Grand Island Senior High’s Juan Pedro Jr. attempts to pin Kearney’s Hunter Nagatani in round one Saturday at the State Duals Championships in Kearney. The Islanders went on to finish third as a team.

KEARNEY — After having what coach Joey Morrison called a not so great performance against Kearney Thursday, the Grand Island Senior High wrestling team responded.

The Class A, No. 7 Bearcats took it to the Islanders 45-24 Thursday. But Grand Island, avenged its loss to Kearney 41-28 in the first round of the Nebraska State Duals Tourney.

But the Islanders couldn’t keep momentum as they fell to No. 3 Lincoln East 46-30 but bouncing back to defeat No. 4 Norfolk 45-29 and finishing third Saturday at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds.

After challenging the Islanders after the dual Thursday, Morrison said he felt they responded the way they needed to.

“Kearney is tough and we didn’t perform well that night. But I felt we had a phenomenal practice yesterday and that’s coming off a very tough loss to take,” Morrison said. “Coming into today I thought we had a great performance even though I would like to have that East dual back. But the kids gave great efforts today.”

Juan Pedro Jr. (113-120), Blake Cushing (No. 2 at 126-132), Brody Arrants (138-145), Alex Rodriguez (220) and Michael Isele (285) led the Islanders by going 3-0 during the day, while Rogelio Ruiz (120-126) went 2-0.

Morrison said he feels bouncing back after the loss to Kearney Thursday and East Saturday gives the Islanders, who were wrestling without Daylon Keolavone, confidence going into the Class A, District 2 meet, which Grand Island is hosting Saturday.

“It’s a good thing moving forward,” Morrison said. “It makes us feel good about where we are at but I like where we are at even though there are still some things we need to fix. We’re hoping to get Daylon back next week but I still like where we’re at health wise and the mindset where our team is.”

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