KEARNEY, Neb. — Just like last week, the Grand Island and Omaha Burke wrestling teams were at a battle, this time for the state dual championship.
But unlike last week, where the Islanders came away with their fifth consecutive Class A state championship, it was Burke that turned out victorious on the dual stage.
The Bulldogs, runners-up to Grand Island last weekend, rallied to post a 30-27 victory in the Class A state dual championship Saturday at the UNK Health and Sports Center.
Burke coach Wes Boehm said the Bulldogs have been battling all year against Grand Island, which was missing Billy Thompson and Rigo Barragan because of injuries.
“They are a great team, and I can't take a thing away from them,” Boehm said. “I know they were short a few kids because of injuries, but it's just been battle, battle, battle all the way through this year. I thought if we could stay close in a few matches, I thought we would have a chance. Winning this was huge for us.”
The difference was Burke's three pins to Grand Island's two.
Grand Island coach Mike Schadwinkel said the Bulldogs did a good job of staying off their backs.
“They had revenge on their mind after last week, and you have to give credit to them, they fought and they didn't let us pin them,” Schadwinkel said. “That's the difference. If we could have gotten a few more pins in the matches that we did win, that might have made the difference.”
Patrick Kelly and Joseph Contreras got the dual started with victories at 160 and 170 pounds, respectively, to give Burke a 6-0 lead.
But Haris Talundzic put the Islanders on the board with an 8-4 victory over Bradon Collins at 182. Grand Island's Chase Reis made it 9-6 by pinning Gunnar Olafson in 1 minute, 7 seconds at 195.
Javy Silva (220) and Juan Medina (285) increased that lead to 15-6 with a pair of decisions.
But then Burke made its move. At 106, Otis Rollins scored four points in the third period to post a 5-2 victory over Blake Coen, and then Aaron Fletcher followed suit by pinning John Mottl in 3:38 at 113 to tie it at 15-all.
Dante Rodriguez gave the Islanders the lead again after sticking Connor Fox in 55 seconds at 120.
The teams traded wins after that. First, Burke's Jacob Wilcoxen earned an 8-2 win over Matt Bolan at 126. Then Grand Island's Trey Trujillo posted a 10-0 major decision over Matt Abdouch, who fought off his back numerous times at 132.
At 138, Grand Island's Andrew Rojas posted a 6-1 victory over Jared Green to make it 27-18. But Burke got back-to-back first-minute pins from Jordan Hammond and Justice Bridgeford at 145 and 152, respectively, to take the title.
“We've just been plugging away all season long,” Boehm said. “We just finally got them. I'm happy for the kids.”
Grand Island posted a 57-9 win over Lincoln Southwest to start the day, while Burke beat Omaha Creighton Prep 57-21. In the semifinals, the Islanders rallied from a 30-13 deficit to post a 34-33 win over Millard South, while Burke defeated Kearney 45-21.
Omaha Burke 30, Grand Island 27
160 pounds: Patrick Kelly, OB, dec. Brian Najera, 4-3. 170: Joseph Contrerus, OB, dec. Jose Ceballos, 8-3. 182: Haris Talundzic, GI, dec. Bradon Collins, 8-4. 195: Chase Reis, GI, pinned Gunnar Olsafson, 1:07. 220: Javy Silva, GI, dec. Mitch Huff, 7-2. 285: Juan Medina, GI, dec. Andrew Pistillo, 1-0. 106: Otis Rollins, OB, dec. Blake Coen, 5-2. 113: Aaron Fletcher, OB, pinned John Mottl, 3:38. 120: Dante Rodriguez, GI, pinned Connor Fox, :55. 126: Jacob Wilcoxen, OB, dec. Matt Bolan, 8-2. 132: Trey Trujillo, GI, maj. dec. Matthew Abdouch, 10-0. 138: Andrew Rojas, GI, dec. Jared Green, 6-1. 145: Jordan Hammond, OB, pinned Stetson Stara, :53. 152: Justice Bridgeford, OB, pinned Jared Fortune, :56. Note: Grand Island minus-1 point unsportmanlike.