Fort Calhoun Youth Sports Organization wrestlers lined up and were introduced to the crowd Thursday between the high school Pioneers' home triangular duals against Louisville and Platteview.
Those young grapplers then broke the huddle with the 42-36 winners of the night's first matchup.
Coach Drew Welchert's Fort Calhoun squad split its two duals with the six-point win coming against the Lions. It lost 54-18 to the Platteview Trojans.
Overall, the coach liked what he saw from his wrestlers after a positive pause in competition over the holidays.
“As far as how practices went, we had our best winter break that we've had,” Welchert said. “We don't have a ton of wrestling experience, but they like to play the game. They like to wrestle. They like to compete.”
It showed against Louisville as five Pioneers ended their matches by pin. Three of those matches took less than a period.
“They're very intense,” Welchert noted.
Senior 220-pounder Cole Klabunde earned the quickest victory, sticking Tyson Warner to the mat in just 23 seconds.
“I just come out with the same mindset every time,” the FCHS wrestler said. “I find what I'm mad at for the day and I take it out on the mat.”
The Pioneers' Mason Touring added a first-period pin at 170 pounds, while Jesse Hartline did the same at 195. Lance Olberding ended his 120-pound match by fall with just 8 seconds left in the second period and senior 138-pounder Cameron Shaner sewed up the dual with a pin of Aiden Lutz in 2:40.
“It's a confidence booster for us,” Olberding said. “With a win like that, we can move forward on it and keep working to get better.”
Platteview earned its own win against the Lions of Louisville before topping Fort Calhoun in seven of their 11 contested matches. The Pioneers, meanwhile, earned two pins and two decision wins in defeat.
Klabunde earned his second first-period pin of the day before Ethan Shaner capped the dual with a 30-second pin of Maverick Jenson at 160 pounds. The Olberding brothers, meanwhile, had to work a fulle 12 minutes for their two wins.
First, Ely Olberding topped Evan Vertuli 8-5 at 113 pounds. The match was tied 4-all after one period before the FCHS standout, a freshman, went ahead 6-4 in the second.
Vertuli pulled within one in the third period, but Olberding took his back during the final minute of the match for a three-point decision.
Lance Olberding followed up his brother's performance with a 7-3 win over Aiden Riha at 120 pounds, but with a short use of injury time during the third. He wasn't hurt, but he did need a wastebasket to spit up into — just a bit.
“One second,” a smiling coach Welchert said over his shoulder to the referee as tended to the Pioneer.
“I was just feeling a little sick,” Olberding admitted with a grin afterward. He'd scored a reversal to go ahead by four just before the slight heave.
“Well, after that, I kind of got my head straight and I was like, 'OK, I feel a little better now,'” the 120-pounder said. “I went out there, looked at the clock — had about a 1:30 left — so I knew I just needed to go out and ride.”
Olberding's victory was just one of Fort Calhoun's 10 on the day — nine matches and one dual.
“It means the world knowing we're working and we're getting better,” Klabunde said. “Good enough to even beat another team.”
Olberdings place at Aquinas tourney
The Olberding brothers and their Fort Calhoun teammates were at it again Saturday, finishing tied for 10th at the David City Aquinas Invitational.
The Pioneers score 51 team points, while first-place Pierce finished with 167 and the second-place Monarchs had 162.
Ely Olberding, meanwhile, was first at 106 pounds, winning four matches. He bested Thayer Central's Ashton Sinn 3-0 in the finals.
Lance Olberding was third at 113. He was 3-1 with a 3-0 win against Aquinas' Zander Kavan in the bronze-medal match.
Trey McCoy and Hartline reached the consolation semifinals of their brackets, but fell just short of the third-place matches.