OMAHA – Somehow, someway Fullerton’s Garrett Sonderup was going to find a way to get to the semifinals.
The 170-pound second-ranked senior trailed 4-3 with 10 seconds left against No. 3 Gideon Monette of Mullen.
Sonderup scored a takedown with five seconds left to get a 5-4 victory over Monette.
In the team standings, top-ranked and five-time defending champion Amherst leads the way with 98 points, well ahead of second-place Friend with 33.5.
Sonderup, who missed the early part of the wrestling season because of an injured ankle, said it was all heart in the final moments.
"I knew that with the match coming down to the wire, I had to be as aggressive as I could to get the win," Sonderup said. "I got the takedown that I wanted."
Fullerton coach Dan Matthews said he knew Sonderup would get the take down somehow.
"That’s Garrett," he said. "You don’t really have to coach Garrett in a time like this because he is always going to find a way. When it got to about 15 seconds left, he just picked it up and got the takedown he needed to win."
Sonderup (31-3) was actually in control early as he scored a takedown with seven seconds left of the first period before Monette escaped for a 2-1 Sonderup lead.
But Monette got two-nearfall points when he put Sonderup on his back for a short time. Sonderup escaped to tie the match at 3-all after two periods. Monette escaped right away to start the third period for the 4-3 lead before Sonderup got the takedown.
Sonderup lost in the 152-pound final last year and wants to get another shot at a title. But first, he must get by No. 5 Viktor Jonseth of West Holt in the semfinals.
Jonseth gave Sonderup one of his three losses on the year. Sonderup said he’s looking forward to the challenge.
"It feels great that I’m going back to the semifinals and it should be a great match with Viktor," Sonderup said. "I can’t wait."
Central Valley’s Trey Nekoliczak, top-ranked at 126, is also making a trip to the semifinals after defeating Sutherland’s Garrett Elfeldt 4-2 in the quarterfinals.
Nekoliczak (37-1) was in the Class D, 106 pounds finals as a sophomore but failed to qualify for state as a junior.
He said he’s embracing the moment because he’s a senior.
"I just got to take it all in because I have one shot left," Nekoliczak said. "This is where it matters."
Nekoliczak got up early for a 4-0 lead in the second period. Elfeldt scored on a reversal with 1 minute left in the match but he couldn’t get Nekoliczak turned.
Nekoliczak battles second-ranked William Bloom of Elm Creek in the semifinals.
Other Class D area semifinalists include:
>> Nebraska Christian’s Jaydon Elge (35-0) earned a spot in the 138-pound semifinals after pinning Ansley/Litchfield’s Bo Slingby in 3:50. The top-ranked Eagle takes on Thayer Central’s Tyler Hergott.
>> Palmer’s Hunter Reimers made the 145-pound semifinals by pinning Winside’s Zachary Morris in 5:49 in the quarterfinals. The No. 6-rated Reimers (38-12) wrestles No. 2 Colton Lammers of Pleasanton in the semifinals. His performance has the Tigers sitting in eighth with 19 points.