Published Saturday, February 22, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 12:51 am
Islanders finish third in Class A: GISH’s Rojas, Reis both fall in Class A finals

OMAHA – All good things must come to an end.

Unfortunately, the Grand Island Senior High’s state tournament reign on top of Class A ended Saturday at the CenturyLink Center Omaha.

The Islanders’ bid for a sixth consecutive state championship came up short as they finished third with 127 points. Omaha North won the Class A state championship in nipping Millard South 156-155.5 in the team standings.

To make matters worse, Grand Island left Omaha without a state champion as Chase Reis and Andrew Rojas both suffered their first losses of the season in their championship matches. It was the first time since 2007 that the Islanders didn’t have a state champion.

GISH coach Mike Schadwinkel was almost at a loss for words as to what happened this weekend.

"I don’t have the answers," Schadwinkel said. "I don’t know why bad things happen to good kids who their tails off. But sometimes it works out that way."

In the 220-pound final, Reis’ bid to become a two-time state champion fell short as he was pinned by Millard South’s Marc Tompsett in 57 seconds. Tompsett scored a reversal and put Reis on his back to get the pin.

Rojas suffered a 7-4 decision to Millard South’s Isaac DeLoa in the 138-pound final. DeLoa scored four points in the third period to get the win over Rojas.

"I feel bad for those kids because they give everything they had for us," Schadwinkel said. "It’s unfortunate that we weren’t able to win a finals match."

The Islanders did leave Omaha with five other medalists. Skylar Schmidt (fifth, 113), Dante Todd (fifth, 132) and Rigo Barragan (sixth, 145) all battled through the consolation rounds to place, while Billy Thompson (170) and Javier Silva (195) both bounced back from Friday night losses in the semifinals to take third in their weight classes.

Schadwinkel said he was happy to see Thompson and Silva bounce back after some tough losses during the tournament, as well as the other three wrestlers coming through the consolation rounds Friday to get medals.

"I’m proud of Billy’s and Javier’s resiliency to bounce back and get third after what happened to them Friday night," Schadwinkel said. "They really showed some guts to come back when they really didn’t want to. Both Skylar and Dante really came back strong and for them to finish fifth and the state tournament with a win was great to see. And Rigo missed state last year with an ACL injury and missed most of this year because of his knee. To see him get a state medal his senior year was great to see."

Grand Island lost Blake Coen (120), Jared Fortune (152), Tim Reis (160) and Tyler Shriner (182) during the consolation rounds Friday.

Schadwinkel said even though the Islanders fell short of accomplishing the goal of winning their sixth consecutive title, he thought they competed hard, even though there were some bad breaks that went their way during the state tournament.

"Any other year, third place feels pretty dang good but this year it doesn’t. I just want our kids the chance to compete hard. I felt like we did this weekend and we couldn’t get the breaks to go our way," Schadwinkel said. "Sometimes in life, you get a bad hand and deal with it and hope there is some lesson to be learned from it. I trust in the Lord that there will be something good to be learned from this."

Also, Grand Island Central Catholic’s Kaleb Puncochar also earned a medal from the city. The Crusader senior took fifth in the Class C, 132-pound weight class. That left the Crusaders finishing tied for 35th with 13 points. Both Nathan Maginnis (113) and Josh Puncochar (160) both lost in the consolation rounds Friday.

Northwest didn’t bring home a medalist during the Class B tournament. Devon Schmidt (120), Karson Sok (132), Austin Cooper (145), Ty Johnson (170) and Bailey Dishman (182) all lost during the consolation rounds Friday. That left the Vikings finishing tied for 30th with 11 points.

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