2018 State Preview
February 23, 2018
With the regular season drawing to end, the State tournaments for winter sports are rapidly approaching. Wrestling, swimming, and basketball will all represent Central at these tournaments. As they begin preparing for these tournaments, the coaches gave a slight preview of their expectations.
Wrestling will be the earliest state competition, running from February 16-18. To qualify for the state tournament, wrestlers have to place in the top four in their weight class at the District Wrestling Meet. Jacob Frezell-McClinton, Tre`Vion Williams, Deon Davis, and Emilio Haynes all secured spots for the State Wrestling Tournament.
“I hope we do well [at State],” head coach Jimmie Foster said. “We’ve worked hard this season and I think we have a chance to see some really good performances.”
Following the State Wrestling Tournament is the state swim meet. The meet falls on February 22-24. To qualify, swimmers either must swim a specific time in their event during a meet or be one of the top thirty-six best swimmers of that event in the state. Abbey Craig, Maggie Germonprez, Jessi Ferguson, Christina Spomer, and Quinn Williams all have received automatic qualifications in their events.
“We are looking to get more automatic times,” assistant coach Brendon Smith said. “It’s the only way they can get in the swim meet in a for sure way.”
To prepare for the upcoming meets, swimmers have begun tapering to assure they swim their best times possible at these meets. The practices have gradually become easier as the team prepares both mentally and physically for the meet.
“The thing with state is that there is so much adrenaline and competition and all the other swimmers at the top of their game, it usually pushes the individuals to move a little faster, try a little harder,” Smith said. “It’s not uncommon for the majority of the team to get a [personal record] at these kinds of meets.”
The rivalries between schools also motivates the swimmers to perform at their highest capacity.
“Our most direct competition is like Millard North; we always like to compete with Millard North,” head coach Kristoff Berzins said.
But the coaches are optimistic for the swimmers’ performance at state.
“The athletes will push themselves a little bit harder because they know it’s something they can achieve,’ Smith said.
The final state tournament for winter sports is boys’ basketball. The tournament is from March 8-10. Currently, the team stands at 19-4 and is ranked eighth in the state. These standings motivate the players to perform well through the last of the regular season.
“Hopefully we can finish strong through our last games and win our district tournament for state,” head coach Eric Behrens said.
A district tournament win is the only way for a team to qualify for state the state tournament. Behrens is fairly confident in the team’s ability to perform well.
“I think we’ll host districts, which means that we’ll be the top seed in our district,” Behrens said. “But you got to play the games. In Nebraska Class A is really competitive this year and there are a lot of good teams, so I mean it would be something we would home to do, but no guarantees”
But the team has been exposed to the format of state through the Metro Conference Holiday tournament that they had won. The medley of games mimics the quick-pace of the State tournament.
“I thought it was very good for state tournament preparation,” Behrens said. “You play a game, you come back that night and all that you can do is watch film and do a little preparation on the court, which is exactly what state is.”
If the team wins at the District Tournament, the team will face a sudden-death bracket.
“The whole season is about getting to state, and once you’re at state it’s like a three-game season,” Behrens said. “Whoever plays the best for those three games wins.”
But Behrens is confident in the team’s ability to perform.
“You just have to go down and play every game, hope that you shoot well and rebound and do all the things it takes to win a game,” Behrens said.