The Milford wrestling team was rested and healthy heading into the Wilber-Clatonia Duals Jan. 4 and the Aquinas Invitational Jan. 5. That showed in how it competed, Coach Joe Schluckebier said.
Wilber-Clatonia’s tournament featured more teams this year, and the Eagles were 3-2 with wins over Norfolk Catholic and Lincoln Christian in pool competition and Sutton for the first time in a long time, Schluckebier said.
“That put us in the gold pool, and it was a dogfight,” Schluckebier said.
In the gold pool, Milford wrestled Sutton, Raymond Central and Wilber-Clatonia.
“Sometimes it’s a chess match,” Schluckebier said.
Coaches often look at match-ups in a dual and move wrestlers around to give their athletes or their team a better chance to win. Schluckebier said each dual includes two to three matches that he considers toss-ups, that could go either way. In the dual with WCHS, he said, Milford lost those toss-ups.
In the dual with Sutton, he moved all the Eagles up a weight class. While that meant Jeaven Scdoris and Sam Copley both lost to very good wrestlers, it also gave them some tough competition, he said.
After the duals on Friday, the Eagles went to David City Saturday and finished fifth in the team standings. Milford had three wrestlers competing for gold and brought home two top finishes. Konner Schluckebier won the 106-pound bracket, and Copley topped the 145-pound class.
“We were tired but persevered mentally,” Coach Schluckebier said. “These guys know how to regroup.”
The competition included five district teams – Aquinas, Pierce, Shelby-Rising City, Nebraska City and Lincoln Christian.
Konner Schluckebier had to beat two district opponents to win his bracket and did so, holding off Hunter Vandenberg of Aquinas 7-6 and pinning Brock Bolling of Pierce in 1:04 in the finals.
Copley was 4-0 and pinned three opponents en route to the gold medal. He defeated Mason Schleis of SRC 4-3 in the finals.
“We knew he would be tough,” Schluckebier said of Schleis, who had beaten a wrestler from Archbiship Bergan to get to the final and who had beaten Copley earlier this season. “This allowed Sam to erase a mark on his record.”
The championship was Copley’s second at the tournament.
Jeaven Scdoris finished second at 132 pounds, going 3-1 with a pin and losing to Patrick Powers of Broken Bow 7-0 in the finals. Schluckebier said Scdoris just couldn’t get anything going in the finals but proved “he can run with anyone.”
The Eagles will host a triangular with York and South Central Nebraska Unified Thursday, Jan. 10, starting at 6 p.m. The team will travel to Arlington Saturday, Jan. 12, for a tournament.
“There’s not a whole lot more we can throw at them,” Schluckebier said. “They have to take what they have and run with it.”