State Wrestling Tournament
April 1, 2020
The state wrestling tournament was held on the weekend of Feb. 22nd, and high school boys and their supporters from all over Nebraska corralled at the CHI Health Center. The tournament lasted for three days, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and on the last day the state champs were declared. Central’s own Emilio Haynes got second place at state, saying that he was slightly disappointed because his older brother, a Central alum, placed first at state a few years ago.
“It was my last match of my high school career, and it meant a lot to win it. Deep down, I know somewhere in my father’s head he’s kind of disappointed, only because I know he feels that I should’ve won.” Haynes elaborated.
Preparing for state looked a lot like regular practice, according to Coach Jimmie Foster. “It’s all about routine and repetition,” Foster said. “Some programs change things up when it’s time for a big competition. They usually don’t do well.”
Nine athletes qualified for state this year, which seems to be normal for Central. Ten is the record and Foster said there have been eight and nine qualifiers in years past. Haynes attributes the number of qualifiers to their non-stop practice.
“Individually, I train two to three times a day. As a team, I try to dedicate a lot of time in the wrestling room, and I reach out for extra opportunities for them to get better,” Haynes said. “The ones that have the heart and desire will be willing to put forth the effort.”
Haynes also explained that his coaches and teammates support each other simply by being there. The coaches are involved academically and show value to their team as more than just players, but as people. “So far as the kids, I treat them like my cousins. When you’re involved in your teammate’s lives, there’s a different connection that helps motivate and drive them.”
Coach Foster doesn’t necessarily want his wrestlers to wrestle year-round, he just wants them to stay active. “We don’t have a regimented program that we do each summer.” He said.
The difference this year, Foster explained, was that there were more people going to compete in state, rather than just going for the experience. “Sometimes, we’ll qualify some guys for state and they’re basically going there to get some experience. This year, we qualified guys that could actually medal at the state tournament.” Out of the nine wrestlers that qualified for state, eight of them are now state medalists.