By Kris House
Tanner Johnson was Gordon/Rushville’s lone wrestler at the State Meet this past weekend and came home as the Class C 220 lb. State Champion. Tanner is the third Mustang to win the gold; Dayne Reddy was the last in 2008. Together Rushville, Gordon and the Mustangs have produced 46 state titles since the first two that Gordon produced in 1967. Tanner’s older brother, Brandon, brought home the gold his senior year in 2004.
Johnson, scored 25 “team” points and finished 27th out of 54 Class C teams. To give one an idea how tough Class C District 4 was this year, five of the top 10 teams at state came from this district.
Thursday morning, Tanner’s opponent was the silver medalist from district one, Carson Homolka from Wilber-Clatonia. The first two minutes went scoreless. The second period ended with Carson scoring on an escape and Tanner getting a takedown. The match ended 4-1, as Tanner was awarded another take down. In the quarterfinals Tanner’s opponent was senior Neil Samek from David City. The only scoring in the first period came from Tanner getting a takedown and three points for a near pin. The match went the entire six minutes with Tanner winning 11-3.
With the two wins on Thursday morning Tanner was headed to the Semi-finals on Friday night to face Chase Ehlers, the district one’s champion from South Central Unified. Johnson wasted no time. He pinned Ehlers in sixty-four seconds.
Tanner’s opponent in the finals would be a familiar face to him, Brent Hoerler from Bridgeport, the district’s champion. The two had met twice prior to the finals, last year at districts and this winter at Western Trails. Tanner had won both times. With this being both wrestlers’ last match of their high school career, they were both determined to come out on top. It was a battle with both boys scoring points in all three periods. At the final buzzer, Tanner was the Champion, with the match ending 10-5.
Tanner finishes the year with a record of 36-4 and a two year record of 66-22. He is a true example of setting goals and never giving up. Tanner never won a match his freshman year but continued to work hard and never quit. His sports won’t end this month. Tanner plans on going out for track this spring. Then next fall he will attend college in Kearney and will play football for the Lopers.