Noah Hone remembers the score he lost to Gering, Nebraska’s Nate Rocheleau by in the championship of the Charlie Lake Invitational earlier in the season. The Kelly Walsh freshman mounted a comeback but ran out of time and lost 13-8.
Hone studied that match and improved over the weeks since. When he got his chance for redemption on Thursday night during Kelly Walsh’s dual with Gering at Kelly Walsh High School, he didn’t let it slip away.
The freshman turned the tables and beat the No. 2-ranked wrestler in Nebraska’s second-largest classification by an identical 13-8 decision.
“I just came out strong in the first period,” Hone said, “got my shots off and wrestled my match.”
That win proved to be a minor component of Kelly Walsh’s 66-6 dual win. It did, however, signify the development the No. 1 Trojans have made this early in the season.
“Noah is young, he’s a freshman and he’s really good but at the same time he gets better every day,” Kelly Walsh head coach Travis Peak said. “He gets in these funky positions that normal guys don’t do. At the same time he’s getting better at other techniques and the regular stuff.”
Just like their previous match, this 126-pound clash featured multiple takedowns and reversals. Hone scored an early takedown only for Rocheleau to reverse moments later. Hone reversed from that position and put Rocheleau on his back to briefly gain a 6-2 advantage. Hone took a 9-4 lead into the third following a down-tempo second. The freshman stayed in control until a late reversal nearly scored an unconventional pinfall in Rocheleau’s favor. The horn sounded before the Bulldog fully turned Hone onto his shoulders and the Trojan held on.
That victory gave Kelly Walsh a comfortable 39-3 lead.
“We’re feeling pretty good this year, I think we’ve got a real good team,” Hone said.
Bode Draper opened the dual with a pin in 3 minutes, 42 seconds at 182 pounds. Gering submitted open slots at the three heaviest weights, causing forfeit victories to Kelly Walsh’s Seth Burrer, Jesus O’Brien and Connor McBroom. That ballooned the lead to 24-0. The Bulldogs then forfeited again at 113, giving Garrett Marker a victory.
Devyn Mosteller (120 pounds) scored a pinfall at 1:29 and a duo of returning champion Trojans gained quick pins to broaden their lead further. First, Jace Palmer (132) scored his pin at 1:16 and then Analu Benabise (145) scored his pin as the first-period horn sounded. The officials promptly granted the pinfall victory with no objections.
Kelly Walsh’s Devan Lineman (138) escaped with a 7-5 decision having seen his lead dwindle and nearly end by getting pinned. Gering’s Nathan Van Anne started to roll Lineman onto his back just as the final horn sounded, bringing sighs of relief from the Kelly Walsh bench.
“We are pretty loaded from bottom to the top,” Peak said. “We lost a couple matches to really good guys and we won the rest. Tonight we looked great and up until this point everyone who has wrestled has looked great.”
Gering picked up its two wins from Quinton Chavez (106) and Jacob Awiszus (170). Chavez, the No. 1-ranked wrestler at Nebraska’s Class B and runner-up at the Charlie Lake Invitational, gained a quick takedown and three-point nearfall at the edge of the mat in the first period. He played defensive from there and held on to beat Gavin Mancini by a 9-2 decision. Gering’s other victory came from Jacob Awiszus, fourth-place finisher at Charlie Lake and runner-up at Monster Mash Nationals over the summer. Awiszus took a quick lead and walked out with a 7-3 decision over Brant Rieker.