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Culver celebrates first wrestling title in a big way

A first-time state championship is worthy of a two-day celebration.
   That's just what Culver did to honor its 2A/1A wrestling title team. It started with a team awards ceremony Saturday eve. A parade and barbecue followed Sunday.
   "So many places during the season we had holes in the dike," Culver coach J.D. Alley said. "We managed to find a finger to fill a hole each time."
   Alley and his assistant coaches handed out letters to 30 Bulldog wrestlers. Culver sent the maximum of 28 to district, two were allowed per weight class.
   "That was a goal and we achieved it," Alley said. "A few guys had to wrestle at a different weight since we couldn't have three at one weight."
   Nick Barany, a freshman wrestling at 215 pounds, received the outstanding rookie award.
   "He was always wrestling guys older than he was," Alley said. "It's a true rarity to have a big, young kid you can count on. So often they're finding their way in this sport. We could count on Nick."
   Jake Nelson, the state champ at 103 as a junior, received the team's most outstanding wrestler award.
   "Jake is like a good lead-off hitter in baseball; he gets the team rolling," Alley said.
   The most inspirational award went to Levi Roberts, the senior state champ at 145.
   "That says what kind of team we had," Alley said. "We don't have any cheerleaders who yell and scream. We had guys like Levi who led by example."
   Team captain awards went to Miguel Baltazar, a state champ at 125; Jeremy Thompson, finalist at 130; and Roberts.
   "They all represent our season," Alley said. "They were solid, consistent performers."
   The Bulldog award, a special award noted Alley, went to Terry Nelson. The senior's wrestling career ended due to a neck injury but he served as an assistant coach this season.