SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. — A Nebraska high school’s positive moment at the state wrestling tournament, held over the weekend at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, soured after a vehicle and trailer containing the Morrill team’s new wrestling mat were stolen.
At the beginning of the school year, Morrill High School Principal Tom Peacock said, the Morrill district ordered a new wrestling mat for its team. Wrestling coach Willie Schwartzkopf said the team got a deal on the mat — the cost was reduced to $9,000 — if it was allowed to be used at the state wrestling tournament.
“Part of the deal was they would use it at the state wrestling tournament, which was pretty cool,” Peacock said. “Once delivered to Omaha, we would pick it up, and we didn’t even get to bring it home. That is really aggravating and disappointing.”
Schwartzkopf said the mat was used for almost the entire tournament and that Morrill wrestlers who qualified for state were excited to have wrestled on the mat before it was to be transported home. But on Sunday morning, he said, the family that had been hauling the mat for the team woke up to find that its 2004 Suburban and trailer had been stolen from the hotel parking lot.
Schwartzkopf said, “It was not a good ending to a good weekend. Out of all the vehicles in the parking lot, they stole that one.”
By Tuesday morning, police had recovered the Suburban about 50 miles from Omaha, Schwartzkopf said. He said he had been told that police made two arrests. The family that owned the trailer also was notified that a trailer matching the description of the stolen trailer had been located in an Omaha area parking lot.
According to Facebook posts by members of the team and others, the mat was recovered.