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OMAHA – A little belief in himself helped Marcus Cave earn a lot of respect from fellow wrestlers across the state this weekend.

The Weeping Water junior earned second place in the 285-pound weight bracket at the Class D State Tournament. Cave completed his season 56-4 and helped the Indians sprint up the team scoreboard at the event. Weeping Water finished 18th in Class D with 34 points.

Cave swept through the first two rounds Thursday with a pair of quick pins. He defeated Arapahoe’s Levi Kerner in five seconds and stopped Hitchcock County’s Gage Petersen in 2:15. He began the second period against Petersen in the down position and scored a reversal right away. He then carried that momentum into a pin.

The two early victories set the stage for a showdown with Arcadia/Loup City’s Jakob Jerabek in Friday night’s semifinals. Jerabek came into the matchup 45-0 and had pinned a majority of his opponents during the season. Cave said he entered the match with an optimistic outlook about his chances for success.

“I knew he was a really good wrestler, but I didn’t worry about him being undefeated,” Cave said. “My dad’s always told me that anybody can be beaten. I tried to have good thoughts going into this and have the best attitude I could. I think that helped me tonight.”

Cave set the tone for the match by hurling the taller Jerabek to the mat for a takedown within the first 15 seconds. Not only did it give him a 2-0 lead, but it also provided him with additional energy for the rest of the evening.

“That got me juiced,” Cave said. “When that happened I thought, ‘It’s go time.” I knew that was something that could give me an edge.”

Cave led 2-1 after the first period and notched a second takedown soon after action restarted in the second stanza. He kept Jerabek on the ground and secured a pin in 2:28. Cave jumped in triumph and pointed to friends and family cheering in the stands. He then embraced head coach Jeremy Strong and assistant coach Charlie Cover after shaking hands with Jerabek.

“I feel so good right now,” Cave said. “It’s great to be able to get to the championship match.”

Cave battled Overton’s Kien Martin (39-4) Saturday afternoon for the Class D title. Martin had advanced to the first-place match with three straight pins. He dispatched Elkhorn Valley’s Christian Yaw in 5:48 in Friday night’s semifinals.

Cave and Martin were deadlocked 0-0 after the first period, and Cave held a 2-1 lead after four minutes had expired. Martin knotted it up at 2-2 with an escape and went ahead 4-2 in the period. Cave sliced the deficit in half at the 0:43 mark and tied it when officials called Martin for stalling with 0:24 left in regulation.

Cave and Martin then battled throughout the overtime period. Martin was able to secure a late takedown to claim the title.

Cave received his second-place medal later Saturday afternoon at an awards ceremony. His state performance capped a season that included championships in the East Central Nebraska Conference Tournament, District D-1 Meet, Central Valley Invite, Louisville Invite, Weeping Water Invite and Cougar Classic.

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