Published Thursday, February 20, 2014 at 9:42 pm / Updated at 12:57 am
WRESTLING
'Cool' finish shapes up in tight Class A race

The roof at the CenturyLink Center didn't cave in on Grand Island, but it dripped more than a little on the Islanders' championship hopes.

In their bid for a record-tying sixth consecutive Class A state title, the Islanders got only six of 11 wrestlers through Thursday night's first round and four advanced to Friday's 5 p.m. semifinals.

“We let some matches get away and lost some close matches we needed to win,'' Islanders coach Mike Schadwinkel said. “Our four hammers hammered, each getting two pins, but we have to get help from our supporting cast to stay in this.”

Millard South and Omaha North each have six in the semifinals as they went to the front in Class A. The Patriots lead North 69-63, with Grand Island at 50.

“This is really becoming one of those cool years where the fans on the final day have no idea of the outcome,'' Patriots coach Doug Denson said.

Perennial champions Omaha Skutt in Class B and Amherst in Class D, along with David City in Class C, also were first-day leaders.

Amherst went 14 for 14 in the first round, qualified nine for the semifinals and broke 100 points on the first day.

None of the five wrestlers bidding for his fourth state title met much resistance during the first two rounds. JaVaughn Perkins of Omaha North, Brett Velasquez of Bennington, Colton Adams of Scottsbluff, Will Schany of Blair and Jacob Sebade of Pender combined for eight pins and two technical falls.

Thursday's wet snow re-opened a small leak in the arena roof that dripped onto the mats on the west side of the floor. Meet officials adjusted the mat configuration between sessions.

Millard South got a technical fall from Nathan Rodriguez at 106, a win from Isaac deLoa at 138 and pins from Alex Mendez at 145 and Tyler Calder at 152 before finishing the quarterfinal round with Marc Tompsett's pin at 220 and Terry Jeub's 1-0 win over Andrew Pistillo of Omaha Burke at 285.

“We feel pretty good about that, getting six through,'' said Denson, whose teams reigned four straight years in Class A before Grand Island took over.

“We didn't expect to be in the lead but we'll take it.”

North, which went 9 for 9 in the first round, started the quarterfinals with wins from Otis Rollins at 113 and Robert Ozuna at 126 and a pin from Tyler Jackson at 145.

Jacobi Jones, who meets returning champion Jake Anderson of Omaha Creighton Prep in the semifinals, won 14-5 over Cameron Schlender of Kearney at 170. Perkins got a technical fall at 182 and DeValon Whitcomb won at 220.

North coach Anders Christensen was disappointed that 195-pounder Steven Kirchner lost 6-4 to Norfolk's Kyle Temple in a match that needed score and time corrections in the final 12 seconds.

“I thought (Kirchner) outworked him,'' the coach said. “I thought we competed harder than anybody today.”

Grand Island advanced Andrew Rojas at 138, Billy Thompson at 170, Edgar Silva at 195 and Chase Reis at 220.

Skutt opened a 72-45 lead on Cozad, with Scottsbluff at 42 and Plattsmouth at 41. The SkyHawks are bidding for their third consecutive title and 16th in the past 17 years.

They have six in the semifinals: Korbin Meink at 106, Jeff Heinz at 113, Brian Peska at 120, Bailey Vanderpool at 138, Jake Walker at 152 and Nick Hollins at 170.

“Peska (44-4) set the tone with his fall,'' Skutt coach Brad Hildebrandt said. “We had a couple tough losses, but they'll fight and get points for us tomorrow.”

David City, which hasn't won a state title in wrestling in 30 years, took a 56-44 lead in Class C on O'Neill, which never has won an NSAA title in any sport.
Amherst's record day produced 103.5 points, almost as many as for the next three teams combined in the Class D standings — Plainview has 41.5, Pender 33 and Winside 31.

* * *

Video: Sights and Sounds from Thursday at Nebraska state wrestling

Contact the writer: Stu Pospisil

stu.pospisil@owh.com    |   402-444-1041    |  

Stu Pospisil has been The World-Herald's lead writer for high school sports since 1990 and for golf since 1988. He primarily covers football in the fall, basketball and wrestling in the winter and track and field in the spring.

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