PAPILLION — Despite going 0-5 in finals matches, the Norfolk wrestling team had plenty to be proud of Saturday.
The Panthers finished a strong fourth in the eight-team A-3 district at Papillion-La Vista High School.
Finishing second for the Panthers were Weston Godfrey, Jacob Licking, Josh Licking, Brayden Splater and Brayden Heffner.
After junior Weston Godfrey lost an 8-3 decision to Ian Rudner of Papillion-La Vista in the 126-pound final, freshman Jacob Licking was pinned by Omaha Central’s Ray Hubbard in the 145-pound final.
“Jacob got caught in what is referred to as a whip over,’’ Norfolk coach Justin Grey said. “It happens, but hey for a freshman to be wrestling in the finals as a three seed is pretty impressive.”
Junior Josh Licking lost a 5-3 decision to Cole Price of Papillion-La Vista in the 152-pound final.
“The Price kid has been No. 1 in the state all season long and came down from 160. That’s a quality kid, but Josh gave him all he wanted,” Grey said. “Josh had a big win in the semifinals — beating Deon Davis from Omaha Central — who he had lost to a state last year, but just came up one match short of a title. ”
Senior Brayden Splater dropped a controversial 2-0 decision to Ethan Valencia of Millard West.
“We tell the kids not to leave it in the referee’s hands, but you get two good kids together and those matches usually come down to one or two points,” Grey said. “This one seemed out of our hands, but hey, we move on and prepare for state.”
Sophomore Brayden Heffner lost to senior Jaylon Walker of Omaha Bryan in the 220-pound finals.
“Again, for Brayden just being a sophomore and making the finals is fantastic,” Grey said. “We’re still building Brayden’s confidence and you’ll be hearing a lot more from him down the road.”
Other state qualifiers for the Panthers were third-place finishers Aaron Dittmer at 132, Austin Miller, Hunter Mangelsen at 182 and Laikon Ames at 195, and fourth-place finisher Calvin Empkey at 113.
Class A-3 at Papillion-La Vista
Columbus 179, Papillion-La Vista 164, Omaha Central 154.5, Norfolk 148, Omaha Bryan 104, Millard West 76, Fremont 67, Omaha Northwest 16.
113: 1. Noor Salat, OB, over Blake Cerny, COL, 4:15. 3. Jacob Williams, P-LV, over Calvin Empkey, NOR, 8-2.
126: 1. Ian Rudner, P-LV, over Weston Godfrey, NOR, 8-3. 3. Nate Hartman, MW, over Ryan Turner, OC, 6-4.
132: 1. Gabriel Grice, OC, over Josh Richardson, P-LV, 2-0. 3. Aaron Dittmer, NOR, over Cayden Kucera, COL, 4-0.
145: 1. Ray Hubbard, OC, over Jacob Licking, NOR, 2:19. 3. Coleton Haggin, P-LV, over Levi Bloomquist, COL, 8-1.
152: 1. Cole Price, P-LV, over Joshua Licking, NOR, 5-3. 3. Deon Davis, OC, over Rylee Iburg, COL, :43.
160: 1. Ethan Valencia, MW, over Brayden Splater, NOR, 2-0. 3. Mac Shevlin, COL, over Thomas Wentz, FRE, 4:17.
170: 1. Blayze Standley, COL, over Justin Davis, OC, 10-7. 3. Austin Miller, NOR, over Chase Pokett, OB, 2:56.
182: 1. Anthony DeAnda, COL, over Carson Maas, P-LV, 7-3. 3. Hunter Mangelsen, NOR, over Seth Redding, FRE, 2:16.
195: 1. Kasten Grape, COL, over Alek Abels, P-LV, 4:31. 3. Laikon Ames, NOR, over Benny Alfaro, FRE, 3-2.
220: 1. Jaylon Walker, OB, over Brayden Heffner, NOR, :55. 3. Garret Moser, FRE, over Ryan Kocovsky, MW, 3-1.