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North Platte Wrestling Team goes undefeated to win home tournament

The Bulldogs beat Grand Island in the Finals to claim the title
Published: Jan. 2, 2021 at 11:43 PM CST
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - The North Platte Wrestling Team went 4-0 in their first regular season home tournament in over a decade. The Bulldogs notched wins over McCook, Alliance, and Gering before setting up a showdown with Grand Island for the championship. The Islanders were ranked second in the state coming into the tournament. North Platte defeated them by a score of 36-32.

“I’ll tell you what, any time you beat one of the best teams in the state it’s pretty exciting. We’ll enjoy this one for the weekend and then get back to work...We’re not satisfied, we’re going to keep pushing,” said Head Coach Dale Hall.

The Bulldogs squad, with two State Champions and two State Finalists, have high hopes for the rest of the season. Senior wrestler Gavyn Brauer knows as well as anyone how much this win means for the program.

“I think it will help tremendously. This win should give us a bunch of confidence and make us hungrier to go for more,” said the State Champ.

Another senior on the team knows all about going for more. Jaylan Ruffin set the season record for pins last year and is hoping to eclipse that record this year. Ruffin had multiple pins today and is motivated by his performance last year in the State Finals.

“Last year losing in the state finals was really difficult but I’m gonna be back this year. A lot of the guys on this team are going back this year, we’re trying to take all fourteen of us to State...We’re going to work our butts off and we want that respect,” said the State Finalist.

The Bulldogs got off to a hot start against Grand Island thanks to pins from Gavyn Brauer and Vince Genatone. The Islanders responded with several pins of their own and North Platte found themselves in desperate need of a win. Skyler Geier-Dodson was down in the third period and things were looking bleak for the Bulldogs. Skyler managed to secure a takedown to force overtime and ultimately, won his match.

“You just get butterflies in your stomach. I’ve been the underdog for most of my wrestling career...To be able to help us win the match when the other team thinks you don’t have a chance, I’m pretty excited,” said the senior.

The senior with a hard-fought come from behind victory to put North Platte in the driver's seat...
The senior with a hard-fought come from behind victory to put North Platte in the driver's seat against Grand Island late in the match.(justin thompson)

But it’s not just the seniors cherishing this victory.

“It’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. The whole day was perfect, you couldn’t have planned it out any better,” said Freshman wrestler Ethan Jackson.

The team will be back in action next weekend at Lincoln North Star High School.

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