The Grand Island Senior High wrestling team finished its final dual of the season in style.
And did it at home.
The senior class helped make that happen as the Class A No. 5-rated Islanders (NSWCA) earned a 45-29 victory over Kearney Thursday at Senior High.
The seniors who competed in the dual went 6-3, with all of the winners getting pins, which pleased GISH coach Joey Morrison.
“Our seniors finished what’s already been awesome careers for each and every one of them, as a team and individuals as well,” he said. “We’re happy that this group stuck together for so many years and continue to grow with each other. It was a nice night for everyone to not only win together but compete together and be together.”
Grand Island led 6-5 after two matches after getting a pin from Madden Kontos at 106 pounds, while Kearney scored a technical fall at 113 from Archer Heelan (No. 3).
Seniors Juan Pedro, Jr. (No. 2 at 113 but moved up to 120), Blake Cushing (No. 2 at 126, up to 132) and Rogelio Ruiz (No. 6 at 132, up to 138) all moved up a weight class but all recorded pins, while junior Ein Obermiller scored a 5-2 win over Perry Swarm at 126 as the Islanders built a 27-5 lead.
Later in the dual, seniors Kolby Lukasiewicz (No. 6 at 160), Daylon Keolavone (195) and Micael Isele (No. 4 at 285) got pins to close out the dual for Grand Island.
“Juan and Blake both get first-period pins for us and Rogelio just get one in the final seconds (5:57) left. Those three, along with Ein, move up a weight class and get a win in those matches for us,” Morrison said. “Kolby was great on top and got a great single-leg takedown to get that started for him. And what special athletes Daylon and Michael are for us and they use their athletic abilities really well.”
However, Grand Island wasn’t able to get a win in what was probably the match of the night at 145 pounds. In a match of rated wrestlers, No. 4 Beau Hostler outlasted No. 2 Brody Arrants by scoring an escape with six seconds left to win 4-3 in the ultimate tiebreaker.
“That was a great match between two really good kids. They’ve wrestled some great matches before with Brody coming out on top,” Morrison said. “It just came down to execution. You got to be first sometimes and tonight we were second in some positions. We came up short but I’m confident with Brody that he’ll respond very well after that.”
Kearney went 4-3 to finish the night after that win. Gage Ferguson (No. 4 at 152) earned an 8-2 decision, while Tate Kuchera (170), Carter Abels (182) and Dario Rodriguez (No. 3 at 220) all recorded pins for the Bearcats.
Despite the loss, Kearney coach Ty Swarm said he was proud of how Kearney competed against Grand Island.
“I’ve watched a lot of wrestling over the years and I’m most proud of this loss of any loss ever,” Swarm said. “I thought this was the best fight I’ve seen from our kids tonight. They are just better than us. They are a highly ranked team and a senior strong team. I thought we competed very well against them tonight.”
Morrison said he was pleased to get the win over Kearney, who he felt has improved a ton during the season but hopes the Islanders can still improve with the season winding down.
“Kearney is a team that just keeps getting better as the season gone along,” Morrison said. “I knew they improved a ton. It was nice to see our guys step up. It was a good win for us but we’re not done yet. We’ve got some work to do yet. I do think our focus in practice has been top notch and it’s showing on the mat.”
The Islanders are off until the Class A, District 1 Meet, which they are hosting Saturday, Feb. 13 at Senior High.