Some years, like this one, the finals resemble coronations. Only one returning champion lost in the finals, 113-pounder Aaron Fletcher of Omaha Burke, and that dropped his season record against Millard South freshman Isaac DeLoa to 2-2. The winner with the most losses, freshman Bailey Vanderpool of Omaha Skutt (29-13), took out an unbeaten in Seward senior Tanner Oborny.
NEW LOOK, SOUND
Didn’t like the new music for the Parade of Champions (don’t mess with “We Are the Champions”) and it was annoying when the announcers read the finalists’ biography sheets verbatim during matches. Everything else new for the finals was spot on, especially the dimmed arena for the spotlights that brought each wrestler onto his mat. A great touch.
WAIT, THERE’S MORE
With the advent of the state dual team championship, wrestling season doesn’t end until next Saturday’s tournament at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. What will be the fans’ reception — and more importantly, how will the wrestlers treat this new event?
Saturday’s turnout of 10,221 was the third straight year of 10,000-plus for the finals, but well off the record 13,976 for the first year at the arena in 2006. This year’s three-day total was 40,649.