Columbus High wrestling went 2-4 in championship matches and settled for second place at the 51st annual Norm Mandstedt Invitational hosted at Central Community College.
Lincoln East, listed as the No. 2 tournament team by NEwrestle.com, took the team championship with nine finalists and seven champions. That gave the Spartans a 38.5 edge of the Discoverers at the top of the team standings (287.5-249).
Valentine was a distant third with 171.5 points.
Columbus finalists included Andon Stenger at 126 pounds, Tanner Kobza at 132, Rylee Iburg at 152, Blayze Standley at 170, Anthony DeAnda at 182 and Kasten Grape at 195.
Iburg and DeAnda won tournament titles.
Grape's loss was perhaps the most noteworthy result of the event. The CHS senior and reigning state champion came into his title match 35-0 before dropping a 14-5 major decision to Creighton Prep's Tony Pray.
Grape had pinned 28 opponents before Saturday. He was in a similar position a year ago, coming into what was then known as the High Plains Invitational 34-0 before a 4-3 loss to Schuyler's Chuy Maganda.
"That's probably the toughest weekend you can put together for a wrestling team. Almost everybody got beat. We don't have anybody that's undefeated on our team anymore. That's the toughness of our schedule," coach Adam Keiswetter said.
"Kind of the story of our year is, other team's have a full lineup and we have a few opens and they can score more than us. But the tougher the tournament gets, the less that will matter."
Grape went for a big move early, suffered a takedown and nearfall points and was then chasing the rest of the way. Forced into taking some risks, Pray capitalized and continued to pull away.
Pray was the wrestler Grape defeated last year in the 220-pound Class A state championship match.
"Their guy just went real conservative and capitalized on the risks (Grape) was taking. That's how the score ended up being what it was," Keiswetter said. "He just needs to have a better game plan against him. Even in the state finals last year, I think we gave up the first takedown then Kasten put him on his back."
DeAnda won a Manstedt championship after falling short last year in a pinfall and settling for second. This time the senior went 8-0 with four pins, two major decisions and two decisions.
DeAnda pinned Class C No. 8 Ethan Villwok midway through the second period after defeating David City's No. 5 Spencer Allen 3-2 in the semis and taking down Creighton Prep's Anthony Glogowki in the quarter finals by 9-7 sudden victory.
"I think I had a pretty good, solid tournament off the bat, but there were times I got put on my back," DeAnda said. "I need to fix those things. I ended up doing good, but it could have gotten scary real fast."
DeAnda gave up a takedown and three nearfall points in the first period and was trailing 5-1 in the second when he scored the takedown that led to the eventual pin.
He was also down 6-2 at one point during the first period of the quarterfinals.
Iburg, after missing about a month due to injury, finished the tournament 7-0 with four pins, a medical forfeit, 2-0 win and 3-0 win over Lincoln East's Chase Kammerer in the final. The sophomore scored a first-period takedown and a second-period escape.
Stenger made a 6-0 run to the title match before a 9-6 loss to Class C No. 1 Chris Williams of Valentine. It was a 5-4 Stenger lead through one until Williams scored a takedown in the second, a reversal in the third and a stalling point in the third. Stenger was only able to earn a stalling point over the final four minutes.
Kobza was 5-0 through two days before Lincoln East's No. 6 Nic Swift edged him 6-5 for gold. It was a 4-2 Kobza lead through two periods before Swift scored two takedowns in the third.
Standley took four pins, a major decision and a 10-6 victory into the final where Lincoln East's No. 1 Grant Lyman denied him a championship 5-3. The two were tied 2-2 at the start of the third when Lyman escaped the bottom then scored a takedown with 46 seconds remaining.
Other CHS competitors included Adrian Bice (106) in third, Blake Cerny (113) in fourth, Eric Slusarki (113) finishing 0-2, Clay Cerny (120) taking third, Alex Korte (138) going 1-2, Levi Bloomquist (145) taking fifth, Mac Shevlin (160) taking fifth and Liam Blaser (170) going 1-2.
"Overall, it was a good tournament, a tough tournament," Keiswetter said. "There were a lot of unbeaten guys who got beat and didn't even make it to the finals. Some of the undefeated guys got beat on Friday. It will do us a lot of good."
Nate Tenopir is the sports editor of The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at email@example.com.
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