One of the top tests in the country awaits a group of Nebraska wrestlers beginning Sunday in North Dakota.
The weeklong Cadet Nationals in Fargo is an annual stop on the summer circuit for the nation’s best.
“It’s as tough a tournament as you can get,” said Team Nebraska coach Curtis Gocke of Plattsmouth.
Among Gocke’s 25 wrestlers, five are former Fargo All-Americans. Three-time state champion Colton Adams of Scottsbluff, who is nationally ranked, is included in that group and still plans to be in Fargo despite a broken right hand.
Adams’ dad said he broke the hand in his final match at a recent tournament in Oklahoma City. Adams has offers from several Division I programs, but is getting the most interest from Wyoming and Missouri.
He did not travel with the team, which left Friday, but expects to be in Fargo for his opener Thursday.
Dante Rodriguez of Grand Island, Doyle Trout of Centennial and Gabrielle Weyrich of Fremont are all returning All-Americans with remaining high school eligibility.
Lincoln Southwest graduate Kenny Martin is the other Fargo All-American. Martin, who will wrestle at Clackamas Junior College in Oregon next year, was a freestyle runner-up a year ago.
“I’m actually looking to get a championship,” Martin said. “I’ve been here a couple times and I’ve gotten second. I want a championship.”
Rodriguez will compete in the tournament for the third time. He finished second in Greco-Roman his first year, and took third last summer. He entered both the Greco-Roman and freestyle tournaments.
The senior-to-be said he’s talked to his Team Nebraska teammates through their week of training camp at Concordia University in Seward, Neb.
“I kind of tell them that it will be a big challenge,” Rodriguez said. “It’s going to be a bigger environment, a different experience, than some of these kids have been in. And it just gets tougher and tougher every year.”
Weyrich finished seventh in the girls tournament last year. Bennington senior Brett Velasquez, a three-time state champion, is also on the team.
“We think we’ve got the best kids in the state going to the tournament,” Gocke said. “This is kind of the end-all, be-all when it comes to high school tournaments.”