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Alex Bridgeford & Ron Coleman: Two For the Ages
By Will Cummings
This past Thursday, I did something I never did before; I attended the Nebraska High School State Wrestling Tournament—boy have I been missing out!
The venue (Qwest Center) alone is enough to impress, but when you factor in the significant number of fans that somehow managed to attended an—early–morning, weekday, first round session and you get to experience the precision in which the event was ran, and top it all off by getting a chance to see some outstanding athletes and a few of the best high school wrestlers in state history do their thing; well, it makes for a very enjoyable time. Below are some of the athletes that impressed me the most:
Alex Bridgeford 140 lb—The nations No. 2 ranked 140 pound high school wrestler out of Omaha Burke high school had a phenomenal high school career that includes smashing the all-time career takedown record and three state titles.
“Watching Alex Bridgeford wrestle is like watching Michael Jordan play basketball at the top of his game!”
Before Bridgeford even hits the mat, you know by the way that he carries himself that there is something special about the kid, who exudes confidence out of every pore of his body. I feel fortunate for the opportunity to have seen a live state tournament performance of perhaps the best wrestler in the history of Nebraska. Yea, he is that good!
Ronald “THE LEGEND” Coleman, 285lb— “Perhaps a legend in the making” is how I described him in our 2008 Preseason All -Metro Football Watch List. Now let’s drop the “perhaps.” A heavyweight champion as a freshman? Ridiculous! And now he has three state titles: two heavyweight titles and now a super heavy title to go along with his 2008 Nebraska Super State First Team football honors. This kid is a beast! What’s Pelini and company waiting for?
Josh Kage, 285 lb—He almost upset The Legend in the finals, losing by just one point (3-2). Despite the loss, Kage is still in the running for the best boys athlete in the state. The North Dakota football bound Kage is also one of the best shot put and disc throwers in the Nebraska. Folks, this young man is just getting started.
Cody Hobbs, 171lb—The 2008/2009 Class A 171lb Champion is only a junior and the Creighton Prep fullback and D-1 prospect looked every bit as impressive on the mat as he does running the ball on the football field.
Nick Mizaur, 189lb—Oh, what a way to end the tournament with a semi-final round DQ when you were ahead. Nevertheless, Mizuar is one impressive athlete, look out for him on the gridiron in 2009.
Austin Williams, 160lb—The Burke junior, had a very strong season wrestling at 160, even though he had to shed some serious weight to get there. Yet, the Bulldog linebacker has the frame, toughness and athleticism and the proven ability on the field to garner some recruiting attention.
Unfortunately, there was one big-time junior that I had anticipated seeing on the mat, but Creighton Prep D-1 defensive tackle prospect, Jeff Uher, reportedly broke his leg during a practice session on the day before the state tournament.
We wish Jeff a speedy recovery!