Escandon semifinals

Gibbon’s Daniel Escandon (top) returns to defend his 126-pound state championship and spearhead the Buffaloes’ efforts to improve their team results.

GIBBON — With a state champion in the room, along with half a dozen other letterwinners, the Gibbon wrestling team will not be overlooked this year.

Coach John Bisbee returns to the corner chair after a one-year hiatus to begin his 14th year with the Buffaloes.

“Our goal is to improve on last season and to be more competitive in duals,” he said. “We will have a number of freshmen who will step into varsity spots right away.”

Senior state champion Daniel Escandon will set the pace for the Buffaloes. He went 25-3 while winning the Class C, 126-pound title. He likely will move up a weight class this year.

“We certainly will work hard to get him back on top of the podium this season,” Bisbee said.

In addition to the older Escandon, sophomore Jose Escandon went 23-8 as a freshman, while Andrew Aguilar is a two-year letterman who won 18 matches last year.

Other returning letterwinners are sophomore Junior Tovar, junior Elijah Harper, sophomore Carlos Tamayo and sophomore Chance Yockey. However none of them had a winning record as Gibbon finished seventh at the LouPlatte Conference tournament and had a dual record of 2-16.

“ We will also look to qualify a few more wrestlers this year and hope to earn additional state hardware,” Bisbee said.

Gibbon opens the season Thursday with a dual at Ord.

Boys Basketbal;

Plenty of experience and a deep bench should help the GIbbon boys basketball team improve on its 7-17 mark.

Coach David Benge, in his fourth year, returns five starters and a total of 10 lettermen.

Senior Chi Onate has lettered since he was a freshman. A 6-foot-4 senior, he was second-team All-LPC last year.

Nathan Holcomb, a 5-10 senior point guard, is a three-year letterman who was honorable mention All-LPC last year.

Other starters back and 5-10 senior guard Ben Willey, 5-9 senior guard Chase Capek and 5-9 junior guard Matthew Weismann.

Other veterans on the squad are junior Kale Pickel, a 6-foot post, and sophomores Braxton Smith (6-2), Konner Hyde (6-6), Kadin Hines (5-10), Jacob Kucera (6-2), Michell Sell (6-2), Jace Bombeck (5-8) and Dylan Davis (6-3).

“We are looking to take the next step as a program,” Benge said. “We have made some large strides toward competing consistently and have given ourselves more chances to win, but now it’s time to start finishing off some of the close games and turn the close losses into close victories.

“We have a lot of returning experience and a younger group full of potential so I am really excited to see what we do with our opportunities in the upcoming 2019-20 season.”

The Buffaloes open the season Thursday playing host to St. Paul.

Girls Basketball

With five returning starters, the Gibbon girls have no doubt they’re on the rise.

“With only losing one senior from last year’s squad, we will look to the leadership of the upperclassmen and will count on their experience to better last year’s 2-20 record,” coach Chelsey Jacobitz said. “The team has set high expectations for themselves and has worked hard in the off-season.”

Jacobitz is in her first full season as the Buffs head coach after having to step in at times the past two years as an interim while coach Jim Martensen dealt with health issues so she is familiar with the talent that includes returning starters Baylee Rockefeller, a 5-7 senior guard; Jane Bentley, a 5-6 senior guard; Kaylee Palmieri, a 5-8 senior forward; senior Abby Christensen, a 5-5 senior forward; and Yahyda Castaneda, a 5-7 junior goard.

Other returnign eltterwinners are Claire Kee, a 5-3 senior forward; Jalyssa Gillming, a 5-4 junior guard; Samantha Walker, a 5-6 junior guard/forward; Desirae Nunez, a 5-8 junior forward; Alissa Bailey, a 5-4 junior forward; Aleah Onate, a 5-3 sophomore guard; and Lindsay Wilkens, a 5-5 sophomore guard.

The Buffs open the season with St. Paul, which is coming off a state runner-up finish in volleyball.

@HubSports_Buck

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