamrocks have another uphill climb.
Tworek wrestles Skutt's Zach Ourada in the first round. Ourada is the expected fourth place finisher according to NEWrestle.com.
Landyn Maschmeier could potentially face Paul Garcia of Scottsbluff in the second round with a victory. Garcia is the projected state champion.
Maschmeier faces Mitch Albrecht of Raymond Central in the first round, a sophomore with a 41-6 record.
Nick Taylor will see Jerry Hernandez of Scottsbluff in the first round, a projected fifth-place finisher.
Jackson Neville will see Trey Arellano in the first round who is the projected state champion.
If Sliva wins in the first round, he'll face the winner of Wahoo's Cooper Hancock and Sidney's Brady Robb who are projected to finish fourth and fifth.
Ralston senior Gabriel James is his first round opponent.
If Hand is victorious in the first round, he'll face the winner of Ace York from Fairbury and Brogan Fehlhafer of Seward who are projected to get third and fifth.
Cozad's junior Conner Wescoat with see Hand in the first round.
Despite the challenging opponents early on, the Shamrocks don't seem like they'll shy away from the challenge.
"(We want to) win, get better, pin the kid and end up in the podium. That's our big goal every tournament," said Sliva.
With the succsess the seniors have had on this team, they hope it starts a trend for Scotus wrestling.
"I hope we leave our mark on the program," Neville said. "I think that next year they'll do pretty good. I think we helped contribute to that."
While none of the Shamrocks are expected to medal, according to NEWrestle.com, the Shamrocks seem to be peaking at the right time.
Tworek is 15-2 since Jan. 24 when he defeated state qualifier Gavin Dozler of Boone Central/Newman Grove.
Maschmeier is 11-3 since the Bishop Neumann Invite on Jan. 26.
Taylor is 17-4 since the Centennial Conference tournament on Jan. 19.
Neville is 11-6 since the BC/NG and Lakeview triangular.
Sliva is 16-5 since the Centennial Conference Tournament.
Hand is 14-3 since the Bishop Neumann Invite.
The first session for Scotus will be at 4 p.m. on Thursday at the CHI Health Center in the Omaha.
Friday sessions for Class B are at 12:30 p.m. for consolation and 5 p.m. for semifinals and third round consolations.
At 8:30 a.m. Saturday, consolation semifinals will start and third and fifth place matches will follow. Championship finals start at 2 p.m.
Peter Huguenin is a sports reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com