Young NC Wrestlers Have Early Success
The Nebraska Christian wrestling team may be young, they may be few in number, and they may have a lot to learn, but they still stand strong with the help of the Lord; and, despite these challenges, they are having a very successful season.
All members of the 2014 team are freshmen: Juan Lasso, Jeremiah Ebel, and Jaydon Elge. The three of them compose the entire team this year. While Elge has wrestled since he was three years old, Lasso got his first taste of wrestling in junior high. The results have been extraordinary this year, however, as Elge appears poised to challenge for a state tournament berth in a few weeks.
“The program has been going for 15 years,” said Elge. “The season has been fun. Jeremiah and Juan have been working hard and progressing.”
Having only three wrestlers has been an advantage during practice since one of the coaches can work with two of them and the other coach can give one-on-one attention to the third. The difference shows up on the mat. However, the skill development isn’t the only difference apparent in these three athletes. Faith plays a part in everything they do, as well.
“I’ve had guys who are not from NC say there is something different about me,” continued Elge.
Lasso agrees. “You do show your strength, endurance, skill, and intelligence, but the thing people look at the most is character—how we handle a win or a loss and how our sportsmanship is—many people notice when you have good character and many people have told our team this.”
Elge won first place at Cross County, and this season he has wrestled the second and third ranked wrestlers in his weight class. Ebel, who has been hurt the last two meets, started strongly in December at the Harvard tournament and showed steady progress through the end of January. Lasso has faced a series of upper classmen and gained valuable experience, which bodes well for the future.
“I twisted the cartilage in my rib, and then after that I did something to my neck and was sent to the hospital. The next week I got injured again and popped my rib out. It was a painful experience to go through,” said Ebel.
Every season has its challenges, but this one could prove to have a special ending. At the Neligh-Oakdale Invitational, for example, Elge scored a 7-2 championship win over number 4-ranked Logan Dibbern of Amherst, despite enduring seven stoppages for a bloody nose. The freshman’s dominance on the mats was punctuated by earlier wins over West Holt’s Will Thiele (17-4), Lutheran High Northeast’s Matthew Reeves (18-1), and North Central’s Tanner Stec (pin).
Everything points to districts, which take place this Friday and Saturday, February 14 and 15; if all goes well, Nebraska Christian could find itself represented at the state wrestling tournament the following week in Omaha.