New order, high drama: Meet director Ron Higdon thought out of the box when he decided to re-order the matches in the finals so the 182 bouts — which included Will Schany of Blair and JaVaughn Perkins of Omaha North going for fourth titles. He got the desired effect and then some, given North needed Perkins’ victory to add the state wrestling title to the football crown the Vikings won last fall.
Overthrowing the throne: It was a tougher year than usual for returning champions. Eight lost during the tournament, including two-time winner Benny Oliver of Pender. Zemua Baptista of Friend, a sophomore, beat him 5-1 at Class D 145. Tops on the stunner scale, though, was Marc Tompsett of Millard South pinning Chase Reis of Grand Island in 56 seconds at Class A 220.
That’s not all, folks: It’s back to Kearney for next Saturday’s second annual state dual team championship at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. If you forgot, Omaha Burke in Class A, Omaha Skutt in B, Madison in C and Amherst in D were the 2013 champions. All but Madison will be back.
Attendance: Saturday’s turnout of 10,334 was the fourth straight year of 10,000-plus for the finals. This year’s three-day total was 41,434, about a 2 percent increase over last year’s 40,649.