MERNA -- The Anselmo-Merna Coyotes hosted their wrestling invitational last Saturday. Sargent/Burwell won the team title with 183 total points and five individual champions. S-E-M placed second with 158.5 points and three individual champions. Anselmo-Merna placed fourth with two individual champions and Ansley/Arcadia placed fifth with one individual champion.
The Outstanding Wrestler Award went to S-E-Mâ€™s Collin Donahoo who was the 189 pound champion.
Results from the Anselmo-Merna Invite are as follows:
Team Results (Top 10 + area teams)
SARGENT/BURWELL WRESTLERS BATTLE INJURIES TO BEGIN SEASON
SARGENT/BURWELL -- Some of the Sargent/Burwell wrestlers will begin the season healing injuries sustained during the late football season. With two to three of their best wrestler out until after Christmas, the main focus will be getting and staying healthy.
KNIGHTS SUCCESS DEPENDS ON FOCUS, INTESITY
DUNNING/THEDFORD -- The Sandhills/Thedford Knight grapplers will need to remain focused and maintain their intensity throughout the whole season.
Troy Shields is the lone Knights returning state qualifier at 103 pounds. He will be joined by seniors Nate McFadden at 135 pounds and Jarred Barnes at 152 pounds. Returning as junior letter winners are Chance Giles at 145, Ben Pickering at 152 and Gary Payne at 171.
LADY KNIGHTS LOADED WITH SPEED, DEPTH
DUNNING/THEDFORD -- The Sandhills/Thedford Lady Knights return five starters form last yearâ€™s 13-8 team for second year head coach Scott Leisy.
The Lady Knights will be led by Shelby Saner who averaged eight points and seven rebounds per game last season. Saner will get help under the basket from Jonnie Staub and Courtney Jameson while Michaela Miles and Tylee Coffman secure the perimeter.
Though the Lady Knights lack size, Coach Leisy says that his team will make that up with very aggressive pressure.
KNIGHTS HOPE TO FOLLOW LAST YEAR'S SUCCESS
DUNNING/THEDFORD -- The Sandhills/Thedford Knights return three starters for last yearâ€™s state qualifying team that finished at 18-7. Kale Anderson returns as the team leader and high scorer. He joins Brady Marten and Tyler Lee as returning starters.
Being asked to contribute to this yearâ€™s team will be Trey Spencer, Tanner Drews, Ty Sierks, AJ Freeman and Matt McLeod.
The biggest challenge for the Knights will be bringing the younger players along to fill the graduation losses.
SIZE, EXPERIENCE WILL LEAD BRONCOS
MULLEN -- The Mullen Broncos will rely on size and experience to carry them through their schedule this season.
The Broncos return three starters from last yearâ€™s team they are Gabe Connealy, Jake Spies and Nat Vinton. They also have three seniors that saw a lot of time off the bench a year ago. Zach Call, Braden Storer and Bryan Gray will add leadership for a team that will need to develop some depth.
MULLEN RELOADS FOR STATE TOURNAMENT RUN
MULLEN -- The Mullen Lady Broncos fell in districts last season but after going to state in volleyball the past three seasons, the Lady Broncos are eager to get there in basketball this season.
Tricia Young returns as the lone starter from last yearâ€™s team but is joined by transfer Mardee Sierks who started for Sandhills/Thedford last season. This duo is a strong combination to build a team around and Mullen will do that with a very talented group of sophomores.
EXPERIENCE AND UPPER WEIGHTS STRENGTHEN BRONCO TEAM
MULLEN -- The Mullen Broncos seven letter winners from last yearâ€™s team. Of those, three were state qualifiers. Seniors Jared Simonson finished second in the 130 pound class, Nick Licking placed fifth at 189 pounds and Charlie Kramer wrestled at 285 pounds.
Other returning letter winners were senior Jarod Spurlin at 185 pounds, juniors Trenton Porath at 135 and Tyrell Wilson at 171 along with sophomore Kory Phillips at 112.
INDIAN GRAPPLERS RETURN EIGHT FROM LAST YEAR'S WEIGHT CLASSES
BROKEN BOW -- The Broken Bow Indians return a good nucleus of wrestlers that will fill nearly all of the weight classes this season. The team is loaded with seniors and juniors that saw a significant amount of time on the mats last season.
The Indians return just one state qualifier from last yearâ€™s team. Matt Denson, at 130 pounds, has qualified for the state meet the past to years.
WILDCATS GET DEFENSIVE FOR WINNING SEASON
TAYLOR -- The Loup County Wildcats will count on defense as their strength as long as they can pressure the ball and take care of it when they have it.
With three returning starters from last yearâ€™s 3-16 team the Wildcats are optimistic that they can improve from last year and compete in the Loup Valley Conference and districts.