Published Sunday, February 17, 2013 at 10:33 pm / Updated at 10:39 pm
WRESTLING
G.I. dynasty impressive

When Mike Schadwinkel became the Grand Island Senior High wrestling coach in 2003, he had one goal in mind.

“I set a goal to win one state title,” he said.

The Islanders did that in winning the Class A state championship in 2009. After that, he set another goal of winning another one.

He’s had to set many new goals over the past four years after Grand Island kept winning state title after state title.

Because of all that, Schadwinkel and the Islanders have a dynasty going on in the state of Nebraska right now.

Thanks to three champions, along with five other medalists, the Islanders captured their fifth straight Class A state championship Saturday. Grand Island was challenged by Omaha Burke throughout the entire state tournament, eventually capturing the title with 180 points.

Dante Rodriguez (120 pounds), Trey Trujillo (132) and Chase Reis (195) all won individual titles for the Islanders, while John Mottl (fifth, 113), Matt Bolan (second, 126), Haris Talundzic (fifth, 182), Javy Silva (second, 220) and Juan Medina (fifth, 285) were the other medalists.

Grand Island became the first team in Class A to win five titles in a row since Omaha South did it from 1956-60.

“Winning five state titles is just amazing,” Schadwinkel said. “That’s a great tribute to the kids. They were just tough and resilient and kept fighting. They believed in themselves and made it happen when it counted.”

Here’s a list of a few of the Nebraska programs that Grand Island joins that have won five or more titles in a row:

- In wrestling, Omaha Skutt has won 15 of the last 16 Class B state titles, including 13 straight from 1998-2010.

- In boys track and field, Kearney captured 11 consecutive Class A titles from 1994-2005.

- In cross country, the Lincoln Southeast girls won nine straight Class A championships from 1989-97, while the Crofton girls teams have captured the last seven Class D state titles.

- In football, Howells and Falls City Sacred Heart each won six straight titles. Howells won Class D-1 from 2000-05, while Sacred Heart captured D-2 from 1989-94, Also Omaha Creighton Prep took home five straight Class A football titles from 1985-89.

- In volleyball, Bellevue West captured six straight Class A titles from 1992-97, while Columbus Scotus won five straight Class C-1 titles from 1995-99 and had won 13 of 17 titles from 1995-2011.

Schadwinkel said he’s not sure where Grand Island’s dynasty ranks as one of the state’s bests.

“I think that’s up to the historians,” he said. “We just work hard and try to do the best we can. Hopefully our performance ends up doing just like it did this time.”

Grand Island has had some success in the out-of-state tournaments as well. The Islanders have won the Top of the Rockies Tournament in Lafayette, Colo. three times in the past four years. They also captured the Newton Tournament of Champions this past season.

“Being in those tough tournaments helps,” Schadwinkel said.

Reis said Schadwinkel is the reason for Grand Island’s success and where the program is at.

“He’s a great coach and he pushes us everyday in practice,” Reis said. “He’s a step ahead of everyone else. The things he makes us do helps makes us better than anyone else.”

But Schadwinkel said there are more things involved in the success over the years. It starts with many of the wrestlers starting at a young age, working much in the offseason and sacrificing many things.

“You got to attribute some of the success to (GISH assistant coaches) Rob Riedy, Jeff Westerby and the others, along with some of the other dads that started with them, the coaches we have over the past five years, our administration, our community, as well as the kids,” Schadwinkel said. “There really isn’t one thing that made this happen. There’s been a lot of great things and great people that have been involved in this.”

Trujillo, a senior who won his second state title in three years, said it’s been fun being a part of four state championship teams.

“I wanted to help leave a legacy for me and my teammates,” Trujillo said. “This is a great run we are on right now. Hopefully the guys coming back can keep it going.”

That’s possible as most of the firepower is coming back for the Islanders in trying to win the sixth one in a row.

The Islanders only lose Bolan, Trujillo and Medina, along with qualifier Jose Ceballos. They will also return Rigo Barragan and Billy Thompson, who were state qualifiers but couldn’t compete because of injuries, as well as qualifier Blake Coen.

So you can bet Grand Island will likely be heavy favorites to win title No. 6 next year and keep the dynasty going.

