The Grand Island Senior High wrestling team got a big boost of confidence heading into the postseason.
The Class A No. 8 Islanders went 2-1 during the Nebraska state wrestling duals tournament this past Saturday.
Grand Island recorded wins over No. 6 Kearney and Norfolk but fell to No. 2 Lincoln East.
GISH coach Joey Morrison said he hopes that helps as the Islanders host the Class A, District 2 meet 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.”
Gretna, Lincoln North Star, Lincoln Southwest, No. 10 North Platte, No. 7 Omaha Burke, Omaha North and South Sioux City are the other schools competing in the district.
On paper, the Islanders are probably the favorite to win the district. They have two returning medalists in Juan Pedro, Jr. (No. 1 at 113) and Blake Cushing (No. 2 at 126), who both took third in their weight classes at the state tournament last year, and have a number of returning state qualifiers. Ein Obermiller (No. 3 at 106) is the other ranked wrestler for Grand Island.
But there are quality individuals in the district. Burke has five ranked wrestlers, including two-time champion Jakason Burks, No. 1 at 126, while North Platte has three ranked. That includes defending champion Darian Daiz, No. 2 at 132.
“There is good individual talent in the district,” Morrison said. “North Platte has some quality wrestlers as does Burke and there are others as well. We’ll have to be ready to compete.
“Teamwise Burke probably has the most firepower. It depends on how you perform. I believe in our team. If we go out there and take care of our business, I think we’ll be in the hunt for the district title.”
Morrison said he’s excited that Grand Island is hosting the district for the first time since 2016.
“We’re thankful for our administration for allowing us to host districts,” Morrison said. “We hosted it a few years ago and it went great. We’re excited to be hosting it again.”
Action starts at 10 a.m. Saturday with the top four medalists in each weight class qualifying for next week’s state tournament at the CHI Health Center in Omaha.
All district meets will have live results on trackwrestling.com.
St. Paul, Central Valley also hosting districts
St. Paul and Central Valley are other area schools hosting districts this weekend.
St. Paul will host the C-2 district Friday and Saturday. Battle Creek, Columbus Scotus, David City, Doniphan-Trumbull, Gibbon, Grand Island Central Catholic, Johnson County Central, Lincoln Christian, Logan View, Louisville, Lutheran High Northeast, North Bend Central, Shelby-Rising City, South Central Nebraska Unified District No. 5 and Twin River are the other schools competing in the district.
Actions starts at 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
Central Valley hosts the D-2 district Friday and Saturday. Alma, Anselmo-Merna, Cedar Bluffs, Centennial, Dorchester, East Butler, Freeman, Friend, Guardian Angels Central Catholic, Howells-Dodge, North Central, Overton, Palmer, Palmyra, Parkview Christian, Riverside, Sandhills Valley, Southwest, Stanton and Winside are the teams competing in the district.
Actions starts at 3 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
Wrestling rally on KKPR
Area wrestling fans will want to tune their radios to KKPR (98.9 FM) at 3 p.m. Sunday for “The Power 99 Wrestling Rally” with host Doug Duda. The program includes interviews with coaches and athletes, and it will have Huskermat’s Ross Halford’s take on next week’s state tournament.
Note to coaches
This will be the final week we will be running the all-area wrestling leaders for the regular season. The final one will run during the week after the state tournament.
Marc Zavala writes about wrestling for the Independent.