Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Dave Faries

Three Banner County Wrestlers Earn Trip To State

Kimball's Carruthers Finishes 3-2 At Districts


Who says there is strength in numbers?

Banner County will send three of its five man wrestling squad to Class D state competition in Omaha this weekend after the trio qualified during the district meet at Sutherland.

“We did a pretty good job,” said Wildcats head coach Bill Gifford in a bit of an understatement. “We were just a few breaks from taking everyone.”

David Gifford finished third at Sutherland in the 220 weight class, winning three and losing only to Levi Peterson of SMC. Gared Krakow split his matches at 182, which was good enough for second in a narrow bracket. Surprising T.J. Grubbs took the final qualifying spot at 195.

“We thought going in that we could get David to state and there was an outside chance that Gared would go,” Gifford observed.

The 220 pounder lost only five matches all season, entering districts at 37-5, and was ranked in the top five for much of the year. Krakow, a promising transfer, began wrestling for team points in January. Grubbs, meanwhile, suffered through some early season woes before finding his form just before districts.

“T.J. stuck it out and paid his dues,” the coach continued. “This the the reward for all that hard work.”

Young Garrett Grubbs went 1-2 in a crowded 126 class at districts. Noah Huber lost by tech fall in his first encounter then held on through six more grueling minutes in his second, only to lose by decision.

The state tournament begins on Thursday, running through Saturday. Gifford admits that he is unfamiliar with many of the wrestlers from the eastern schools, but that David Gifford’s draw gives him a fair shot at the championship round.

“They earned themselves three more days of practice,” the coach said. “This keeps us together for another week.”

Kimball’s Tristan Carruthers approached within one match of a berth in the state tournament, losing out to eventual fourth place finisher Anthony Warta of Loomis-Bertrand.

Warta entered districts with a 28-12 record.

Dave Faries

David Gifford

Carruthers captured three of his first four matches, all by pin. He downed Chase County’s Khristofer Kuhlmann, Ainsworth’s Clint Ruegge--the latter in a mere 48 seconds--and Taylor Hood from Gordon-Rushville.

Carruthers wraps up the season with at 17-23.

While Kimball’s 152 pounder came the closest to a trip east, every Longhorns wrestler came away with at least one win.

At 106, Rowdy Keller earned a major decision over J.W. Schroder from Sargent-Burwell, ending up at 1-2 for the event.

Also at 1-2, Garrett Ryan--wrestling in the 113 class--bested Ord’s Paiton Lech in a tough 6-5 decision. His losses were equally grueling matches.

Meanwhile Justin Mohr rebounded from an opening defeat at the hands of Wyatt Killion from Ainsworth to pin Ord’s Dalton Coufal midway through the match.

Mohr also wrapped up districts with a 1-2 record.


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