Friend will have two wrestlers in the state tournament Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 20 through 22. Jesse Duba and Jack Baptista both finished in the top four at districts to earn spots at state.

Coach Nathan Baber was pleased with how all three Bulldogs wrestled at districts Feb. 14 and 15.

“Jesse had a good day – if he couldn’t just get past the East Butler kid,” Baber said.

The FHS sophomore opened by pinning Zane Druery of Amherst, a wrestler they knew nothing about.

“He was under control better and wrestled smart,” Baber said.

He got pinned by Lane Bohac of East Butler but came back to pin Austin Kennicutt of Overton and Carter Brandyberry of Alma for third place.

Baptista finished fourth at 145 pounds despite a broken thumb. The freshman pinned Cole Grovijohn of Howells Dodge and defeated Dominick Reyes of Centennial before losing by pin to Matt VanPelt of Southwest.

Baptista came back to beat Ethan Baumert of Guardian Angels Central Catholic but lost to Levi Lewis of North Central in the third-place match.

Baber said there are a couple things for Baptista to work on heading into state.

Cole Holman was 1-2 at 132 pounds and is already excited for next year, Baber said.

Friend will wrestle in the afternoon session at state Thursday, with matches starting at 4 p.m. at the CHI Health Center in Omaha.

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