The Jeffs are sending a record breaking eight state qualifiers to Omaha. The state meet is taking place Thursday, Feb. 15-Saturday Sat, Feb. 17 taking place at the CenturyLink Center.
There’s no doubt about it, the 2016-17 wrestling season has been quite the memorable season. Five boys earned their spot onto the 100 win club this year, doubling the count since the 1960s, as well as Damian Green ’17 breaking the overall career win record.
The achievements don’t just stop there. This year eight Jeffs broke the previous record of seven state qualifiers which was set in 2015-16. This record tied the previously set record in the 2012-13 season.
Wrapping up the wrestling season, The Jeffs will head to Kearney next weekend, and participate in the state duals for the first time in Jeff history.
On Saturday, Jan. 21 the Fairbury wrestlers headed to Plattsmouth to take part in the Plattsmouth Invite. The invite was a big one that had 14 teams and showcased some top teams from Class A and Class B.
Fairbury finished fourth in the team rankings and had eight medalists on the day. The Jeffs had five wrestlers claim runner up and both Damian Green ’17 and Jacob Johnson ’18 earned first place finishes.
Johnson earned his 100th career victory when he pinned Josh Francois from Bellevue East. He became just the eighth wrestler in Fairbury history to reach 100 career wins.
On Jan. 25 the Fairbury Jeff wrestling team hosted their first home event as they took on the Central City Bison in a dual. The Jeffs earned the victory as they won the dual by a final score of 53-28.
A highlight on the night occurred when Anthony Moyer’ 17 earned his 100th career victory and become just the ninth wrestler in Fairbury history to reach 100 wins. Moyer pinned Shad Quintanilla from Central City in the first period to reach this milestone.
The next action for the Jeffs Wrestling team is Friday Jan. 27 as they host their home invite.
With back breaking work comes record breaking results. Not every year does a record get broken, but this year is a different story.
Recently Damian Green ’17 broke the high school record of 118 wins. The record was previously held by Joshua Moody ’13. The wrestlers traveled to Nebraska City Jan. 14 for a tournament. Green was sitting at 114 wins going into the tournament. He went 5-0 ending with a record breaking total of wins at 119.
“Damian is 100% self motivated. That’s why he’s had the success he’s had,” Head Wrestling coach Derek Garfield said.
With his determination Damian reached his 100th career win early on in the season, pushing him to break the record.
“When I got to 100 [wins] coach told me I was close [to the record] so I worked to surpass it…” Green said.
Not a lot of athletes can say they had a record breaking career in high school.
“I train everyday, weights in the morning… traveling across the country in the off season for tournaments.” Green said.
On Jan. 10 the Fairbury Jeffs wrestling team traveled to Wilber to compete in the Blue River Riot. The Blue River Riot consisted of Fairbury, Seward, West-Point Beemer and Wilber/Clatonia.
Despite having only four teams present, the tournament hosted big matches, featuring some of the state’s best wrestlers. The biggest match on the night for the Jeffs was Paul Mach ‘17 facing off against Riley Homolka of Wilber/Clatonia in the 285 pound weight class.
Homolka entered the match as the top ranked heavyweight in Class C. Mach earned the upset as he beat Homolka by a final score of 3-2.
Going into the match head Fairbury wrestling coach Derek Garfield saw the match as an opportunity.
“My first thought was that it was a huge opportunity to wrestle one of the best in the state…in the past Paul and Riley have gone 1-1,” coach Garfield said. “Two years ago Paul beat Riley and last year Riley was able to repay him.” Coach Garfield said.”
Being able to beat one of the best wrestlers boosted Mach’s confidence, who currently sits at 24-2 on the season.
“It makes me feel good,” Mach said. “It makes me feel confident in my abilities.”
Even after knocking off the top ranked wrestler in Class C, both Coach Garfield and Mach plan to continue improving as the season progresses.
“It means we are doing the right things in practice . . . we expect to get better everyday and we have to keep improving,” Coach Garfield said.
The win didn’t change Mach’s approach or the team’s as they head into the latter part of January with the goal of wresting their best in February.
“Just keep wrestling the way I wrestle and hopefully good things will happen,” Mach said.
The Fairbury wrestling team headed to Bennington on New Year’s Eve to compete in the Badger duals. Fairbury placed third out of six teams behind the Bellevue East Chieftains and the Bennington Badgers.
Damian Green, Paul Mach, Jacob Johnson, and Austin Barnts all went undefeated winning all five of their matches. It was the first competition after winter break.
“I thought that we’d be in the hunt for a team title…Bennington was rated fifth in the state for class B and Bellevue is rated 8th in class A so we knew that both those would be tough duals,” said Coach Derek Garfield.
On Thursday Dec. 8 the Fairbury wrestling team traveled to Fillmore Central to compete in a triple dual with Tri-County, Waverly and Fillmore Central. The Jeffs won each of their duals on the night and finished first in the team standings.
The Jeffs defeated Fillmore Central 66-12 and picked up pins by Ace York ’19, Anthony Moyer ’17, and Paul Mach ’17. Fairbury also picked up a victory against Waverly by a score against 59-24. The Jeffs won their final dual against Tri-County by a score of 60-18 and had six wrestlers earn pins in the dual. Fairbury head wrestling coach Derek Garfield was pleased with his team’s performance.
“We expected to go out and win all three duals… and we got the wins that we needed to get,” Coach Garfield said.
The next competition for the Fairbury wrestlers is Dec. 10 as they travel to Crete to wrestle in the Crete Invitational.
On Saturday Dec. 3 the Fairbury wrestling team traveled to York to compete in their first competition of the year. The Jeffs had high hopes going into the tournament as the Jeffs return six state qualifiers to this years team.
The Jeffs came away from the tournament with nine individual medalists. Jacob Johnson ’18 led the charge and was the lone champion for Fairbury, while both Damian Green ’17 and Patrick Ondrak ’17 placed second in their weight classes.
Fairbury earned the team title in the twelve team field as they scored 135.5 points. The runner up was David City with 130.5 points. The next competition for the Jeffs is Dec. 8 as they travel to Fillmore Central for a triple dual.
The first practice for the Fairbury wrestling team had a different setting this year as the wrestlers took to the outside and the practice football field to start the season off right. Although there was a change in location, the hard work and talent did not change. The high-school wrestling program will have six returning state qualifiers as well as many varsity contributors.
“I feel very optimistic about this season,” Paul Mach ‘17 said. “We have a lot of good kids and I think good things are going to happen.”
One of the main points coach Derek Garfield stresses this season is that he wants his wrestlers to be the best conditioned.The goal is to be more physical and tougher than before. In order to achieve this goal these athletes are pushing themselves to be their best.
“I’ve really been going hard in practice,” Logan Slater ‘18 said.
Coach Garfield expects a lot from his wrestlers in order to be successful this season.
“I expect the wrestlers to put in lots of hard work,” Garfield said. “When you put in the work you will get positive results.”
The Fairbury wrestling program is setting the bar high in hopes to achieve in more than last year when the team had seven state qualifiers with six of those returning to the 2016-17 squad.
“We are looking at from anywhere to zero to fourteen state qualifiers. Double digits is a legit goal,” Garfield said.
The wrestlers first meet of the year is the York Invite in York on Saturday, Dec. 3.