But for now, Grand Island will try and add more history in being the No. 1 seed in this weekend’s first-ever state dual tourney at the Health and Sports Center at the University of Nebraska-Kearney campus.

Schadwinkel said it’s going to be a challenge getting the Islanders ready for the duals after going through the individual state tournament, where they took some hits, physically and mentally.

“We got to bounce back, as does everybody,” Schadwinkel said. “There’s going to be teams that will be beat up, tired and worn out. We’re going to have come back and get some light workouts in and recover. Then get a couple of hard ons in and get ready for the weekend.”

Changes at the state tournament

There were quite a number of changes made at the state tournament this year and I think they were great ones.

One of the changes made were how fans were able to know what the score was.

The CenturyLink Center ribbon boards were turned to scoreboards Thursday, showing the scores for each match going on.

The wrestlers’ name and score were featured in large, clear font on the boards that run around the arena between the lower and upper levels.

Changes were made for the medal ceremonies as well.

Medals were presented between championship matches instead of after 145 and 285 pounds. For example, the top six finishers in each of the four classes at 106 pounds received their medals immediately after the end of the 113-pound title matches, and so forth.

Lastly, the biggest change happened before the championship matches. Wrestlers were announced one-by-one with a spotlight shown on them as they made their way to the floor.

Schadwinkel said the changes were great for the tournament.

“I thought they were fantastic, especially for the finals,” Schadwinkel said. “The crowd got to be in it more and the music was playing in between matches for the finals. This is way better than the old way. Great job by the NSAA assistant director Ron Higdon for coming up with the new ideas. Sometimes we need to be refreshed and this was refreshing.”

Area wrestlers fare well at state tournament

The area did quite well this year at the state tournament once again.

Of the 110 state qualifiers, the area produce 42 medalists with 10 individual champions, and another team champion in Central City.

The Bison used four champions in Kolby Lenhart (126), Kyle Sutton (132), Jake Anderson (152) and Jake Brown (160) to win the Class C title, its third in five years.

Hastings’ Nolan Laux (A/106), Palmer’s Kordell Glause (D/152) and Ord’s Clayton Lange (C/285) were the other area champions.

Grand Island’s dynasty impressive

When Mike Schadwinkel became the Grand Island Senior High wrestling coach in 2003, he had one goal in mind.

“I set a goal to win one state title,” he said.

The Islanders did that in winning the Class A state championship in 2009. After that, he set another goal of winning another one.

He’s had to set many new goals over the past four years after Grand Island kept winning state title after state title.

Because of all that, Schadwinkel and the Islanders have a dynasty going on in the state of Nebraska right now.

Thanks to three champions, along with five other medalists, the Islanders captured their fifth straight Class A state championship Saturday. Grand Island was challenged by Omaha Burke throughout the entire state tournament, eventually capturing the title with 180 points.

Dante Rodriguez (120 pounds), Trey Trujillo (132) and Chase Reis (195) all won individual titles for the Islanders, while John Mottl (fifth, 113), Matt Bolan (second, 126), Haris Talundzic (fifth, 182), Javy Silva (second, 220) and Juan Medina (fifth, 285) were the other medalists.

Grand Island became the first team in Class A to win five titles in a row since Omaha South did it from 1956-60.

“Winning five state titles is just amazing,” Schadwinkel said. “That’s a great tribute to the kids. They were just tough and resilient and kept fighting. They believed in themselves and made it happen when it counted.”

Here’s a list of a few of the Nebraska programs that Grand Island joins that have won five or more titles in a row:

>> In wrestling, Omaha Skutt has won 15 of the last 16 Class B state titles, including 13 straight from 1998-2010.

>> In boys track and field, Kearney captured 11 consecutive Class A titles from 1994-2005.

>> In cross country, the Lincoln Southeast girls won nine straight Class A championships from 1989-97, while the Crofton girls teams have captured the last seven Class D state titles.

>> In football, Howells and Falls City Sacred Heart each won six straight titles. Howells won Class D-1 from 2000-05, while Sacred Heart captured D-2 from 1989-94, Also Omaha Creighton Prep took home five straight Class A football titles from 1985-89.

>> In volleyball, Bellevue West captured six straight Class A titles from 1992-97, while Columbus Scotus won five straight Class C-1 titles from 1995-99 and had won 13 of 17 titles from 1995-2011.

