OMAHA – Burwell teammates Tori Huffman, Lane Helgoth and Tyler Gideon are all practice partners that push each other every day.
That has paid off so far for the Longhorn teammates as the three moved on into the Class D semifinals of their weight classes Thursday at CenturyLink Center in Omaha.
Those efforts have No. 2 Burwell sitting in fifth with 34 points. Six-time defending champion and top-ranked Amherst leads the team standings with 57 points, 20.5 more than No. 4 Elkhorn Valley.
“They push each other every day in practice and that’s why they are at the level that they are at,” Longhorn coach Luke Gideon said. “They are practice partners and get after it. And best of all, they are all good friends and been good for each other.”
Lane Helgoth, No. 1 at 195, said there are some wars at times in practice but he’s OK with that.
“We beat up on each other quite a bit but that’s what makes us better every single day and that’s why we’re all in the semifinals,” Helgoth said.
Helgoth has the most experience as he made the Class C, 195-pound semifinals and finished fifth last year. The senior had no problems in his quarterfinal match as he stuck Ansley/Litchfield’s Grady Stunkel in 1:49.
Huffman, No. 3 at 182, and Gideon, No. 1 at 220, controlled their matches in earning their first trips into the semifinals. Huffman posted a 13-1 major decision over Franklin’s Trent Christiancy, while Gideon earned a 5-0 victory over Crawford’s Taylor Alcorn.
Coach Gideon said Helgoth has done a great job of being a leader to not only Huffman and Tyler Gideon, but to the whole team as well.
“Tori and Tyler both know that when they work with Lane that they have to work also,” coach Gideon said. “That’s the way he’s been all season and he’s been tough all year long. Tori and Tyler performed very well in the quarterfinals and I’m proud of what they did.”
Huffman (35-4) takes on No. 2 Gideon Monette of Mullen at 182, while Helgoth (32-1) battles No. 6 Alex Wamboldt of Bayard at 195 and Tyler Gideon (37-1) has No. 3 Houston Hornby of Palmyra at 220.
Thomas Hughes was the other Longhorn that made the quarterfinals but was pinned by Sutton’s Garrett Clark in 2:00 at 285.
Coach Gideon said he’s happy where the Longhorns are sitting in the top five in the Class D standings and feels there is a good chance to finish better.
“I figured we would be right up there if things went our way,” he said. “Getting three in the semifinals really helped us today and hopefully we can do better tomorrow.”
Palmer put two wrestlers into the semifinals with Connor Donscheski (No. 3 at 132) and Hunter Reimers (No. 6 at 152).
Donscheski pulled out a 3-2 victory over Ben Bogle of Elwood, while Reimers knocked off No. 3 Nathan Fleecs of Sutherland 7-4.
The Tigers did suffer an upset as well as No. 1, 145-pounder Chandler Donscheski lost a 9-1 major decision to No. 5 Dawson Trampe of Amherst.
Palmer coach Nathan Glause said he thought there was a chance for three but still pleased with two semifinalists.
“Connor and Hunter came up with some big wins for us in the quarterfinals,” Glause said. “After our first round matches, I thought three would get in but we only got two. Chandler just ran into an opponent that wrestled very well. Hopefully he can bounce back.”
Connor Donsechesk (49-5) takes on No. 2 Marcos Escalera at 132, while Reimers (36-9) battles top-ranked Drew Loberg of Randolph. Palmer is tied for 17th with 16 points.