LEXINGTON – Some of the toughest wrestling programs in the state could be found at Lexington High School this weekend as the Minutemen hosted their John Higgins invite. Lexington, sporting five medalists, took 13th place of 16 teams at their home event with a team total of 73 points. The Cozad Haymakers were also in attendance, taking 15th place with 41 team points and two medalists.
Starting with the Minutemen, In the 106 lb. bracket, Daven Naylor took sixth place. Naylor went 3-3 on the day, with his wins including a bye in the first round and two wins by fall; one over Bryson Bussinger of Cozad (0:26) and Tony Phillips of Lincoln Southwest (0:51). Naylor fell to Markus Miller of Hastings by major decision in the fifth place round, 1-10, taking sixth place for the Minutemen.
Ivan Lazo, the 113 lb. wrestler for Lexington, took fourth place after going 3-2 for the day. Lazo’s wins included a bye in the first round, a win by major decision over Bryce Karlin of Beatrice, 10-1, and a win by decision over Brayden Schmalz of Holdrege, 13-10. In the third place match, Lazo fell to AJ Parrish of Bennington by decision, 0-2, claiming fourth place at the Higgins.
Ean Bailey took second place at the John Higgins, finishing the day with a record of 3-1. Bailey received a bye in the first round, and gained two wins by decision; one over Cole Rockwell of Wray, 6-3, as well as a 6-2 decision win over Paul Ruff of Gering. Bailey lost to Drew Arnold of Beatrice in the championship match by decision, 0-6, taking second place in the 120 lb. class.
Next up, in the 145 lb. bracket, Brady Fago went 3-1 at the Higgins to take the second place medal. Fago received a bye in the first round before a win by decision over Colby Puck of Bennington, 8-4, and a second win by decision over Treven Melroy of Holdrege, 10-4. In the championship match, Fago lost to Justus McDaniel of Scott Community by decision, 2-8, and took event runner up in his weight class.
Lexington’s fifth medalist at the John Higgins, in the 195 lb. weight class, Ismael Ayala claimed three wins and three losses to take sixth place. Ayala won his first round match by decision over Jake Johnson of Wray, 14-7. He received a bye in the consolation side of the bracket, after his first loss to Imanol Munoz of Holdrege by fall in 3:20. Ayala won a second round by decision, this time over Jeffery Nix of Scott Community, 3-1. In the fifth place match, Ayala fell to Laikon Ames of Norfolk by fall. Ames pinned Ayala in 31 seconds.
For the Haymakers, Brecken Loftin went 3-2 at the Higgins to take home the fourth place medal in the 138 lb. bracket. Loftin received a bye in the first round before taking a win by fall over Caeden Bauer of Wray in 4:52. Loftin earned a second win by fall in his fourth match of the day over Santana Morin of North Platte, pinning him in 2:40. Loftin lost to Cameron Kort of Adams Central by fall in the third place match to take the fourth place medal. Kort pinned Loftin in 1:37.
Cozad’s second medalist, the 220 lb. Cade Stott, took third place after going 4-1 for the day. Stott won his first two matches by fall; the first over Nolan Bahnson of Beatrice (1:59) and the second over Brayden Heffner of Norfolk (5:43). Stott took a third win by fall in the consolation side of the bracket over Trent Weak of Holdrege in 4:18 and went on to win the third place match over Jacob Deckert of Adams Central by medical forfeit to take the third place medal.
Complete team results for the talent-rich tournament at Lexington High School are as follows:
1 – Bennington (157.5)
2 – Hastings (156.5)
3 – Norfolk (143)
4 – Scott Community (141.5)
5 – Beatrice (130.5)
6 – Wray (106.5)
7 – Gering (94)
8 – Adams Central (93)
9 – Sidney (92)
10 – North Platte (81)
11 – Lincoln SW (80.5)
12 – Holdrege (76)
13 – Lexington (73)
14 – McCook (64)
15 – Cozad (41)
16 – Gothenburg (18)
The Lexington wrestlers will be back in action at home when they host the Central 10 Conference tournament on Saturday, Feb. 1 while Cozad wrestlers will travel to participate in the Raymond Central Invite. Central Conference matches are set to begin at LHS at 10 a.m. while Cozad will begin wrestling in Raymond at 9 a.m.