Jordan Cluff, Toby McManigal In An Omaha State Of Mind

 

February 14, 2019

Brothers in arms Toby McManigal, left, and Jordan Cluff are the pride of Longhorn Nation as they prepare for the State wrestling tournament in Omaha.

Kimball will have two wrestlers involved in this year's Nebraska State Wrestling Tournament being held this weekend at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha that starts today (Thursday).

Jordan Cluff, a senior, who was also a state qualifier last year as a junior and won two matches at the big show a year ago, will be joined this year by senior teammate Toby McManigal who is making his first state appearance.

Cluff wrestles at 113 pounds and will tke a record of 25-9 to Omaha, while McManigal at 220 is now 16-13 on the season. At the C-4 District Tournament held this past week in Broken Bow, Cluff ended up 3rd to gain his qualifying spot. In the quarterfinals he won 10-6 over Gaffney of Broken Bow, but got caught in a miscue early in the semifinals to lose by fall to Hilmer of Loomis-Bertrand for a loss. He came back in the consolation semifinals to win 11-7 over Smith of Minden, and then in his match for 3rd place he pinned Bruns of Hershey in 3:39.

McManigal had to battle 6 times on the mat to earn his qualifying spot. He won his first match by fall in 1:22 over Sucha of Kearney Catholic, but in the quarterfinals lost by fall to Coley of Mitchell by fall in 5:49. With a tough road ahead, Toby won 1-0 over Anderson of Valentine, won by fall in 2:25 over Flessnor of Ord, and won by fall in 2:29 over Snyder of Gordon-Rushville.

With a spot at state guaranteed, he lost 3-0 to Coley of Mitchell, once again, to finish 4th. Sophomore Connor Cluff at 120 lost by fall to Boyce of Ord, won 11-3 over Brown of Southern Valley, and lost by fall to Cooper of Bridgeport.

Sophomore Izaak Rohde at 182 lost by fall to Brooks of Broken Bow, won by fall in 1:50 over Chambers of Mitchell, and lost 16-1 to Vincent of Gordon-Rushville. Stephen Bateman at 285 lost by fall to Hoevet of Ord, won by fall in 3:50 over Ramos of Bridgeport, and lost by fall to Weiss of Mitchell.

Coach Wade Brashear was pleased with the effort of his small team of five as everyone registered at least one win. He praised his boys in his comments.

"The C-4 District turned out to be an emotional barn burner once again," he said. "Every one of our wrestlers competed with heart, and all won at least one match. Jordan Cluff at 113 went in as the number two seed but did not wrestle his best match in the semi final. However, he came back strong wrestling well in the heartbreak round and consolation finals, to end up third overall and punch his second trip to the state tournament."


Brashear went on to say "Steve's (Bateman) performance at heavyweight was up and down. He lost in the heartbreak round, but had a chance to be a qualifier. I know Steve will continue to work to improve and get stronger and will be one of the top contenders at his weight next year. He has a great work ethic."

As to his two sophomores, Brashear had this to say: "Izaak and Connor both won a match at district, but were eliminated early in their tough weight classes. They both need to work on getting stronger and more technical in the off season."

As coach Brashear began to talk about his 220 pound state qualifier, Toby McManigal, he got more emotional.

"Toby qualified for state in dramatic fashion, pinning his opponent from Gordon-Rushville in the second period," he said. "Toby has battled through many athletic setbacks in his high school career, including an 8 hour brain surgery two years ago, where he was told he would never compete in contact sports again. It was a special moment when Toby won his heartbreak match to go to State."

At this time, Toby's story becomes more of a Human Interest story than just a story of an athletic event.

Many of you reader will remember and think back to then the word came out that Toby was diagnosed with a very serious health situation that would require the brain surgery that coach Brashear referred to. This occurred back in January of his sophomore year. Thanks to his medical providers and the many prayers of his family and many friends of the community, things turned out way better than even the medical experts predicted.

After being told he would probably never be able to play sports again, Toby spent time on the sidelines and in the lockerrooms, helping in any way he could although he could not compete himself. He wanted to be a part of what was happening, and to help in any way he could. Then he got the OK to compete again and he started a bit in his junior year, and really came on strong this year as a senior, playing both football and wrestling, both at a very high level, and now it is off to state as a state qualifier.

At the face-off, prior to the beginning of each match for those wrestling in the spots in the top matches for state qualifiers, a bio is read by the announcer, and when Toby's bio was recited, he received a huge ovation. He has many statewide fans, along with all of his many Kimball community fans.

His mother and father are of course his biggest fans, and Mom says, "This has all been very emotional. We are so happy for Toby, and so proud of him."

By the way, Toby is not all about athletics. I remember talking with him recently when he had to miss a tournament because he was taking an ACT test to try and up his scholarship offer, and he did it. He improved his score and this improved a scholarship for college from $6,000 to $10,000.

Toby is all about getting better and improving in anything he does. Have fun at state and enjoy the experience!

Wrestling for Class C begins this afternoon (Thursday) at 4 p.m. Omaha time. Toby has a tough first round match, facing number one seed Jon Merten of Boone Central-Newman Grove, a senior with a 38-3 record. Jordan will face freshman Boston Reeves of Battle Creek, who has a 22-17 record.

 

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