From Victory to Legacy

Patriots wrestling cements itself as a dynasty
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Sophomore Kiernan Meink goes head to head with wrestler from Norfolk High School during dual.
Sophomore Kiernan Meink goes head to head with wrestler from Norfolk High School during dual.
Jamison Hanway

For athletes, a championship is usually seen as the end goal, a chance to show that for a moment in time, you were the very best at your sport. Unfortunately, however, titles can often fade into the past and be forgotten by others. This is different from a dynasty as a dynasty will be remembered seemingly forever. 

The Patriots Wrestling Team can now separate themselves as a dynasty as they have now won 9 out of the last 10 state championships including 6 in a row, which tied the Class A state record, to give them 12 state championships overall. The Patriots also had 3 individual state champions this year.

“It felt great,” senior 165-pound champion Henry Reilly said. “We’re one of the best teams to ever compete in Nebraska. I also made relationships that will last a lifetime, so I just feel really blessed to be a part of it.”

“It means a lot to me,” junior 150-pound champion Logan Glynn said. “The guys are family at this point because I spend so much time with them. So, it definitely means a lot to me because I really care a lot about the guys on the team.”

“I think it was our grit and ability to overcome adversity,” head coach Nate Olson said. “For example, we had 9 guys make the semifinals Friday night and only four of them won. So, those other 5 guys had to come off their toughest loss of the season and still score some points for the team and they were all able to do it. So, I think overcoming that adversity, being mentally tough, really helped us.”

The journey was never going to be easy for the Patriots as they had a target on their backs the entire season after having the largest victory ever in last year’s state championship.

“We had practices 6 to 7 times a week and I worked out every day,” Reilly said. “After losing last year at state, for me it has been a non-stop grind and really it has been that way for the last 4 years. When you put that much work into a sport, you are going to get a lot out of it because of the work you put in.”

“I had to really believe in myself and trust that God had my back,” Glynn said. “I had to stay calm and trust the preparations I made going into state.”

“We knew we had to go out and do the things that we had done all season,” Olson said. “We’ve pushed ourselves to the breaking point all season and we have worked hard with all individuals. We felt prepared going in so I don’t think the kids felt the stress or pressure so they were able to go out and give their best.”

The Patriots were the overwhelming favorite to win the state championship all season but that did not stop them from outworking the competition and getting better as individuals and as a team all season.

“It was kind of a shortened season because of my knee injury,” Reilly said. “For me, it was all about keeping going, staying healthy, and getting the job done right.”

“The biggest part was following what the coaches were telling me and putting in the work outside the wrestling room so I could stay mentally focused,” Glynn said.

We’ve pushed ourselves to the breaking point all season and we have worked hard with all individuals. We felt prepared going in so I don’t think the kids felt the stress or pressure so they were able to go out and give their best.

— Head Coach Nate Olson

“I think pushing them through practice helped a lot,” Olson said. “Then, putting them through a gauntlet of tough tournaments. I feel like that prepared them for making the state tournament just another tournament instead of putting on the pressure to win another state championship.”

With the battle now complete, the Patriots can now look back on this incredible season as well as look forward to the future where they will look to continue what has already been a dominant decade.

“I think to have success we need to keep the same tough schedule,” Olson said. “That makes the kids think about ways to win. Every time they wrestle, they go up against the top wrestlers in the state or whatever region we are in. So, keeping the tough schedule and continuing to practice the way we have been is really going to help us grow as a team.”

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