OMAHA – Spencer Warner solidified his reputation as one of Nebraska’s best wrestlers in his weight class with his work during the regular season.
He bolstered that resume this weekend by earning one of the top medals at the state meet.
The Louisville senior captured second place at 152 pounds during the Class C State Meet. He swept both of his matches on Thursday and won his semifinal bout Friday night. Crofton/Bloomfield’s Jaden Janssen edged Warner 3-2 in Saturday afternoon’s championship match.
Warner began his work on Thursday with a pair of quick pins. He defeated Wood River’s Camden Thompson in 1:44 in the first round and stopped Gordon-Rushville’s Conner Halverson in 2:46 in the quarterfinals.
Warner then returned to CenturyLink Center Omaha Friday night for the semifinals. He squared off with Battle Creek’s Blake Heller for the right to advance to the championship round. Warner secured the ticket to the title match by pinning Heller in 1:37. He said he used his past experience against Heller to his advantage in the semifinals.
“I wanted to come out aggressive against him,” Warner said. “I pinned him last year at state, so I knew I wanted to take it to him right away. I wanted to go for it and have the match get done as quickly as possible, because he has the ability to be pretty dangerous if he gets the chance. Tonight played out exactly like I had hoped it would.”
Warner said it was exhilarating to know he had earned a chance to wrestle for a state title. A large smile stayed on his face after he left the mat and walked to one of the arena’s locker rooms.
“It’s outstanding,” Warner said. “It’s everything I dreamed it would be like.”
Warner battled Janssen in front of thousands of fans in one of Saturday’s first matchups. He scored an early takedown and led 2-1 after two periods. Officials gave Janssen one point on a stalling call early in the third period and Janssen used an escape to go ahead 3-2 with 1:20 left. He held off Warner in the final minute to win the state championship.
Janssen (34-5) had been ranked third in Class C before the tournament. He advanced to the title match with a 4-1 victory over Logan View’s Nolan Miller, a 3-1 overtime triumph over Wilber-Clatonia’s Cooper Bates and a 2-1 decision over Broken Bow’s Joel Myers. Bates had been 43-0 prior to meeting Janssen and Myers had owned a 47-2 mark.
Warner finished his season 51-2. He ended his Louisville career with a school-best 155 victories. Warner was a two-time state tournament medalist and a four-time medalist at the East Central Nebraska Conference Meet. He won league titles at 138 pounds as a sophomore and 152 pounds as a senior.