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New book chronicles history of Omaha Skutt Catholic wrestling team
Exit Zero Publishing

It was the fall of 1993 when Brad Hildebrandt and R.J. Nebe walked into the office of Father James Gilg, president of the brand-new Skutt Catholic High School in Omaha, Nebraska.

Gilg received an idea of what lay ahead with the two enthusiastic young coaches.

“We will win a state championship within five years,” Hildebrandt proclaimed.

“I sure hope it happens,” Gilg said.

But Gilg had his doubts. And indeed that first season began unceremoniously – in one of its first events Skutt went a combined 0-24 after its wrestlers were pinned in all 24 matches.

Undeterred, the two young coaches, armed with an unwavering work ethic and a steely determination, set about creating one of the most successful sports programs in Nebraska history.

But while the Skutt program was breaking records en route to winning 14 Class B state titles, it was also dealing with a series of tragedies that struck the very heart of this tight-knit wrestling family.

The Skutt wrestling program’s story is captured in a new book by USA Wrestling’s Craig Sesker.

The book – “Driven to Excellence – Faith, triumph and tragedy… the story of the Omaha Skutt Catholic wrestling program” – is now available to the public.

“This is a great read,” said Scott Casber of Takedown Radio. “Sesker artfully weaves periodic triumph on the mat with human tragedy in a new book that at once will pull at your heart. Read the book that has America's wrestling community talking.”

Click here and scroll down to order the book

This is Sesker’s second book. His first book – “Bobby Douglas: Life and Legacy of an American Wrestling Legend” – was published in 2011. The book is available at

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