Schadwinkel said he’s not sure where Grand Island’s dynasty ranks as one of the state’s bests.

“I think that’s up to the historians,” he said. “We just work hard and try to do the best we can. Hopefully our performance ends up doing just like it did this time.”

Grand Island has had some success in the out-of-state tournaments as well. The Islanders have won the Top of the Rockies Tournament in Lafayette, Colo. three times in the past four years. They also captured the Newton Tournament of Champions this past season.

“Being in those tough tournaments helps,” Schadwinkel said.

Reis said Schadwinkel is the reason for Grand Island’s success and where the program is at.

“He’s a great coach and he pushes us everyday in practice,” Reis said. “He’s a step ahead of everyone else. The things he makes us do helps makes us better than anyone else.”

But Schadwinkel said there are more things involved in the success over the years. It starts with many of the wrestlers starting at a young age, working much in the offseason and sacrificing many things.

“You got to attribute some of the success to (GISH assistant coaches) Rob Riedy, Jeff Westerby and the others, along with some of the other dads that started with them, the coaches we have over the past five years, our administration, our community, as well as the kids,” Schadwinkel said. “There really isn’t one thing that made this happen. There’s been a lot of great things and great people that have been involved in this.”

Trujillo, a senior who won his second state title in three years, said it’s been fun being a part of four state championship teams.

“I wanted to help leave a legacy for me and my teammates,” Trujillo said. “This is a great run we are on right now. Hopefully the guys coming back can keep it going.”

That’s possible as most of the firepower is coming back for the Islanders in trying to win the sixth one in a row.

The Islanders only lose Bolan, Trujillo and Medina, along with qualifier Jose Ceballos. They will also return Rigo Barragan and Billy Thompson, who were state qualifiers but couldn’t compete because of injuries, as well as qualifier Blake Coen.

So you can bet Grand Island will likely be heavy favorites to win title No. 6 next year and keep the dynasty going.

But for now, Grand Island will try and add more history in being the No. 1 seed in this weekend’s first-ever state dual tourney at the Health and Sports Center at the University of Nebraska-Kearney campus.

Schadwinkel said it’s going to be a challenge getting the Islanders ready for the duals after going through the individual state tournament, where they took some hits, physically and mentally.

“We got to bounce back, as does everybody,” Schadwinkel said. “There’s going to be teams that will be beat up, tired and worn out. We’re going to have come back and get some light workouts in and recover. Then get a couple of hard ons in and get ready for the weekend.”

Changes at the state tournament

There were quite a number of changes made at the state tournament this year and I think they were great ones.

One of the changes made were how fans were able to know what the score was.

The CenturyLink Center ribbon boards were turned to scoreboards Thursday, showing the scores for each match going on.

The wrestlers’ name and score were featured in large, clear font on the boards that run around the arena between the lower and upper levels.

Changes were made for the medal ceremonies as well.

Medals were presented between championship matches instead of after 145 and 285 pounds. For example, the top six finishers in each of the four classes at 106 pounds received their medals immediately after the end of the 113-pound title matches, and so forth.

Lastly, the biggest change happened before the championship matches. Wrestlers were announced one-by-one with a spotlight shown on them as they made their way to the floor.

Schadwinkel said the changes were great for the tournament.

“I thought they were fantastic, especially for the finals,” Schadwinkel said. “The crowd got to be in it more and the music was playing in between matches for the finals. This is way better than the old way. Great job by the NSAA assistant director Ron Higdon for coming up with the new ideas. Sometimes we need to be refreshed and this was refreshing.”

Area wrestlers fare well at state tournament

The area did quite well this year at the state tournament once again.

Of the 110 state qualifiers, the area produce 42 medalists with 10 individual champions, and another team champion in Central City.

The Bison used four champions in Kolby Lenhart (126), Kyle Sutton (132), Jake Anderson (152) and Jake Brown (160) to win the Class C title, its third in five years.

Hastings’ Nolan Laux (A/106), Palmer’s Kordell Glause (D/152) and Ord’s Clayton Lange (C/285) were the other area champions.

Marc Zavala is the prep wrestling writer for The Independent.

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