NORFOLK — Columbus High gained a lot of confidence Thursday after shutting out Lincoln North Star 78-0 on senior night.
The Class A, No. 6 Discoverers rode that momentum into Saturday’s Norfolk Invite, where they finished with 247.5 points to win the event for the third straight year.
“The guys are doing great,” Columbus head coach Adam Keiswetter said.
Columbus sent 11 of its 14 wrestlers to championship matches, with five of them coming out on top. The usual suspects led the way.
“The guys who’ve been dominating all year continued to do that,” Keiswetter said.
Third-ranked Kasten Grape rolled to the 182-pound title, spending a total of 2 minutes, 44 seconds on the mat while racking up three first-period pins. The sophomore, who is 39-6 on the season, has won 25 of his last 26 matches with 24 of those victories coming by pin.
“He’s on a roll,” Keiswetter said.
Columbus finished with 19 pins, accounting for more than half its wins.
“When we’re equally matched with a team like Norfolk, that makes a difference,” Keiswetter said. “That’s what helped us pull away.”
The Panthers were the runner-up at their home invite, finishing with 214 points.
Fourth-ranked Carter Kucera picked up two quick pins for CHS to advance to the 126-pound championship match, where he had to squeak out a 5-4 victory over Millard North’s Peyton Meink. Kucera is 37-3 this season.
Carson Zwingman (37-7), ranked sixth at 170 pounds, won twice by fall before beating Omaha Burke’s Nathan Lenz 9-0 in the championship match, which Keiswetter said wasn’t as close as that score indicates.
Avery McMeekin and Tanner Kobza both won their first varsity tournaments for Columbus.
McMeekin, 32-7 at 152 pounds, opened with a quick pin before winning a pair of tight decisions. He beat Bellevue West’s Jack McDonnell 12-9 in the semifinals and Norfolk’s Brayden Splater 4-3 in the title match.
Kobza beat Millard North’s Solomon Allerheiligen 7-5 in the championship match at 113 pounds. The freshman is 31-8 this season.
“It’s cool to see those guys win,” Keiswetter said.
Six other Columbus wrestlers lost their title matches. Blayze Standley (160 pounds) and Anthony DeAnda (195) fell to a pair of top-ranked wrestlers from Omaha Burke. Standley lost to James Burks, who Keiswetter calls one of the top pound-for-pound wrestlers in the state. DeAnda, ranked No. 3, lost to Dillyn Miller.
“It’s good for those guys to see the top guys,” Keiswetter said.
The highlight of the day for DeAnda was beating sixth-ranked Dalton Freiberg of Norfolk 5-3 in the opening round. The two met twice before this season, with each winning once in overtime. This time, DeAnda was able to get the win in regulation.
Clay Cerny (106 pounds), Thad Baldwin (120), Camdyn Iwan (138) and Cade Fullner (145) also finished second for the Discoverers, who wrestle next Saturday at the Greater Nebraska Athletic Conference Tournament in Lexington.