The Grand Island Senior High wrestling team wants to add one more level of success to its season.
The Islanders have won nine tournaments, including their fifth consecutive state championship last weekend. They want to bring home the first-ever state dual tournament trophy home as well.
Grand Island, who had three champions and five other medalists in last week’s state tournament, is the top seed in the dual tournament, which will begin competition against Lincoln Southwest at 3 p.m. Saturday at the UNK Health and Sports Center. Everyone is guaranteed three duals.
GISH coach Mike Schadwinkel said the Islanders expended a lot of energy in last week’s state tournament. But he said that it won’t be a problem getting them ready to wrestle this weekend.
“It’s time to get them convinced them to climb one more hill,” Schadwinkel said. “I think later on in the week once they get recovered and when Saturday gets here, they’ll be ready to wrestle.”
Dante Rodriguez (120 pounds), Trey Trujillo (132) and Chase Reis (195) were the state champions for the Islanders, while John Mottl (fifth, 113), Matt Bolan (second, 126), Haris Talundzic (fifth, 182), Javy Silva (second, 220) and Juan Medina (fifth, 285) were the other medalists.
What Schadwinkel likes about a dual is that it gets everyone like qualifiers Blake Coen and Jose Ceballos, along with non-qualifiers Brian Najera and others involved to help the team out.
Schadwinkel said he and other teams might mix their lineups around to get the right matchups.
“It will be interesting to see how everybody handles their lineup,” Schadwinkel said. “We’ll have an opportunity to throw some other kids into the lineup and get some matches in. That’s the neat thing in a program’s standpoint.”
Schadwinkel said he expects some tough duals during the tournament. After its dual with Southwest, Grand Island will take on either Millard West or Millard South.
“It’s going to be interesting. I think Southwest provides an interesting challenge in the first round because they have quality wrestlers and a nice balance team,” Schadwinkel said. “The semifinals are a little more scary because of Millard South and they are always well coached. They are very good at winning duals.”
Schadwinkel said the thing that the Islanders will have do to be successful is to not get put into a bad situation, like getting pinned, and try to get the bonus points whenever possible.
“That’s basically the big scheme of things,” Schadwinkel said. “We need to stay off our backs. That’s six points given up right there. We need to get the pins. If we don’t, we need to get bonus points. Those help you tremendously in a dual.”
Central City is using this weekend to actually make it a full season.
The Bison, who won the Class C state title with four individual champions and one other medalist last weekend, were set back with gladiatorum — or, as the wrestling world calls it, mat herpes — during the middle part of the season and were forced to be on lockdown because of it. A few members missed the Central City Invite, while the whole team did not wrestle at the Nebraska City duals.
“We’re approaching this as if it was bonus wrestling,” Central City coach Darin Garfield said. “The kids also look at getting the meet that we missed back. I’m excited about it and the kids are excited about it.”
It also gives Garfield one last time to watch seniors Kolby Lenhart, Kyle Sutton, three-time champion Jake Anderson and Jake Brown, who all captured individual championships last weekend.
“Their careers aren’t done yet and it will be good to see them get a couple more matches in,” Garfield said.
Central City will take on Wilber-Clatonia at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Sargent/Burwell also qualified into the tournament after finishing second in the C-4 district two weeks ago.
The Bulldogs/Longhorns, who had two medalists in Evan Gideon (fifth, 132) and Dakota Divine (fifth, 285) and five other qualifiers from last week’s state tournament, will battle Madison at 8:30 a.m. Saturday.
Coach Luke Gideon said Sargent/Burwell is excited about competing in the dual tournament.
“We like the dual format and I think it’s more fan friendly a little bit,” coach Gideon said. “We like our chances of being in it. I think we have a solid team all the way through. It should be fun for the kids and hopefully we can get something done.”
The High Plains wrestling team is looking for a little redemption after last week’s state tournament.
The Storm, who finishing second in the D-1 district in qualifying six wrestlers, had a disappointing state tournament with only two medalists in Brandon Burruss (sixth, 120) and Cale Bolton (fourth, 138). High Plains will battle Bayard at 3 p.m. Saturday.
High Plains coach Norm Manstedt said the Storm, who had six state qualifiers last week, said he expects the Storm to be hungry to compete at the dual tournament.
“I don’t think we had the greatest state tournament last weekend, so our guys are hungry to make up for a few things that didn’t go our way,” Manstedt said. “It’s not that we didn’t wrestle hard, we lost a lot of close matches. The kids have pretty good attitudes and had great workouts this week. I think they will be ready to go when Saturday gets here.”