Some of the best Nebraska has to offer — individuals and teams — cross the river this weekend for one of the top high school wrestling tests in the Midwest.
The two-day Council Bluffs Classic at the Mid-America Center features 40 teams, including two in the national top 50.
Class A No. 1 Millard South is at the event for the first time. The Patriots are ranked No. 44 by InterMat, two spots behind Minnesota power Apple Valley, which is expected to bring its full lineup.
“We’re excited to see how we do against of the better guys around,” Millard South coach Nate Olson said. “I think it’ll test the mettle of some of our more experienced guys. And it’s kind of a state tournament preview — it has that kind of feel — for some of our younger guys.”
Six of Class A’s top 10 teams are in the field, including defending champion Lincoln East and runner-up Kearney.
Teams from five other states will compete, as well.
Apple Valley, ranked No. 2 in Minnesota’s largest class, might be the top name, but two of Iowa’s top five — Waukee and Fort Dodge — in its biggest class will be there. As will Mill Valley, Olathe North and Olathe South, three top 10 teams from Kansas’ 6A.
Then there’s the wrestlers who make up those teams.
Six individuals are in national ratings, including Kearney senior Phillip Moomey.
The Cornell recruit finished third at the Council Bluffs Classic a year ago, falling in the semifinal to eventual champion Brody Teske in a match Moomey led in the third period before losing in the closing moments.
It’s Moomey’s last in-season loss. Teske, who was unbeaten in his high school career to that point, signed with a Penn State program that has won seven of the past eight NCAA team titles.
“I’m pumped for this weekend,” Moomey said. “That loss might have been a negative, but I took a lot of positives from that tournament.”
His 132-pound bracket is expected to have Dallas Koelzer of Olathe South and Mill Valley’s Austin Keal, the two top-ranked wrestlers at the weight in Kansas’ biggest class.
“A great early test,” Moomey said. “It just shows where I’m at not only compared to the state, but the surrounding states, too.”
A potential showdown could be on tap at 170 pounds, where Greyden Penner of Liberty (Mo.) and Waukee’s Anthony Zach are both nationally rated.
Friday’s opening pool matches begin at 1 p.m. Gold and silver brackets will be drawn up for Saturday, with wrestling slated to start at 10 a.m. and finals around 5 p.m.