Aron Reynaga was not taking any chances Friday after a close call the day before nearly ended his quest for an undefeated season.
The Madison senior took control of his 285-pound semifinal at the Class C state tournament early and rolled to a 7-1 victory over Riley Homolka of Wilber-Clatonia.
That victory kept Reynaga’s dreams of an undefeated season alive after he nearly lost in Thursday’s quarterfinals. Reynaga needed the tiebreaker to earn a 2-1 win over Hershey senior Lane Richardson.
With the crowd at CenturyLink Center having thinned — the other 13 weight classes had wrapped up — Reynaga was able to hear the chants of “Ar-on, Ar-on” Dragons fans were sending his way from Section 121.
“What motivated me the most today was my coaches and all of my family and teammates telling me to go out and wrestle the way you know you can,” Reynaga said. “I went out there carefree and wrestled like I always do.”
Doing it his way helped Reynaga remain one of the six undefeated Class C competitors heading into Saturday’s finals.
Only Ord senior Cade Svoboda lost his bid Friday for an unblemished season when he was upset 4-2 by O’Neill junior Bailey Thompson in the 182-pound division.
Reynaga will face Ozzy Rodriguez of Gibbon for the 285-pound championship. Rodriguez edged Caleb Lefferdink of Syracuse 4-3 to earn his berth in the championship match.
The two met in the consolation semifinals at last year’s state meet, a match Reynaga won on his way to an eventual third-place finish.
“It was a close match,” Reynaga said. “He’s a tough competitor, so I know it won’t be easy.”
The 14 championship matches will provide all of the drama for Saturday’s finals as the chase for the team title has already been decided.
David City clinched its second Class C championship in the past three years and third in school history by finishing Friday with a 55-point lead and four wrestlers remaining in both the finals and consolation semifinals.
The Scouts have racked up 123 points, with David City Aquinas leading a pack of six teams separated by just 11 points in the battle for second place.
Aquinas has 68 points, followed by Wilber-Clatonia (67), Valentine (66), O’Neill (61), Battle Creek (59) and Kearney Catholic (57). Raymond Central with 54.5 and North Bend Central at 53 are also close to that pack.
David City’s four finalists are Trent Daro at 120, Wyatt Phillips at 126, Melvin Hernandez at 132 and Morgen Valentine at 160. Phillips is one of the six wrestlers like Reynaga who is on a quest for an undefeated season.
Phillips defeated Wyatt Allan of Wood River 13-6 to earn his spot in the 126 final against Kearney Catholic’s Eric Pacheco. Pacheco defeated Jorge Hernandez of Wilber-Clatonia 8-6.
O’Neill has three wrestlers in the championship round, while Wilber-Clatonia, Kearney Catholic and Aquinas each have two.
Contact the writer: