One freshman plus one sophomore plus two first year coaches equals three wins at state wrestling.
Sophomore Jesse Duba was 1-2 at 106 pounds, and freshman Jack Baptista was 2-2 at 145 pounds.
“They were both so nervous,” Coach Nathan Baber said. “I thought they handled themselves well.”
After Duba lost his first match, he came back in the first round of consolation matches to pin Nathaniel Nelson of West Point. The win put him in a match against Lane Bohac of East Butler.
“It was meant to be,” Baber said. “Jesse stayed with him early, but then he chose top and took over.”
Despite the losses, Baber said, Duba wasn’t unhappy with his performance.
“He was happy to be there,” Baber said. “I’m proud of how he wrestled. I can’t be made at him for trying his best.”
Baptista had a tough draw, opening his tournament against the eventual champion, Colton Holthus of Garden County.
“He did OK,” Baber said. “He got his shot but couldn’t finish.”
Baptista came back to pin Brooks Armstrong of Red Cloud/Blue Hill and then beat Roy Guzman of Palmer to earn a spot in Friday night’s consolation quarterfinals.
“He wrestled his best match ever,” Baber said of the Guzman match. “It was a pretty intense match.”
In the consolation quarterfinals, Baptista was pinned by Dominic Stewart of Thayer Central.
“We knew he was strong. He muscled Jack down,” Baber said.
In looking at the 145-pound medalists, Baber said, Baptista wrestled five of them and the Class C champion Jeaven Scdoris of Milford.
“I’m pretty proud of them,” the coach said.
He was happy to see the improvement all three of the Bulldogs made throughout the season.
“All grew immensely throughout the year,” he said.