A couple of underdogs are the two left standing in Class A at 113.

Kearney sophomore Brayden Smith landed a third-period pin of defending champ Blake Jackson of Millard South to punch his ticket before Omaha Bryan’s Ladamien Sturdivant reversed a conference final loss to top-ranked Emilio Haynes of Omaha Central in the other semifinal.

Smith, ranked sixth, trailed No. 3 Jackson 4-0 heading to the third period. He chose to go neutral, and wasted little time landing a headlock and Twister to put Jackson on his back.

Smith said he knew he needed to get to work early in the final frame.

“It was hard for me to get in on shots, hard to finish them,” Smith said. “But as soon as I got that front headlock, I knew what move to hit. Twister was there, so I hit it.”

Sturdivant’s win also came with a late score. The runner-up at 106 last year got a takedown with 28 seconds left for a lead that he’d hold on to in an 8-5 victory. Haynes won when the two met for the Metro Conference tournament gold.

“I knew I could take him down,” Sturdivant said. “I knew that I could ride him out.”

Sturdivant beat Smith 13-4 when the two met in last year’s state quarterfinals.

Getting first would be a first

A pair of Class A programs have chances to end lengthy title droughts at state Saturday.

Bryan’s Ladamien Sturdivant reached the 113-pound final with a win over top-ranked Emilio Haynes of Omaha Central on Friday night.

Fremont senior Cody Carlson won a 4-3 decision at 132 to advance the championship round.

A win by either would be the first for their respective schools.

Three-time potential

Plesanton junior Tyler Pawloski improved to 50-0 with an 8-3 win against Alexander Araujo of Bayard. Pawloski will go for his third championship against Thayer Central’s Keegan Casey.

Casey was a surprise winner Friday. Trailing 6-0 with about a minute left, he reversed Crawford’s Trevor Nelson then secured a pin.

It was a rough year for rookies in Class D. Just three freshmen advanced to semifinal matches; Tyler Nagel of Morrill (37-7) was the only winner. He pinned fellow freshman Eli Lanham of Plainview at 106 pounds.

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