Helmick wins 1 of 3 at nationals
Chance Helmick, junior of Beatrice, 174-pounds, went 1-2 at the NCAA D-II Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama, Friday to end his season with a record of 33-8.
“The competition level is a lot higher, as in the intensity and pressure,” Helmick said. “Everyone at the national tournament is there with the same goal and very high skill. Often it comes down to one mistake or one moment in a match.”
Head Coach Brett Hunter said that Helmick was prepared for the match-ups at nationals.
“He wrestled a tough schedule this year,” Hunter said. “The opponents were not better than him. Chance wasn’t star struck by any means at the tournament; it just wasn’t his weekend.”
A two-time Nebraska high school state champion for Beatrice, Helmick joined the Eagle squad for the 2014-15 season.
“Winning two state championships helped me with my confidence and getting to this level,” Helmick said. “Winning a state championship doesn’t help your technique or reach the level of wrestling I am at. It was just a small stepping stone.”
Helmick started wrestling when he was 4 years old.
“My dad introduced me to the sport and I liked it right away,” Helmick said. “It’s a testament of the type of man you are. No excuses, whatever happens you determine the outcome. No one else. You v. the other guy to see who trained harder and who wants it more.”
He competed for the Eagles his freshman year and ended with a record of 12-10 before going 31-9 during his sophomore season. He finished sixth at the Super Region IV Tournament in 2016.
This year, Helmick improved to third at the regional tournament. He was ranked seventh going into postseason and was sporting a 21-win streak when he lost his first match at the regional tournament.
“Chance had a heck of a season and was pretty dominant,” Hunter said. “He is definitely known now nationally and will have a target on his back from here on out. I am very proud of Chance and what he accomplished; he helped put CSC on the map.”
With Helmick’s appearance, CSC has sent at least one wrestler to the national tournament for 49 consecutive seasons. The last wrestler to place nationally was in 2013, and the last national champion was Hunter in 2009.
Helmick said that the national tournament felt electric and each match mattered more.
“Fans are louder,” Helmick said. “Everything is done at a higher level than regular season.”
Helmick won his first match of the national tournament against Clayton Jennissen of St. Cloud State University, St. Cloud, Minnesota. The senior of Cambridge, Minnesota, was ranked No. 7 at the tournament.
Helmick marked the one and only takedown of the match and tacked on one more point for an escape, but allowed Jennissen two escapes to narrow the lead to 3-2 in Helmick’s favor.
No. 11 Dalton George, of Ohio Valley, Vienna, West Virgina, handed Helmick his first loss of the tourney. The sophomore of Williamstown, West Virgina, went on to finish sixth in the tournament. Helmick earned an escape early in the dual but George marked a takedown, reversal, and back points in the first two periods to put Helmick down 8-1. Helmick turned it on in the third though, marking an escape, takedown, near fall, and stalling points to narrow the gap. But wasn’t quite enough as George won 8-7.
Junior of Merriam, Kansas, Cody Carson, of Central Missouri University, Warrensburg, ended Helmick’s season. Carson went up 8-2 at the end of the first period with a takedown, near fall worth four, and another take down after a Helmick escape. Helmick was able to escape a second time to bring him up to 2. The pair traded reversals in the second to leave the score 10-4, but Carson escaped in the third. He was charged with a stalling point to end the score 11-5.
Helmick said he is eligible for his senior season and a redshirt season still and he said he needs to work on his offense and grow physically and technically to improve.
“I will be back and better, whether it is next year or the following year as I still have my redshirt available,” Helmick said.
“Chance needs to find a couple more offensive attacks in order to separate himself from the pack,” Hunter said, affirming Helmick’s claims. “He needs to work hard this summer.”
There is no rest though for the dedicated athlete.
“There is no point in relaxing if your goals are not met,” Helmick said. “I have nothing to celebrate or relax for. I have little time left to meet my goals.”
Hunter also said there is no time for resting.
“As a staff we are recruiting hard now and bringing kids in for visits,” Hunter said. “As a program we started our post season Monday.”