Jake Wells of Anselmo-Merna reached the 160-pound final at Saturday’s Irish Invitational and was pleased to see someone new facing him in the final.
Joel Melton of St. Pat’s awaited Wells, not his friend and most frequent finals opponent, Garrett Dockweiler of South Loup.
“I’d never faced Melton,” Wells said after pinning the St. Pat’s wrestler to improve to 24-0 on the season. “It was nice to face someone other than Garrett in the final.
“Garrett and I are friends, but I’m tired of seeing him everywhere.”
Wells and Dockweiler have wrestled four times this season — each the final of a tournament. Wells is 4-0 against Dockweiler.
“He is so strong,” Wells said of his friend from South Loup. “I guess I just have better technique.”
The match with Melton developed slowly. Wells got a takedown midway through the first period, but Melton was able to escape. A late takedown gave Wells a 4-1 lead after the first period.
Melton chose down to start the second period and earned an escape.
Melton got double underhooks on Wells and tried to throw him, but Wells was able to get a leg behind the Irish wrestler and take him to his back and the eventual pin.
“I guess he was trying to throw me,” Wells said. “He had underhooks, but I was able to trip him some and instead of turning me, he went straight down to his back.”
“I don’t know how he got his leg behind mine to trip me,” Melton said. “I was trying to throw him, but I couldn’t twist and went straight down on my back.
Wells said it took a little while to get going against Melton.
“He’s a strong guy,” Wells said. “A couple of times I was in the right position and couldn’t do anything because he was so strong, he just wouldn’t go.”
As Wells works towards the postseason, he knows he has things to work on, despite his perfect record.
“I’m working on the things I do well to work off any edges and mistakes,” the senior said. “I’m working on improving every day.”
Wells doesn’t have a lot of people to work with him. The Coyotes have only five wrestlers and three are currently injured.
“I practice against our heavyweight or one of the other assistant coaches,” Wells said. “I don’t have a lot of choices.”
As for wrestling, Wells is kind of a loner.
“I hang around Ansley wrestlers some,” Wells said. “But, I tend to keep to myself.”
While being unbeaten is nice, Wells would give it up to win a state championship.
“I’d love to go unbeaten,” Wells admitted. “The big goal is the state championship. I can lose, just not at state.
“I’m trying not to lose at all, but if I have to, even to Garrett, I’d rather it be before the state tournament.”
Of the 11 teams in the tournament, five wrestled on Friday in the Medicine Valley Invite. Sedgwick County-Fleming out of Colorado won the tournament with 154 points. Kearney Catholic was second with 148, followed by St. Pat’s with 145, Dundy County-Stratton at 112, Sutherland with 64, North Platte JV with 63, Mullen with 54, Anselmo-Merna with 27, Hyannis with 22 and Creek Valley at 18.
Kearney Catholic’s Adam Keating at 132 pounds was named the tournament’s Outstanding Wrestler. Patrick Connely of Kearney Catholic earned the Pinner Award.
Sutherland teammates Collin Fleecs and Chandler Tyan captured titles at 120 and 126 pounds. Fleecs defeated Keith Graham of Sedgwick County-Fleming 7-0, while Tyan pinned Daniel Sandberg of Dundy County-Stratton in 1:19.
Pedro Martinez, one of six St. Pat’s wrestlers to reach the finals, won the 195-pound crown with a 14-6 decision over Trevor Jensen of Dundy County-Stratton.
In a strange twist, despite 11 teams wrestling, there were no 152-pound wrestlers in the tournament.
Here are the individual results by weight class:
Name, School, Wins-Losses- Grade
1st Alex Cantral, KC, 20-5-11 dec Trey Dodson, St. Pat’s, 27-4-10, 9-0
3rd Jacob Calvert, DCS, 17-12-11 pinned Alex Guerra, NPjv, 6-4-10, 0:57
5th Cody Weaver, SPjv, 7-2-9 dec Nik Willis, DCSjv, 5-20-9, 8-6
1st Damon Rodriguez, KC, 21-4-10 pinned Nathan Chrisman, St. Pat’s, 27-4-11, 3:02
3rd Dalton Zimmerman, Mul, 22-6-11 pinned Mac Graham, SC, 15-12-12, 1:31
5th Kam Jordan, SPjv, 5-9-9 pinned Zach Ash, Hy, 8-15-9, 2:05
1st Collin Fleecs, Suth, 19-8-11 dec Keith Graham, SC, 17-8-9, 7-0
3rd Kylan Rhodes, NPjv2, 15-9-9 pinned Ty Sutphen, Hy, 16-11-11, 2:59
5th Conner Matthews, NPjv, 18-12-9 dec Nathan Spellman, KC, 4-13-11, 9-7
1st Chandler Tyan, Suth, 23-1-12 pinned Daniel Sandberg, DCS, 15-16-9, 1:19
3rd Collin Casady, SC, 15-11-9 dec Jacob Perez, NPjv, 0-4-11, 8-3
5th Ben Palmer, KC, 2-14-9 unopposed
1st Adam Keating, KC, 27-2-11 dec Seth Harrington, SC, 17-0-11, 3-2
3rd Lane Carpenter, NPjv, 19-3-12 dec Mark Peterson, DCS, 6-15-9, 3-1
1st Tyrell Reichert, DCS, 26-3-11 pinned Joseph Feldner, KC, 18-11-9, 5:33
3rd Grayson Flanders, NPjv, 18-10-11 pinned Cole Allison, SC, 9-14-12, 4:46
5th Matthew Ferguson, St. Pat’s, 10-18-9 unopposed
1st Derrick Lawter, KC, 18-12-12 pinned Nick Duvall, SC, 17-8-10, 0:50
3rd Bailey McMillin, Mul, 2-11-11 pinned Marcus Silos, NPjv, 1-2-9, 3:21
1st Jake Wells, AM, 22-0-12 pinned Joel Melton, St. Pat’s, 26-7-12, 3:37
3rd Juan Fraire, SC, 10-3-10 pinned Garrett Cox, Mul, 17-10-11, 3:33
5th Marcus Fox, DCS, 0-0-10 unopposed
1st Thomas Connely, KC, 24-2-11 pinned Tyler Horalek, SC, 22-5-11, 1:29
3rd Gideon Monette, Mul, 19-9-9 dec Zachary Blake, Suth, 14-13-11, 8-6
5th Alex Mackley, St. Pat’s, 20-13-10 pinned Logan Evans, DCS, 13-12-12, 2:16
1st Mitch VanDuran, SC, 25-1-12 pinned Henry Aufdenkamp, St. Pat’s, 28-6-12, 1:25
3rd Landan Fear, Suth, 13-9-9 dec Wyatt Rowe, Hy, 4-13-0, 8-5
5th Ronnie Beall, DCS, 4-17-11 unopposed
1st Pedro Martinez, St. Pat’s, 25-6-12 dec Trevor Jensen, DCS, 13-4-11, 14-6
3rd Nathaniel Foster, Suth, 12-9-11 pinned Bryon Halsted, NPjv, 6-10-9, 1:47
1st Levi Davis, SC, 15-8-10 pinned Gunnar Hodges, CV, 4-7-12, 4:25
3rd Miguel Martinez, St. Pat’s, 19-10-10 dec Mason Low, CVjv, 2-3-11, 7-4
5th Tyler Dubry, NPjv, 10-8-10 pinned Joseph Daake, KC, 5-15-9, 3:49
1st Jonathan Johnson, DCS, 23-4-12 pinned Bryan Shurigar, St. Pat’s, 28-5-12, 3:59
3rd Bryson Dick, Suthjv, 4-14-10 dec Jacob Parker, SPjv, 2-2-12, 3-0
5th Nick Hahn, Suth, 13-14-11 pinned Clinten Fales, AM, 15-12-12, 4:39