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Heine shines in State wrestling tournament debut

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OMAHA — The records continued to fall last week for the Cedar Catholic wrestling team.

The team set a school record by having six wrestlers qualify for State this year.

Once on the CHI Health Center mats in Omaha, Cedar Catholic had two wrestlers earn wins at State. One of those, Maverick Heine, became the first freshman wrestler in school history to medal at State as he finished the weekend with a fifth-place medal in the 106-pound division.

This was a season head coach Justin Bartling declared as a “fun ride” from day one.

“As a team, we competed really well at State,” Bartling said. “Even though our record was not the greatest there, we were in every match from start to finish. I’m really proud of the way the kids fought all weekend.”

Heine faced a tough road to earn a medal, battling, but eventually falling to the champion, third- and fourth-place finishers in his weight class.

Heine also broke the school record for technical falls and nearfalls in a season and is one away from the career mark in the former with three seasons left to go in his career.

Freshman Brady Hochstein (138) started out well at State, winning his first match before bowing out with two consecutive defeats.

“Brady is another one that should be proud of the season he had,” Bartling said. “He avenged a loss in his first-round match and is the only one in his bracket at State to challenge the now two-time champion.

“Brady showed that he could hang with anyone in the state and I look forward to where he goes from here.”

The third freshman who found himself at State was Hunter Kuchta (126), who also had a “great season,” according to Bartling.

“He is not an experienced wrestler, yet showed he could be a force for the next three years,” Bartling said.

Sophomore Braeden Kleinschmit (132) was able to return to State, but was unable to secure a win in Omaha.

“Braeden has already amassed 74 career wins, putting him on the top 10 all-time wins list at Cedar,” Bartling said. “Next year, he will get to his 100th win and will be looking to be only the second three-time qualifier in school history.”

Seniors Weston Heine (182) and Keegan Carl (113) also gave Bartling reason to espouse on their contributions during their respective careers.

“For Weston to go through everything that life threw at him, to what he was able to accomplish this season, was truly amazing,” Bartling said. “For Keegan, the fouryear- long journey was finally complete with a trip to State. He will finish in the top 10 all-time wins list as well and definitely left his mark on this program.

“Both seniors will be missed for their leadership and work ethic and I was proud to be a small part of their high school careers.”

Now it’s on to the future as the program has a strong spine with four veteran State grapplers returning.

“Next season is going to be another season full of excitement for our program,” Bartling said. “Not only do we have four returning State qualifiers, but our other team members are improving by the day. We will also be adding some great freshmen next year and I truly believe that these State runs will continue to be the new norm for Cedar Catholic.”