KEARNEY, Neb. — It came as little surprise to anyone involved that the Class C state duals championship match raged on long after titles in the other three classes had been decided.
In the end, top-seeded David City emerged with a 33-21 victory over second-seeded Valentine on Saturday to capture its third consecutive dual championship. The head-knocking Class C final lasted two hours, four minutes and included stoppages for blood in multiple matches.
“That’s us and that’s Valentine,” David City coach Tahner Thiem said. “Valentine is a very physical, hard-nosed wrestling team and so are we. Both are tough, tough wrestling teams, and there is so much respect between these two programs — the coaches, the fan base and everyone else — and that’s because both squads are very good.”
David City and Valentine were already familiar foes. The two duplicated their 1-2 finish from the individual state tournament, where the Scouts prevailed 159-97 in the team standings.
After Valentine’s Hudson Pearman recorded a pin at 145 pounds to reduce the Badgers’ deficit to 27-21 with two matches remaining, David City’s Dustin Papa locked up the championship. The Scouts’ senior posted a 3-1 win by decision against Jake O’Kief, giving his team the title and a 10-0 dual record for the season.
Papa said winning both state championships was a major goal for the Scouts. Last season, David City came up short in Omaha before getting some redemption by winning the duals championship in Kearney.
“This is so nice,” Papa said. “Last year at the (individual) state tournament, it was really rough not winning. We didn’t have our best tournament there and were able to come back and win state duals.
“It feels so much better to take them both. We wanted to win the team title at our conference meet, districts, state and state duals and we did all four. That makes it a good year.”