Nebraska high school wrestling season starts Saturday. Here are some wrestlers to watch heading into the season.
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Maxx Mayfield, Lincoln East: The senior, a Northwestern signee, is ranked No. 9 nationally by InterMat at 152 pounds and eighth at 145 by WIN Magazine, though Mayfield likely will wrestle at 160 for the Spartans. He went 51-1 as a junior, pinning three state tournament opponents and earning a technical fall over the other. Another state gold would make Mayfield the first in Lincoln East history to win three.
Garrett Grice, Bellevue East: How do you follow up a perfect first campaign? Grice is about to find out. The sophomore went 49-0 during his freshman season on his way to the gold medal at 113 pounds. Grice is expected to move up to 120 this season, as is Omaha Central’s Emilio Haynes, whom Grice beat 4-3 in the state final.
Gage Krolikowski, Valentine: The lone wrestler going for a fourth title this season, Krolikowski is hoping to lead the Badgers to a fourth straight Class C team crown, as well. He went 41-0 during his junior year, winning a championship at 132. Four falls at the state tournament would give him the state’s record for career pins at the event.
Grady Griess, Grand Island Northwest: The Navy signee showed what makes him worthy of the No. 19 spot in InterMat’s national rankings during a run to the 195-pound crown in Class B a year ago. Not only did he reverse fortunes against Wahoo’s Sam Kolterman in a rematch of their 2018 title tilt, but he did so by a 12-3 major decision.
Paul Garcia, Scottsbluff: The junior is halfway to the high school sweep, with state titles at 113 and 106 in 2019 and 2018, respectively. Later this month he’ll take part in the Ironman tournament in Ohio, an annual collection of some of the country’s best. It’s the third time Garcia has been in the field.
Kasten Grape, Columbus: A 52-2 junior campaign ended with a Class A title at 220. Grape, who has 100 career pins, is ranked No. 23 in the country by WIN Magazine.
Nick Stoltenberg, Omaha Skutt: Looking to join a long list of SkyHawks with at least three titles — 10 since 2000 — Stoltenberg will try to follow up a 35-1 junior season that he capped with a championship at 138.
Damen Pape, Hastings: Ranked No. 16 in the country by WIN Magazine at 182, the senior finished 47-0 a year ago, beating another nationally ranked wrestler — Waverly’s Evan Canoyer — in the 170-pound Class B final.