The Grand Island Senior High wrestling team competed at the Rumble on the Red in Fargo, North Dakota, last week.
The Islanders, rated No. 7 in the Nebraska Scholastic Wrestling Coaches Association Class A team standings, did quite well as they finished ninth with 104 points, had three medalists and had every wrestler who competed win at least two matches. That came against some of the top teams from Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana.
“They really wrestled like warriors at that tournament,” Morrison said. “It was awesome for them to wrestle matches that were inspiring against some outstanding competition. We came up short in a few matches. It was a great atmosphere and it was ran very well. We were definitely thankful to be a part of it.”
Skylar Schmidt was GISH’s highest finisher as he took second. The Class A No. 2-rated Islander at 126 pounds posted wins over some of the top wrestlers in Minnesota, according to the The Guillotine ratings. Two of those included a 3-2 win over Scott West’s Keaten Schorr, rated No. 2 in Class AA, in the quarterfinals and a 9-4 win over Adrian’s Skylar Hieronimus, rated No. 3 in Class A, in the semifinals. He lost to Tyler Waterson of Spearfish, South Dakota, 5-2 in the finals.
“That was really impressive for him to get second there but how he got there was equally impressive,” Morrison said. “He wrestled some really well-rounded technique wrestlers that were tough. I wasn’t sure if he was going to pull out some matches but he showed time and time again that he can stay focused for two days and get the job done. That was great for him to lead our team the way he did. He showed a lot of mental toughness there.”
Chris Doty, No. 5 at 152, and Gage Grinnell, No. 3 at 285, also brought home medals. Doty finished seventh, while Grinnell came in eighth. Morrison said he was pleased with their performances.
“They put together a good meet as well and they responded well after some tough losses,” Morrison said. “They put those aside and got ready for the next matches and that showed a lot of character to fire back for the team like that.”
Blake Coen, No. 5 at 145, and Brett Garcia, No. 5 at 220, were one match away from medaling, while Eliceo Ramirez (106), Emerson Urbina (113), Kolton Sliva (120), Zack Kuta (132), Tim Reis (160) and Joey Rodriguez (170) all won at least two matches during the tournament.
Morrison said all the Islanders showed a lot of mental toughness.
“We had kids who really wrestled well for us last week who could have placed,” Morrison said. “We won so many matches that involved so much mental toughness that could have gone either way. That is as much mental as it is physical so if anything was taken away from the tournament, it’s showing you have to grind in every match and that’s what everyone showed.”
Morrison said there are still plenty of challenges during the rest of the season. The Islanders have duals at No. 2 Kearney Jan. 26 and Class B No. 1 Omaha Skutt Feb. 5 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln. The also have the Heartland Athletic Conference tournament Jan. 16 at Lincoln Southwest and the Top of the Rockies tournament Jan. 22-23 at Lafayette, Colorado.
“We’ve got some tough ones coming up so we’ll need to be ready to go,” Morrison said.
Morrison said he’s been pleased with how the season has gone so far.
“We have a great group of kids who are very hard workers,” Morrison said. “There’s a lot of the freshman who have the desire to be the guy someday and that’s exciting. The seniors are doing a great job of leading and taking everyone in. Everyone has been training together and are friends and that helps bring the best out of people.”
Grand Island, No. 4 in the NSWCA Class A dual rankings, wrestles North Platte at 7 p.m. Thursday at GISH.
Ord’s Svoboda to walk-on at Nebraska
Ord’s Cade Svoboda will continue his wrestling career at the next level.
The Chant senior will walk on at the University of Nebraska next season. Svoboda made the decision Jan. 3.
Svoboda is currently 14-0 on the season and ranked No. 1 in Class C at 182 pounds. He has a career record of 103-32, is a two-time state qualifier and finished second in Class C at 170 his junior season.
Svoboda and the Chants host Plainview Friday, then will compete in the Central City Invite Saturday.
There were a few wrestlers in the area who have gained 100 wins on the season.
Svoboda, Northwest’s Austin Cooper, Wood River’s Wyatt Allen and Gibbon’s Ozzy Rodriguez are a few of those wrestlers to gain those milestones this season.