Published Friday, January 10, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 1:26 am
Rojas’ 100th career win helps Islanders get victory

LINCOLN — Andrew Rojas reached a milestone on the grandest of stages.

The Grand Island Senior High 138-pounder recorded his 100th career victory at the Bob Devaney Sports Center, the same place the Nebraska wrestling team competes at.

Rojas, ranked No. 2 in Class A in the weight class, pinned Juan Juarez in 1 minute, 53 seconds, which was part of a dominant performance for the Class A, No. 1 Islanders, who rolled past Blue Springs, Mo. 49-27 Friday in Lincoln.

"It’s pretty cool to get it in front of the Nebraska coaches here and in the same building Nebraska wrestles at," Rojas said.

Islander fans held up "100" signs after Rojas’ win.

Grand Island coach Mike Schadwinkel said he’s happy for Rojas.

"Anytime you reach that 100th career win milestone, it’s always special," Schadwinkel said. "There’s a lot of people that never make it that far so it’s a special win for him."

Overall, the Islanders used seven pins to help them easily win the dual. John Mottl got the Islanders going in pinning Alicia Reyes in 3:33 at 126.

After Dante Todd posted a 5-0 victory Joe King at 132, Rojas, Rigo Barragan (145) and Jared Fortune (152) all recorded pins as Grand Island built a 27-0 lead.

Daniel Lewis, who is nationally ranked No. 8 in at 160, pinned Brian Najera at 1:40 to put Blue Springs on the board. But Billy Thompson stuck Alex Dye in 5:15 at 170 as the Islanders increased their lead.

The Wildcats won three of the next four matches by pins to cut the deficit to 39-24. Collyn Allen pinned Tyler Shriner in 4:28 at 182, Michael Pixley, nationally ranked No. 2 at 182 but moved up to 195, stuck Manuel Peinado at 0:26 and Atlanta McMillan pinned Hector Nova at 1:26 at 285. Chase Reis was the lone Islander win in that span as he stuck Mohammad Alkhateed at 0:48.

But Grand Island locked up the dual as Miguel Hernandez pinned Jacob Staggs in 5:24 at 106 and Skyler Schmidt earned a 10-2 major decision over Gage Harmon at 113.

The Islanders dropped the final match of the dual as Jeremy King put Blake Coen on his back near the final stages of the match to get an 8-5 win.

Schadwinkel said since Blue Springs is traditionally a strong wrestling program in Missouri, it was a nice win for GISH. The Wildcats have finished in the top four in the Class 4 team standings at the Missouri State Wrestling Meet the past nine seasons. He added it was nice to see the Islanders wrestle at the Devaney Center, where the state tournament was held before moving it to the CenturyLink Center in Omaha in 2006.

"It wasn’t our most complete performance but it was a good run by our kids," Schadwinkel said. "We could have done some things better but I feel good about the way the kids wrestled. They are a traditionally nice program out of Missouri, so it’s a nice feather in our cap.

"It’s a neat atmosphere for our kids to wrestle here at the Devaney Center and cool to wrestle here. It’s kind of nostalgia for us coaches because this is where we wrestled when the state tournament was here. It brings back some memories."

Blue Springs coach Mike Hagerty said wrestling a team like Grand Island is only going to help the Wildcats down the road.

"We knew what we had coming up here," he said. "We are not a premier program right now in Missouri. We got a lot of work ahead of us. We have some kids that are young and inexperienced and they took advantage of that. But wrestling a team like Grand Island was good for us and we can get a lot of it."

Rojas said the win is a good stepping stone for the rest of the season. The Islanders head to the Tournament of Champions Jan. 17-18 in Newton, Kan. and then the Top of the Rockies Tournament Jan. 24-25 in Centaurus High School in Lafayette, Colo.

"We’re concentrating on our goals for the rest of the season and this is a good start," Rojas said.

Grand Island 49, Blue Springs, Mo. 27

126 – John Mottl, GI, pinned Alicia Keyes, BS, 3:33.
132 – Dante Todd, GI, dec. Joe King, BS, 5-0.
138 – Andrew Rojas, GI, pinned Juan Juarez, BS, 1:53.
145 – Rigo Barragan, GI, pinned Codie Bell, BS, 2:44.
152 – Jared Fortune, GI, pinned Zane Heiter, BS, 3:22.
160 – Daniel Lewis, BS, pinned Brian Najera, GI, 1:40.
170 – Billy Thompson, GI, pinned Alex Dye, BS, 5:15.
182 – Collyn Allen, BS, pinned Tyler Shriner, GI, 4:28.
195 – Michael Pixley, BS, pinned Manuel Peinado, GI, 0:27.
220 – Chase Reis, GI, pinned Mohammad Alkhateed, BS, 0:49.
285 – Atlanta McMillan, BS, pinned Hector Nava, BS, 1:26.
106 – Miguel Hernandez, GI, pinned Jacob Staggs, BS, 5:24.
113 – Skyler Schmidt, GI, maj. dec. Gage Hermon, BS, 10-2.
120 – Jeremy King, BS, dec. Blake Coen, GI, 8-5.

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